MIND CONTROL -
CONTROL OF CONSCIOUSNESS
HOUSE OF WORDS
We labor without success to
manage the insane mind –
the center of all destruction
marketed as logical – rational –
ethical – normal – sound.
We spend countless hours
trying to lasso our renegade
thoughts and verbal assaults.
How is the afflicted mind
capable of managing the inflciting mind?
Possibly through slight of hand
or optical word illusion –
a house of visionary mirrors
profoundly distorting the world -
consciousness - and packaging
this mental phlegm as awakening.
Turn to the many varieties of you
and select the leader –
until you tire of the charade
and in desperation and final hope
address the true sanity of silence –
non-verbal – wordless –
Turn off the dialog of non-sense
and listen without words
to the world speak.
Let’s have a little fun, and a musical break, before we delve into the mind and the control of consciousness, the theme of the message to be outlined in Part Three, including this chapter and Chapters Ten and Eleven to follow. As you probably have noticed, I like to start each chapter with a song that I feel exemplifies the message I have received from God during my commutes to Washington, D.C. on the train, and that in some way provides us some general direction, the more upbeat the better in my opinion. I can envision a train car of morning commuters all up and dancing to Macy Gray’s - Beauty In The World - all shaking their booties as they chant - “there is beauty in the world, pick your diamond pick your pearl, there is beauty in the world, all together now.” And yes, Macy is right on target when she sings:
Listen to Download Above of Beauty In The World Or Download From iTunes
I know you're fed up
Life don’t let up for us
All they talk about is
What is going down?
What’s been messed up for us?
When I look around I see blue skies
I see butterflies for us
The “they” in the song, to me, signifies our own thoughts, our minds, our egos lost in the negative until we call upon our divine selves, our own souls, and let ourselves become lost in the sound and the beauty of life, focusing on our own mental pearls or diamonds - remembering God is giving us “beauty in the world,” so let’s sing - all together now:
Listen to the sound and lose it
In sweet music and dance with me
'Cause there is beauty in the world
So much beauty in the world
Always beauty in the world
So much beauty in the world
Shake your booty, boys and girls
For the beauty in the world
Pick your diamond, pick your pearl
There is beauty in the world
All together now.
MACY GRAY – EXCERPT OF BEAUTY IN THE WORLD LYRIC
33 As an archer aims an arrow, the wise aim their
restless thoughts, hard to aim, hard to restrain.
The Dhammapada Sayings Of The Buddha
Translated By Eknath Easwaran
Our ability to obtain Enlightenment – Heaven On Earth – living fully and authentically with joy, peace, love, and happiness, as outlined in Chapters Seven and Eight, hinges on the control of our own personal consciousness. This is accomplished, as the guidance instructs, by marshaling our thinking – reframing and replacing our often negatively focused thoughts with more affirmative and positive perspectives. The Crystal Path, which was fully defined in both Chapters Five and Six, features the Seven Facets Of Consciousness – with the progression through each facet, or level of consciousness, coalescing to bring us closer to our own heaven on earth. Let’s briefly review the seven facets list, as it is outlined below, so we do not lose sight of what we are trying to accomplish.
F1: Master Mind Control – Control Of Consciousness.
F2: Live Mindfully – centered in the “now” – the present.
F3: Attain God Consciousness through direct connection
F4: Adopt the God qualities of loving kindness, compassion,
F5: Clarify personal spiritual and physical life intentions.
F6: Marshal the mind, soul, and self to cocreate with God.
F7: Live an Authentic Life – a life both fully alive in God
To prepare us for mastering the first two facets on the Crystal Path – F1 and F2 listed above, I have dedicated this chapter, along with the two upcoming chapters of Part Three, expanding the discussion introduced here, with a practical focus on key mind control techniques and approaches we can readily apply and utilize to improve, not only our spiritual pursuit of happiness, but also our secular day-to-day happiness and mental health. If we did nothing else, but incorporate the control of consciousness in our lives, we would take a giant step towards our spiritual and physical well-being. The intention of each of these two opening Crystal Path facets are expanded on briefly below. If needed, take a moment, and return to Chapter Six for a fuller explanation.
FACET ONE: CONTROL OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Control of consciousness - mind control through right thinking –
reframing the ego to quiet the negativity, doubt, worry, and fear –
through belief and positive thought.
FACET TWO: MINDFULNESS
Being centered in the “now” – the present – mindful – leaving
the images and nightmares of the past behind while avoiding
the “what if” of future living. Fully alive in “nowfulness” where
As I have outlined below, the summary of each of the “Finding” sections featured in Chapter Seven and Chapter Eight; Finding Joy, Finding Peace, Finding Love, and Finding Happiness – established the significance of gaining control of our individul mind and consciousness, with the aim of fostering a complete connection with God, through our divine self. Below, I have listed the key mind control points emphasized in these summaries, to underscore the link between this work, and the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.
FINDING JOY – by mastering the control of your mind, reframing your consciousness, and especially, managing your ego.
FINDING PEACE – by gaining control of consciousness with the divine mind, the operational mind, and the ego in sync, resulting in the absence of mental conflict, enabling you to fix your sights on connecting with the divinity within.
FINDING LOVE - by working to harness your ego, overcoming your feeling of separateness – searching for similarities, commonality, and connection with the divinity within each person you meet; seeing their potential and their possibility.
FINDING HAPPINESS – by clearing the way for being spiritually connected with God and your divine self through effective mind control.
As outlined above, the key challenge to gaining control of the mind and reframing consciousness; moving towards the lasting joy, peace, love, and happiness we all deserve, requires the on-going management, and in the end, the full cooperation, of the ego. As we all know, the management of the ego, although doable with the right techniques and strategy, is not a simple task. To be successful, we will need to connect with God, or Universal Consciousness, through the divine self.
CONSCIOUSNESS – LOCAL AND UNIVERSAL
It is worth taking a few moments to clarify the word “consciousness,” which has been used in a number of contexts in the messages to be conveyed in Part Three and throughout the book. My trusty Webster’s New World College Dictionary offers an excellent definition for personal consciousness – “the totality of one’s thoughts, feelings and impressions - conscious mind." In the discussion below, you will notice that both religious and scientific writers, researchers, and theorists use the terms “consciousness” and “mind” interchangeably.
The spirituality of enlightenment, as we have discussed, is all about consciousness - with the individual consciousness or mind, connecting and interfacing with a universal consciousness or mind. The New Thought world has, over the past two hundred years, coined a variety of phrases in an attempt to label this universal consciousness; the best-known terms being Universal Mind, Divine Mind, Infinite Mind, Infinite Intelligence, Creative Mind, and God Consciousness.
First, let us turn to the writings of Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of the Religious Science movement, as well as one of the leading New Thought theorists introduced in Chapter Three – New Thought Yesterday and Today, for a metaphysical perspective of this Universal Mind or Consciousness. We will referring to what I consider the textbook of New Thought, Dr. Holmes’ - The Science Of Mind - for the quotes below.
There is a Universal Mind, Spirit, Intelligence that is the origin
of everything. It is first cause. It is God. This Universal Life and
Energy finds an outlet in and through all that is energized,
and through everything that lives… "In Him we live, and move,
and have our being.”(Acts 17:28)
Science Of Mind, Page 35.
Holmes continues on to clarify that - “the Universal Mind contains all knowledge…, the Universe is impersonal. It is no respecter of persons. It values each alike. Its nature is to impart, ours to receive."
The scientific community, urged on from the research of Quantum Physics and the realities of medical science, has begun to address the possibility of a Universal or "Nonlocal" Mind. Dr. Henry Margenau, distinguished Yale University Professor of Physics and Natural Philosophy - a molecular and nuclear physicist before his retirement when he turned his sights on natural science - uses the term Universal Mind in his scientific/spiritual work, the Miracle of Existence, written in 1984. This Universal Mind, proposes Margenau; includes, “perhaps every entity in the world." He goes onto postulate the following:
If my conclusions are correct, each individual is part of God
or part of the Universal Mind. I use this phrase “part of” with
hesitation, recalling its looseness and inapplicability even in
recent physics. Perhaps a better way to put the matter is to say
that each of us is the Universal Mind but inflicted with limitations
that obscure all but a tiny fraction of its aspects and properties.
Larry Dossey, M.D. - a fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and former Chief of Staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital - author of Recovering The Soul – A Scientific and Spiritual Search, has been a leader in the effort to investigate consciousness for the use of health and healing from a joint scientific and religious viewpoint. In his book, Recovering the Soul, Dossey outlines the extensive scientific research pointing to the existence of a “universal mind or consciousness,” which he refers to as the “Nonlocal Mind,” suggesting the following about Margenau’s use of the term Universal Mind:
Margenau uses the term “Universal Mind” which is equivalent
to our theme of the nonlocal mind. We have chosen the latter
throughout the book because it may contain a neutrality that
“Universal Mind” may lack, the latter having become freighted
with many religious connotations through the years.
I believe Dossey is reacting to the frequent use of the phrase “Universal Mind” by New Thought practitioners and pioneers, as highlighted by the Ernest Holmes’ quote above, who have used the term to explain global or God consciousness. I will, for the most part, side with Margenau and New Thought, choosing to use “Universal” when describing this global consciousness or mind, but adopting Dossey’s term for our individual or personal mind – that is, “Local Mind."
You may be thinking, this all seems to be a matter of semantics and you would be correct, but common terms, in the future, will help both the scientific and religious communities find a common ground for exploring these concepts, as they scale the same mountain from different slopes. Remember Emerson’s use of Plato’s concept of the “Over Soul,” discussed in Chapter Three – New Thought Yesterday and Today – here it is now, reappearing, actually being addressed by both the scientific and spiritual worlds. It is truly an amazing time to be living. In upcoming chapters, we will discuss the scientific and spiritual aspects of the Universal Mind or Consciousness in much more depth. But for now, let’s explore what is happening in our own minds.
THE LOCAL MIND
So within each of us is a local mind or consciousness, which is made up of our objective and subjective minds - vast and uncharted for the most part - and fully connected with the universal or nonlocal consciousness. It is during periods of prayer, meditation, and silence that we are most likely, through our local consciusness, to connect with, and tap into, the wisdom of this infinite universal consciousness. The universal and local consciousness' are always connected, constantly communicating through our thoughts, dreams, hunches, visions, and imaginings.
The Meditation Guidance below, titled Particle Of Total Consciousness, describes this phenomenon as the global connection of all “sentient life,” that is, all life able to perceive and feel things. Local consciousness, our personal mind, based on this guidance, is actually a subset or layer of universal consciousness, existing as a part of the whole. When I transcribed this guidance, on a late Monday morning commute, I remember being intrigued by the notion that even a single cell of consciousness in the universal body, reflects the total consciousness of God.
PARTICLE OF TOTAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Even a small particle of consciousness is the total consciousness
of God – the I AM. You are this essential cell of God consciousness,
forming and manifesting the world into cocreated life and creation.
A single cell of consciousness in the universal body and form
of God – moving forward with the will and destiny of a particle
energy – mobilizing and energizing in harmony with this
universal consciousness – this infinite consciousness – this
infinite awareness we often call God, Source, Spirit, or Divine
Mind. For on a universal level, all the cell particles of individual
consciousness – from what we know as sentient life -
formulate and mobilize the total consciousness – the I AM
of all consciousness.
Be aware of your essential nature – your connection and
contribution to the whole, being aware of its significance.
For a spiritually awakened you, contributes to the full awakening,
of all intention throughout the universal consciousness. If you
join with others who are still asleep, within the illusion of
separateness and disjointed life, you will slow the evolution of
enlightenment – the movement towards full awareness of God
Ensure your consciousness is awake, alive and ready to bring
forth life, power, and growth to the universe of love and God.
NOE 10.30.2009 9:45AM
This Meditation Guidance supports Henry Margenau’s quote presented earlier, proposing that “each of us is the Universal Mind,” and obviously frames the connection of our local mind with the universal or nonlocal mind. As I mentioned, it also describes each of us as a “cell of consciousness in the universal consciousness and form of God." I interpret this to mean, all of the universal mind, God itself, exists within each cell of us and in all life. Instead of God existing in some Heaven in the sky, this guidance suggests God is embedded in our actual cells. The logical assumption is that we are made of God, with any particle of us being all of God.
I really did not give this much more attention until I decided, yesterday, to include this guidance as part of this chapter. As I read it over, I was captivated by the idea of oneness that has been a recurring theme of my meditations. But last night, I truly had an epiphany of sorts, reading this quote below from Dr. David Bohm, an Associate of Einstein’s, and one of the preeminent theoretical physicists of all time, former Professor of Theoretical Physics of The University of London. I quote from his book Wholeness And The Implicate Order.
Ultimately, the entire universe (with all its “particles,”
including those constituting human beings, their laboratories,
observing equipment, etc.) has to be understood as a single
individual whole, in which analysis and separately and
independently existent parts have no fundamental status.
Dr. Bohm goes on to theorize that each part of the universe contains all the information present in the entire universe itself. He proposes, the universe is constructed the same way as the photographic hologram, enabling light reflected through any part of the hologram, down to the smallest element, to reveal the whole picture. In fact, the term hologram means – “the whole message.” Bohm declares:
Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one.
This is a virtual certainty because even in a vacuum
matter is one; and if we don’t see this it’s because we
are blinding ourselves to it.
Reading Bohm’s words last night gave me goosebumps, as I realized that my guidance was leading me in the same direction as modern science, to the ultimate oneness of all life within God.
Over four years after receiving the Particle of Total Consciousness guidance shared above, the message still conveys this aspect of personal consciousness as a subset of God consciousness. In a later chapter, we will expand on the significance of the communal or collective consciousness referred to below.
CONCENTRIC CIRCLES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Concentric circles of consciousness forming, being, or existing,
layer upon layer, together but distinct, based in infinite or God or
cosmic consciousness – containing all existence in one potent
and all inclusive awareness – the total awareness, the adhesive
thought of all existence – the thought of an active God/Spirit/
Being/Oneness – a conscious presence, the fertile soil of all
Part and parcel of this founding layer exists the collective
consciousness of all previous or waiting existence – providing
the wisdom of the multitude of existence. Within these concentric
circles lies the communal or collective consciousness of existing
sentient life, formed one circle at a time by each individual
consciousness, each personal (or sentient) being shared but
personalized – made distinct by borders – by thought restricted
boundaries – yet one by the original foundation of each.
To connect with the cosmic or God consciousness is to break
through the conceptual separation and connect with what is
already existing a the very heart or center of your consciousness –
waking to your own divine core.
Work to expand your consciousness, understanding the signifi-
cance of each layer in your life. Submerge, extend, and transcend
individual consciousness – live within.
NOE 5.28.2013 9:30AM
Understanding and enhancing this connection of local and nonlocal consciousness, underscores the importance of building a pathway to God/Universal Mind, thus expanding our capacity to fully cocreate our lives with God, actually manifesting our heaven on earth. Framing this local mind in a positive manner – controlling our local consciousness, allows us to grow and evolve in a creative mode rather than a destructive mode.
New Thought addresses the need for us to lead our minds in a positive and productive manner, through positive thought, affirmations, visioning, and constant diligence when thinking. William James described the New Thought movement of the 1800’s as the “Mind Control Movement,’’ with its focus and belief that our thinking creates our lives through the spiritual Laws of Attraction, Mind Action or Cause and Effect - marshaling and evolving the negative aspects of our consciousness, primarily the ego. This mind control concept is clearly expressed in the following Meditation Guidance.
CONTROLLING THE MIND
Enlightenment is discovered and emanates from a controlled mind –
a mind reframed, redirected, and re-indoctrinated to cease interpreting
reality as negative, problematic, and potentially dangerous. Instead –
developing a mind that moves to clarity through non-interpretation –
and acceptance – by purely allowing reality to be reflected but not
When the mind is controlled, it is filled with positivity, the potential
for good – abundance and growth. Break down the ego by breaking
down the concept of separateness – distinctiveness – and move
towards oneness. Buddha moved beyond the chatter and found
Work to fill your mind with themes of success – spiritual connectivity –
hope, love, and joy. Train your mind to only see a spiritual world
guided by your divine self – your purposeful self. Divorce yourself
from the consequences and live within the joy of doing, living life
Know and understand all enlightenment is in your head – in the
control of your mind.
NOE 12.22.2010 9:50 AM
My focus, in this chapter, will be to frame and discuss the message I have received regarding this mind control – the control of “local” consciousness. I will also focus on what I feel is the true psychology of positive consciousness - The Psychology Of Optimal Experience - often called “Flow” - introduced by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from his original work at the University of Chicago, where he was a professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychology for thirty years, and most recently at the Drucker School of Management and the Psychology Department, both at Claremont Graduate University.
Dr. Csikszentmihalyi's work has been outlined in his bestselling books: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; The Evolving Self – A Psychology for the Third Millennium; Creativity - Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention; and Good Work – When Excellence and Ethics Meet, co-authored with William Damon. In 1999, Dr. Csikszentmihalyi joined forces with Dr. Martin Seligman, who we introduced in Chapter Eight, to co-found the Positive Psychology movement, incorporating the Psychology of Optimal Experience, along with Seligman's theories of learned optimism, happiness, and well-being, to provide the early theoretical foundation for this innovative persepctive.
They are forever free who renounce all selfish desire
and break away from the ego - cage of “I", “me”, and
“mine” to be united with the Lord.
The Bhagavad Gita – Translated by Eknath Easwaran
I would like to begin this discussion by introducing the Meditation Guidance below, which explains the interaction of three key components of our local consciousness - the Operational Mind, the Spiritual Mind, and the Ego.
OPERATIONAL, SPIRITUAL, AND EGO MINDS
Often we are caught in the grips of the Operational Mind – the
mind of details, plans, programs, tasks, and responsibilities.
The Operational Mind has a manager – the Ego – that directs
and motivates with the lure of future happiness, peace,
contentment, or pride. Or, if the Ego’s work is not done, or
done as directed, the punishment of pain humiliation, shame,
guilt, self-doubt, loss, and in the end, even death.
The Ego uses a perverse form of Operant Conditioning to
reward and punish. Through the strength of fear the Ego works
us into submission. Like lab rats in the Skinner Box, we work
for pellets of food and for water. We will dance our lives away
for the rewards. Also like the lab rat, we will stop all behavior
when the electric shock is administered. The shock can come
at any time, and when it does, we remember the pain, magnify it,
and do all things possible to avoid this pain in the future.
Pleasure and pain, along with the associated fears linked to each,
are the tools of the Ego operating on the Operational Mind.
The Ego has learned and stored our schedule of positive and
negative reinforcement, using it with our Operational Mind to
keep us on the right path – the path of Ego gratification and
Who, or what is, this Ego in our heads that we allow to control the
show? Is it us – yes - but it is also our combined authority life
forms – the parents, teachers, preachers, gods, or authorities we
have experienced. It is this collective authoritative self that strives
to be us and now expects us to behave and be a certain way.
The Ego has expectations.
The Spiritual Mind is the true consciousness of the connected
Soul to Source. It is, many times, pushed to the side or neglected
by our Ego and Operational minds - pushed away by fears of the
Ego’s ability to punish. The Spiritual Mind is the “you” in a spiritual
world seeking connection and an understanding of the madness
generated by the universal Ego control.
The Spiritual Mind is the observer - the real “I in I.” For many
of us, the Spiritual Mind has lost control of the Ego and the
Operational Mind – hidden from most of us, the Spiritual Mind is
often forced to sit back and watch as our lives resemble runaway
trains, speeding through the night, or trucks with no brakes –
careening down the hill – towards an unpleasant end in self-
destruction, disease, and depression.
The Spiritual Mind, or Self, or Soul is the Authentic Self,
waiting to empower you to be the best you possible. It wants you
to evolve to an awareness of oneness, peace, and joy. It is the self
of Maslow’s Self-Actualization. The mission on this earth, is not
form, but living an authentic spiritual existence in this abundant
Set aside time for the Operational Mind, wrestle control from the
Ego and focus on the Spiritual Mind. Nullify the pain of the Ego –
accept the pleasure and the pain and the fear as illusions -
embrace them and they will not have control over you any longer.
When the reward and punishment are no longer threats, you are
free to live as you wish.
Listen to the Ego and understand what it wants – replace the
desire for the operational success with spiritual success.
Merge the Ego and the Spiritual Mind to lead a “spiritual
operational life.” Focus on the connection to the spirit, and the
reformation of the Ego, to create spiritually connected values
that are not form based.
Take a hard look at the rewards and punishments used by
the Ego and determine if they really are worthy of following or
fearing. Accept all fear, punishment, rewards, and situations
and focus on having the Spiritual Mind become the focal
point for your evaluation.
NOE 3.9.2008 7:50 AM
I recorded this meditation note above on a Sunday morning in March of 2008, and I remember how I seemed to be transcribing for a long time, wondering when it would stop. This was the 24th note I recorded, and I had still not told Ann that I was receiving and recording these communications, in fear that she would think I was mad. But here I sat with four pages, of what I considered dictation, talking about the mind and the need to control it.
I still wondered where this was coming from - and if I was self-creating - I certainly had an over-active subconscious. I was attending Unity Church In Fredericksburg at the time, coming up to speed with New Thought concepts, and had been reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, so I had some frame of reference. I would record this meditation guidance above, and frankly not refer to it again for over a year.
For our purposes of accomplishing “Local Mind Control,” before we move on, it is essential to understand this cast of “mind characters” being referenced in the note above, fully realizing the role of each in the pursuit of our spiritual enlightenment. Let’s review the cast, getting to know them fully - comprehending the potential impact on our ability to control our consciousness.
The Operational Mind – the day to day functioning mind we use to get us up in the morning, keep us moving, plan and do our work, socially interact, achieve our goals, and basically live.
The Ego – is really the taskmaster, the motivator, the critic, the enforcer, ensuring, though the conditioning of our Operational Mind, that we get what we need to succeed and survive. It is the voice in our head that is rarely pleased – prodding us on to do better, to get ahead - make our mark – get our share of limited resources. It is the collective authoritative self – which knows what must be done, and how to do it, even if it means our ultimate destruction. The ego will use pleasure, pain, or fear to accomplish its agenda for us, often taking on a life of its own, quite willing to do anything to succeed.
The Spiritual Mind - is our divine self, our soul, that is driving us to become who we were divinely meant to be, our true authentic self, fully connected with God. It has great potential - but with little muscle to get us to pay attention - it often becomes most vocal just before - or after - we drive ourselves towards destruction.
With this foundation, let us expand our perspective, exploring our local consciousness and how we might control it more effectively.
CONTROL OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Over the endless centuries of evolution, the human
nervous system has become so complex that it is now
able to affect its own states…A person can make himself
happy, or miserable, regardless of what is happening
“outside,” just by changing the contents of consciousness.
The quote listed above is from Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience, based on his extensive research with over 8,000 subjects in multiple studies regarding their happiness, success, and peak experiences. In this book, Dr. Csikzentmihalyi explains his work and offers a theory of optimal experience, based on the concept of “Flow,” which he describes as – “the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it." Dr. Csikszentmihalyi goes on to state – “people who learn to control their inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives which is as close as any of us can come to being happy… it begins with achieving control over the contents of our consciousness." At its highest levels, “Flow” is the process of achieving happiness through the control of one’s inner life.
Mind based consciousness control has been a major theme of my meditation train commute communications, working to clarify the complex process that is entailed, whereby each of us takes the information from our senses, forming a mental image based on our individual interpretations of this sensory reality. These interpretations are a result of our societal conditioning or indoctrination - including our family values, culture, opinions, and beliefs about the world. These interpretations are impacted by our perceptions, or misperceptions, of ourselves and of the world.
We see the world as we have been taught to see it. A unique way of looking at this is that we learn to “dream a societal dream,” as outlined by Don Miguel Ruiz in his classic book, The Four Agreements – A Toltec Wisdom Book, which summarizes the key teachings of the ancient Mexican shamans, known as the Toltec’s, who taught – “humans who lived before us teach us how to dream the way society dreams… we learn how to behave, what is acceptable and not acceptable…what is good and what is bad."
The power we have to interpret our consciousness, actually overriding the reality of our own senses, is enormous. At the same time, the destructive forces of our ego can turn a neutral, or even positive experience, into a nightmare. Examples of those who have grown stronger from adversity always amaze us, as well as those who go down in misery while living in paradise. The goal of my meditation guidance, and all of New Thought in my opinion, has been to teach one simple lesson - we all have the power to interpret our reality and frame our consciousness for our greater good; and the greater good of all humankind. This is clearly exhibited in the following Meditation Guidance.
AS YOU SEE IT
All of this life is as you see it, it is all subject to your interpretation.
If you see happiness, life is happy. If you see misery, life is
miserable. All subject to your interpretation and definition.
Sentient life – conscious existence - can only be lived and
experienced through the framework of your mind and perception.
Change the perception and interpretation and you impact the
thinking involved and your emotional response. The challenge
lies in the fact that the mind - with its penchant for negative
creative thought – framing the worst case scenario - is at the
center of the interpretation. This mind could, and does, interpret
a neutral reality into a potential nightmare.
The Spiritual Mind – your divine mind within you – your Soul –
is available to call you back to reason and see the completeness
and wonder in each event – good or bad. Work to see your life,
and the subsequent unfolding events, as gifts from God.
If possible, fully accept the learning experience of each event
Work on the positive interpretations of your perceived reality – for
all of life is as you see it - see joy, feel joy, and you experience
joy, or, see happiness, feel happiness, and you experience
happiness. The more your Spiritual or Divine Mind controls this
interpretation the more at peace you will be – and as a result the
more authentic, real, and purposeful your interpretation.
NOE 10.8.2009 7:25 AM
My Meditation Guidance, over the years commuting and connecting with God on the train, has stressed this theme of our lives being a direct reflection of our thinking, and of our ability to control our minds in a positive manner. As you can see from the blog post I would like to share below, I have often struggled with this message.
MERELY A REFLECTION – MEDITATION GUIDANCE
DAILY POST ON ENLIGHTENMENT
I received this Meditation Guidance during a very difficult time at work, when nothing was working out, and I could not understand why it was all happening to me. The answer I received, below, seems to underscore the role we all play in the creation of our own lives. Simply put - we are writing the script, directing, and starring in the movie we are now living. To change our lives we need to revise the script and live a better movie.
MERELY A REFLECTION
Today, now, stop and realize that your life is merely a reflection
of your own mind, created by your thoughts and emotional
energy. Your desires – through thought are manifested for
you in creative union with God.
Understand God does not override free will, and in the infinite
goodness of spirit, only wants to give you what you reflect on –
God does not judge the creative process but cooperates.
Know now, today, you are both the author and protagonist of
this drama unfolding before you. God has no vested interest
in the story other than to assist in its creation. Change the
script erupting from your thoughts – redirect the plot and
the reflection will change. You, and only, you have this power –
this central force.
You may ask, why am I suffering? I would say you are
thinking, feeling, and living suffering, and God - with the
infinite spirit of God and grace – is cocreating with you.
God has given you the Law of Mind Action – the Creative
Mind – the Law of Attraction, relinquishing editorial control/
censorship, since you have and have been based in free will.
So ask and truly believe –God is giving thought by thought –
interpretation by interpretation –unedited – uncensored.
Look at the reflection of your mind, as portrayed in your life
and ask why this story may be important to you. What does
it reflect about the vision of your life – what theme does it
suggest? For in the plot and subplots you may find the
You must work to recapture your mind, control your ego
and your fears that are preparing you for the worse, and
as a result helping to manifest it in your story. Fear – lack
of faith in positive outcomes – or belief in a negative one
must be understood and reframed.
Today, sit and think and draft the reflection you would
like to be manifesting – build the affirmations to support
this reflectionand think a new life!
NOE 1.30.2010 10:00AM
You may be wondering, if we truly have the power to override this consciousness and frame our lives, how do I start, when at times, my thinking seems to be out of control. To accomplish this we need to fully understand how to navigate our own thoughts.
NAVIGATING OUR OWN THOUGHTS
35 Hard it is to train the mind, which goes where it
likes, and does what it wants. But a trained mind
brings health and happiness. 36 The wise can direct
their thoughts, subtle and elusive, wherever they
choose: a trained mind brings health and happiness.
The Dhammapada Sayings Of The Buddha
Translated By Eknath Easwaran
As reinforced by Buddha's quote above, control of consciousness is not easily accomplished, if it were, we would have a world of peace and plenty. Instead, it takes effort to navigate through our own thoughts, filtering them and learning to listen to the constructive, rather than the destructive guidance. To fully understand the complexity of this mind control endeavor, we need to address the central underlying component of consciousness - “Psychic Entropy.”
The truth is that our thinking, our consciousness, is not ordered and logical, but when left on its own, it quickly becomes chaotic and negative. To help us understand the normal state of our minds, I will introduce the term “Entropy,” which Webster defines as “a process of degeneration marked variously by increasing degrees of uncertainty, disorder, fragmentation, and chaos.” Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book Flow, theorizes that “Entropy is the normal state of consciousness – a condition that is neither useful or enjoyable… the normal state of the mind is chaos."
For the most part, we all avoid much of this “Psychic Entropy,” or mental confusion, because of our culturally defined roles, which structure our work and home life activities and thinking - clearly defining our thoughts. So for the majority of our day we are simply, and luckily, living on automatic pilot. It is when the day is done, and we are left alone without any demands, the basic disorder of the mind reveals itself.
With nothing to do, it begins to follow random patterns,
usually stopping at something painful or disturbing.
Unless a person knows how to give order to his or her
thoughts, attention will be attracted to whatever is
problematic at the moment.
Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, goes on to suggest, that people are eager to avoid this condition, filling their heads with whatever information is readily available, for many, television is the main source of stimulation that easily structures their attention and avoids this Psychic Entropy, but adds little to their enjoyment and development. Let’s take a moment to review some related research, which expands on this perspective of Psychic Entropy provided by Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, examining its impact on our happiness and well-being. This current research defines, our tendency to entertain this mental entropy, as “mind-wandering.”
A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering
mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about
what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that
comes at an emotional cost.
The quote above is offered by two Harvard University research psychologists, Dr. Daniel T. Gilbert - Edgar Pierce Professor Of Psychology, and his doctoral student at the time, Matthew A. Killingsworth, based on their original 2010 research published in the Journal Of Science titled, A Wandering Mind Is An Unhappy Mind (Science 12, November 2010:932). Access via direct link below:
As described by Csikszentmihalyi’s Psychic Entropy concept, this research also confirms that humans, unlike other animals, spend a lot of time thinking about what isn’t going on around them: contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or may never happen at all. This mind-wandering appears to be the human brain’s default mode of operation.
The premise for this study, as this book has also contended, is that many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to “be here now.” These traditions suggest a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. This new research, the authors say, seems to suggest that these traditional approaches are right.
So to test this premise, Killingsworth developed an iPhone app, enabling the team to contact, at random intervals, 2,250 volunteers, ranging in age from 18 to 88 and representing a wide range of backgrounds, to ask how happy they were, what they were currently doing - subjects could choose from 22 general activities, such as walking, eating, shopping, and watching television - and whether they were thinking about their current activity, or about something else: then, subjects were asked to define this “something else” as pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant.
Respondents reported that their minds were wandering 46.9 percent of the time, and as a baseline, no less than 30 percent of the time, during every activity except making love. The results showed the following:
- Mind-wandering appears ubiquitous across all activities. The study shows that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the nonpresent.
- Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness. How often our minds leave the present, and where they tend to go, is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.
- Time-lag analyses conducted by the researchers, suggested that their subjects’ mind-wandering was generally the cause, not the consequence, of their unhappiness.
With this study, Gilbert and Killingsworth established that mind-wandering is actually our preferred fall back position, when we are not fully engaged by our clearly defined roles and pursuits, and, it turns out, at least 30 percent of the time, our minds are also wandering during these activities. The catch, or better said, snafu, is that waiting for us when we start mind-wandering is our own Psychic Entropy, ready to take us on the fast lane to a world of mental chaos, painful recollections, and negative thoughts. It is easy to understand why mind control is so essential, if we are to focus our minds and proceed on our spiritual path.
As with most of our evolving mental faculties, there is a positive side to our mind wandering, as Killingsworth in his TED talk, cited below, clarifies:
“As human beings, we have this unique ability
to have our minds stray. This ability to focus
our attention on something other than
the present is amazing — it allows us
to learn and plan and reason.
In fact, a new science of mind-wandering seems to be in development, revealing the plus side of our meandering minds. Although mind-wandering may diminish our level of happiness, it may be a clear demonstration of the high capacity of our working memory – providing us with the ability to think of multiple things at once, as demonstrated in the following research link: Study Role Of Mind Wandering And Working Memory.
Taking time for mind-wandering may actually give us a creative boost when returning to an issue or task later, as outlined in the following research - Creative Boost From Mind Wandering. Mind-wandering might also play a vital function in helping us form memories. Taking a break, and encouraging some mind-wandering, may actually help us retain information we have just learned, as noted in the following research paper, Impact of Rest On Learning and Memory. As with Psychic Entropy, we may not be able to eliminate our mind-wandering, but it can be controlled.
I strongly encourage, all who want to explore this study in more depth, to view Matthew Killingsworth’s, 2011 TED Talk at TEDXCambridge titled Want To Be Happier? Stay In The Moment, featured on the link that follows: Killingsworth's TED Talk - Want To Be Happier? Stay In The Moment. Like Csikszentmihalyi’s work, Killingsworth’s research is on-going and stresses the negative impact of our human brain’s default to mind-wandering/Psychic Entropy, when not fully mentally engaged. Killingsworth shares his continued research into happiness using his app, Track Your Happiness which allows participants to chart their feelings on a moment–by-moment basis. At the time of this TED Talk filming, the app had collected data from more than 15,000 people, in 80 countries, who maintained their mind-wandering at a steady 47% of the time.
When your head is filled with this endless loop of confusion, courtesy of your mind-wandering teamed with Psychic Entropy, you might ask – “how am I to know if I am listening to my ego, my divine guidance, or just obnoxious mental static: how do I navigate my own thoughts?” I would suggest that the first step is to write down what you are thinking, and by doing so, in short order you will recognize what aspect of your consciousness is communicating. Let’s discuss what you might discover by doing this exercise.
What might we expect to encounter? The endless loop of chatter that provides much of the annoying verbal soundtrack of our minds, which starts as mind-wandering, then quickly sinks into Psychic Entropy, is thought to stem from the activity of a handful of cells left over from the days when we were always at risk - so the role of these hyper vigilant cells is to point out danger on the horizon, running through a list of potential, and even fictitious, scenarios to keep us posted and alert.
The domain of the ego is to ensure we come out on top, getting our share of the perceived limited resources available. The ego is adept at using the missteps and sins of the past, and the fears and potential pitfalls of the future, or surprisingly at times, even the positive future possibilities, if only we are able to make a few minor (usually major) adjustments now. When the ego has the reins, you will become aware of a neurotic stream of consciousness working both positive and negative reinforcement to mold your behavior. Notice the ego does not function well when you start to meditate and practice mindfulness, which establishes yourself in the present. We will fully discuss how you can use these mindfulness techniques to your advantage, shortly
I find myself most vulnerable to ego control and/or Psychic Entropy when I am tired, frustrated, and/or disappointed with my life; or when my defenses are not well fortified, such as when waking up in the morning. I often wake up to a series of major issues in my life, that my ego feels I have not properly addressed or attended to, along with a list potential problems for the day - usually courtesy of the entropy. I feel in one sense, it is the entropy that highlights the problem, with the ego taking over to interrogate me regarding the resolution - letting me know the negative consequence of not resolving these issues quickly. In the past, I have gotten caught up answering the “what if questions” of my early morning interrogator, now instead, I Golden Key each issue asking for God to handle it, focus on my breathing, or center my thinking on positive aspects of my life. When I am not successful, I get up immediately and start my day.
One such morning - Tuesday February 24, 2009 - when I had obviously not been successful with managing my ego, I was offered the following Meditation Guidance during my morning commute on the train to assist me with regaining my balance.
WHERE ARE YOU?
You are fighting a war with your negative mind centered in the ego.
You are back again rethinking, judging, determining, and feeding
perceptions and the pain-body. You are in a pit and you need to
mentally climb out and find hope and enthusiasm. If you are angry –
scream. If you are sad then cry. If you are confused seek clarity.
You are no longer on the path – you are filling up with fear and
self-criticism, and you must return to love and self-acceptance.
Go inside and try to understand the emotions that are leading
you in this direction. Ask what it is that you need, what is it that
you want. Try to rest, for with rest comes strength. Be gentle
with yourself and loving.
You do not need to meet others expectations – stop trying to
please and instead seek your own pleasure – your own needs
and wants. Rest and reflect. There is no need for perfection.
Accept the flow of energy and look for enthusiasm. Move out
of depression and into the joy.
It is clear, I was not doing well on this morning commute. As you can see, this is definitely advice from my Spiritual Mind, divinely connected, not my ego. Notice the advice, and its positive and loving guidance, trying to revive me and bring me back to life.
The key question we must ask, and answer, is this: why is controlling our minds and escaping this Psychic Entropy so important? Likewise, is it even possible to break what appears to be our hardwired propensity for negative thought? The Meditation Guidance below, titled Reset Your Mind, addresses both questions, highlighting our upcoming discussions on mind control approaches and techniques.
RESET YOUR MIND
Reset your mind for success, understanding that negative – fear
ladenthoughts – through the Law of Attraction and Mind Action
will be reflected in your life. This is the process of cocreation
and manifestation. Since you are investing strong emotions in
your negative perspective, you speed the process – for what is
manifested with strong emotion, is surely received back when
represented by the Universe.
To break this cycle, you must reflect on positive, successful,
fulfilling, and meaningful outcomes, seeing these as possible
and expected. Expect good with strong emotion and you will
attract and receive this good. This takes constant vigilance in
thought, action, and reflection. Reflect on the negative past,
he foibles of another time, and the universe will bring this past
back to you.
Remember, God, through the Law, wants to manifest your strongly
held desires and does not analyze, judge, or critique. Remember
Jesus’ words – “Ask and You Shall Receive." So right now you
need to re-frame every thought into positive aspects – fully
supported by strong emotions – and you will begin to re-frame
the reflection of your mind, which is “Reality,” into a positive
force for success and abundance.
All of this is within your scope and your power as you recreate
NOE 4.9.2010 7:35 AM
Recent neuroscientifc research has shown that routine patterns of thought make incremental, but substantial changes, in the way the brain is structured and the mind functions, via what is termed - Neuroplasticity. These structural alterations make the brain more effective at doing what it is asked to do. The note above reasons that we need to manage our negative thoughts to escape the reverberation of this negativity in our lives through the Law Of Attraction or Mind Action. Yet, even if we were not convinced of the impact of these spiritual laws, we would be hard pressed to not find tenable the effects of our brains Neuroplasticity.
If the brain, as we once thought was valid, was immutable, unchangeable over time, a physiologically static organ, we might say that we are fighting a losing battle with our mind control efforts. Remarkably, just the opposite appears to be true. The current scientific research supports the validity of both synaptic plasticity and non-synaptic plasticity – that is, neural pathways and synapses can be changed due to behavior, environment, neural processes, thinking, emotions, as well as changes from bodily injury.
This concept of “Neuroplasticity,” which has replaced the formerly held immutable position, occurs on a variety of levels, ranging from cellular changes due to learning, to large-scale changes involved in cortical remapping in response to injury. So, from one perspective, the focus on negative thinking actually encourages our brains to provide more of the same through the effects of Neuroplasticity. Following this line of reasoning, our negative thought patterns are not only reinforced, through conditioning, but become hardwired. It is our job, through mind control, to ensure this Neuroplasticity works in our favor, so as the quote below reflects, our well-disciplined minds can do greater good.
42 More than those who hate you, more than
all your enemies, an undisciplined mind
does greater harm. 43 More than your mother,
more than your father, more than all your family,
a well-disciplined mind does greater good.
The Dhammapada Sayings Of The Buddha
Translated By Eknath Easwaran
MEET YOUR PAIN-BODY
You will notice a reference to my “pain-body” in the Meditation Guidance above titled Where Are You? – a term introduced by Eckhart Tolle, spiritualist and best-selling author of The Power Of Now and The New Earth, who I have referenced in Chapter Three – New Thought Yesterday and Today regarding his ground breaking internet sessions with Oprah Winfrey. The pain-body is the collective manifestation of all the pain, misery, and sorrow a person has ever gone through in their entire life. Added to this, is the inherited pain from a person’s culture and family. Using the Toltec approach, regarding the passing of the societal dream we spoke of earlier, the Toltec’s would say that we have learned to dream the dream of the collective pain of our people, culture, religion, or nation.
Eckhart Tolle, goes on to explain, that our pain-bodies exist just beneath the surface of our awareness, and when connected with, through loss of hope, depression, or an intense negative situation, they literally move in to take over our consciousness. The personality of the pain-body is all negative, misery driven, and feeds on increasing its store of pain rather than lessening it. The pain-body, when it is in control, is often like the drunk in a bar looking for a fight, who seems to enjoy having the life kicked out of him. In fact, pain-bodies are like pain vampires, who thrive on more pain, gaining energy from destruction and becoming stronger. The amount of pain you are carrying depends on the amount of pain you have been subjected to in life. Tolle cautions, that when our wonderful lover turns mean and cruel for no reason, we are meeting our lover's pain-body.
Having survived a difficult childhood, I am extra cautious when my pain-body surfaces, and have been able to push it back down with a good nights sleep. Ann says my entire facial expression changes, my brow furrows, my smile disappears as all the world becomes extremely negative and hopeless for me. Although I know when I have slipped into my pain-body, it takes focused, positive mental effort, to get out. Ann and I can recognize each other’s descent, and upon resurfacing in a pain state, we will tell the other that they have slipped into their pain-body.
I believe those who are clinically depressed, or self-destructive, have been captured by their pain-body and cannot get out until it is too late, usually when the crime or life destruction has taken place. I can only imagine the amount of crime that is the direct result of this phenomenon, resulting in a puzzled Defense Attorney making a point that the defendant was not himself or herself when committing the act. Collectively whole nations have slipped into their collective pain-body, and like Nazi Germany, have used it to create hell on earth. I implore you to get to know your pain-body, doing everything possible to keep it in check, diffusing its impact on your life.
To mange my pain-body, I use the releasing techniques featured in Sedona Method, formulated by Hale Dwoskin and fully explained in his book – The Sedona Method – Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-being - that I discussed in Chapter Four under the section Releasing Your Resistance. This is an excellent method for releasing your pain-body, or any unwanted emotion or feeling, on a daily basis, or when you realize you are being impacted. I also strongly encourage you to read Eckhart Tolle’s excellent handling of this pain-body concept in his books The Power Of Now and The New Earth. Here is my poetic interpretation of my pain-body, which I think brings home the point, and offers an approach for releasing it through love.
I struggle with the body of pain, the memories of agony,
anxiety, grief, fear and the cries of a lost child.
This pain-body is enormous - built limb by limb,
trauma by trauma, insult by insult into a sculpture
of wailing moments, experienced not forgotten –
alive and hungry for more.
I have pretended that the pain-body does not exist,
worked my consciousness around it,
carried out the tasks of life while handling it like an
overstuffed trunk. The pain-body has never gone away –
it inflicts each breath and like a parasite sucks
joy and enthusiasm from all life.
All else is crowded into the corner while the pain-body
expands – day in day out – it deflates the consciousness,
distorts, warps - each moment demanding – this tapeworm
grows and feeds on the soul.
It is time to deflate this illusion of past memories –
step behind the Wizard of Oz Pain-body and let my
consciousness take charge – comfort the lost boy –
and release this pain.
How do I proceed? Moving into the pain only feeds the beast?
I face the pain, accept it as a living entity and focus on
releasing it – piece-by-piece – chunk-by-chunk.
I will make it malleable through focusing on all things positive.
I will lead with love and kindness and release.
THE FLOW APPROACH
To overcome the mental chaos associated with Psychic Entropy, the Flow research directs us to structure the mind with higher level activities: that will occupy our time; help us grow; and allow us to get the most out of lives; such as, lifelong learning, creative arts, games, social service, languages, reading, and the art of conversation. The Flow research offers some unique and surprisingly simple, but effective, approaches to bring order to chaotic consciousness, such as “daydreaming – playing out a sequence of events as mental images." Daydreaming creates emotional order, allows us to imagine different outcomes, and work out emotional issues. As we will see, daydreaming could easily be tailored to conform to New Thought - "envisioning" - that we will discuss later in Part Three.
As useful as these techniques may be in dealing with the day-to-day avoidance of chaos and refocusing negative thoughts, Csikszentmihalyi suggests an additional major step in the control on consciousness is necessary. We need to turn our lives into a unified “Flow” experience, by living with clear objectives, clear rules of action; thus becoming involved and being proficient. To do this: Flow research indicates that we need to give our lives meaning and purpose through a life goal or mission.
This ultimate goal must be compelling enough to order a lifetime’s worth of psychic energy. This ultimate goal gives our life meaning, bringing order to the mind by integrating our actions into a perpetual Flow experience. Csikszentmihalyi goes on to say - people who find their lives meaningful have a goal that gives significance to their lives - they have achieved “purpose." As a result, when an important goal is “pursued with resolution, the result is that harmony is brought to consciousness. Purpose, resolution, and harmony unify life and give it meaning – whoever realizes this state never really lacks anything else."
The spiritual guidance I have received while commuting on the train clearly supports this notion, indicating that as we discover and live our true authentic and purposeful spiritual lives; we obtain joy, peace, love, happiness, and overall contentment – creating our own personal heaven on earth. An interesting note here is that, as Csikszentmihalyi explains, this ultimate goal or purpose was, in the past, fulfilled by a person’s faith, going on to say that today:
Many of us have to discover a goal that will give meaning
to life on our own, without the help of a traditional faith.
It is the goal and purpose of my life to reintroduce faith, through a personal connection and positive relationship with God, as a compelling and viable alternative, when selecting an ultimate goal.
MINDFULNESS – LIVING IN THE PRESENT
Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and
if we do not go back to ourselves in the present
moment, we cannot be in touch with life.
Thich Nhat Hanh
In the sixth century B.C.E., Prince Siddhartha left his protected palace life and discovered the "middle path" through human suffering: the control of the mind; discovering the true nature of the mind as a double-edged sword, capable of doing us great benefit, as well as great injury. Later as the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama developed a way to maximize the mind’s capacity for doing good and minimize its tendencies for causing suffering. Based on the mind control skills learned in sitting meditation, with its focus on the breath, as a way to recondition the mind for more productive, and less painful mindful living.
We will spend considerable time in Part Three of Finding God On The Train – The Book - focused on approaches and techniques that will assist us with escaping our own self perpetuated suffering through Mind Control – Control Of Consciousness, outlining the positive mind control effects of the interrelated practices of meditation and mindfulness, both tools the Buddha introduced to aid the world in the elimination of suffering.
Flow, for the most part, requires that we are completely present and focused on what we are striving to achieve. By doing so, we control our minds and bring order to our consciousness. Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present moment, and is at the center of Buddhist teachings, popularized most recently by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Monk and popular author of You Are Here, Peace In Every Step, Living Buddha - Living Christ, and Zen Keys, just to name a few of his books, where he translates this key Buddhist concept, which stresses the focus on the breath and fully living in the present moment to clear the mind.
Likewise, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D, author of the more secular mindfulness/meditation guides Coming To Our Senses and Wherever You Go, There You Are, has globalized and demystified the related concepts of mindfulness and meditation, bringing both to health care settings with his landmark work at the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society he founded at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Eckhart Tolle has also popularized and applied key mindfulness concepts in his groundbreaking work on living in the now.
Mindfulness, what I consider to be spiritual Flow, has been at the center of my Meditation Guidance during my years connecting with God on the train, with God repeatedly nudging, encouraging, and finally directing me to understand the importance of focusing on the present to quiet my mind and nullify the demands of my ego. I have learned there is no better technique to find peace, and mental quiet, than to focus on my breathing and intently engage in what I am doing in the present. Let us review my guidance on the use of mindfulness.
Presence of mind, body, spirit and emotion – total – complete
presence in all life – in your actions, in your thoughts, in your
spiritual growth. To be present, is to be living in the “now”
moment – here and now – focused on the life that you are
within – immersed in – living in – the moment surrounding
each breath, each heart beat in real time, now time.
Presence of mind is where you are clearly thinking thoughts
that are now centered – reflective and centered on life
unfolding in the “present” – not the past, or even the recent
past, but this moment captured in your senses now.
Presence of mind is a mind not living in the future –
the potential moment – the next moment – but centered in
the existing moment.
Presence of spirit enables you to connect with God who is only
in the present moment – fully powerful in the creative
moment – where all growth, creativity, and evolution occurs.
In this present moment – infinite mind, infinite being, infinite
guidance exists waiting to connect and assist you with obtaining
your full potential and life.
Focus on fully engaging in the present – the now – this moment –
the only moment, and find all life - all of God - all the energy of
NOE 9.29.2009 6:55 AM
The guidance instructs us to be focused in the “now;” not only does it help us manage the turmoil in our minds, but it is the clear pathway to God, who only exists in the now, the present. My daily Affirmative Thoughts published on the blog have also been focused on the essential nature of mindfulness, as shown below.
Let us focus our energies and attention on
pursuing mindfulness – the art of living
and fully enjoying the present moment –
the “now” as it unfolds throughout
the day, living within the present – alive –
engaged and attentive.
Let us keep our minds on the now –
the crest of the wave of life –
always with the unfolding – not wasting
our energy or thoughts on what
will happen next or critiquing what
Let us clear our minds of fears of the
future or the “what if ” of the past
and find abundance and fulfillment
in the joy of the present where God
is waiting for us along with all the
good of life.
Let us live within this mindfulness
as Buddha taught and end all
suffering, focusing on our breath
to bring us back when our mind
strays into the past or the future.
Let us be mindful – live this now –
and be refreshed!
Mindfulness has, of course, been a major topic of the Finding God On The Train blog, and I would like to republish two of my favorite posts regarding mindfulness.
PERFECT MOMENT NOW – MEDITATION GUIDANCE
DAILY POST ON ENLIGHTENMENT
Let us continue on with this week’s discussion of the “Now” and its central role in enlightenment. Jesus introduced the world to loving kindness and a personal connection with God, but Buddha introduced the world to mindfulness – being completely alive in the present moment. I would like to start with a Meditation Note combining all of these approaches, along with a New Thought perspective that asserts we are most likely to find God, and our authentic selves, in the Now.
PERFECT MOMENT NOW
Come to God in this moment – the perfect moment Now –
this moment coupled with each breath – clear – untarnished –
a clean seed for life to grow and develop.
Hold this in your mind - a portal – a connection to infinite
divine love – divine mind – and know this is where God is
waiting – in this perfect moment – this Now within each
beat of your heart and breath of your lungs.
Connect with this moment and savor its beauty – its texture –
its willingness to be cocreated into any joy, any emotion,
any experience you wish to create. Practice living in this
moment – mindful – and clear minded of each sense, each
breath, each emotion.
Hold this jewel – this crystal perfection in your soul and
look deeply into its reflection and you will see God – the
divinity within you – smiling and ready to move towards
your heaven on earth. See the face of God in the crystal
jewel of this clear moment and stay with it always.
The past is just a memory – disturbed – the future a
premise – equally distorted by a frightened mind – only
Now – in Now – with Now will you truly find the way and
the light and the divine. Seek not in the tombs of the past
or the dreams of the future – seek only in the perfect
moment – Now.
NOE 3.7.2010 9:50 AM
HOLLOW MIND - MEDITATION GUIDANCE –
DAILY POST ON ENLIGHTENMENT
The Hollow Mind is one of my favorite meditation notes from early in 2008, and now that I compare it to the Perfect Moment Now from yesterday’s post - the result of a recent meditation, I realize the message has remained consistent over the past two years. To be mindful and live in the “now,” we need to clear out the noise in our minds and focus on our breathing. As we all know, this is easier said then done. But whether we can accomplish this for ten minutes, or for ten hours, we take a giant step towards connecting with our spiritual selves. This week I am making a special effort to return to the Hollow Mind.
The hollow mind contains the spiritual universe. Clear out the
thought – the mantra of a disturbed reality – clear out the fear
of a morbid past or a perceived consequence of the future.
Clear the mind and you clear the soul. Attain the hollow mind –
open – expansive – a blank slate of humanity – for here is the
gateway to infinity – all-knowing – the divine nature within.
Clear out the noise, the chirp of the forgotten child, the fear
of past cruel masters – clear out the debris of physical want
and make your mind hollow. Focus on your breath to turn
off the constant verbal barrage of the ego and the world
Clear out the noise –make the mind hollow. And in the
hollow mind meet the universe of all connection – the
portal to all enlightenment. Connect and reach for the
vision of the Heartlight – pure – thoughtless – all knowing
connection of spiritual love and kindness.
The hollow mind does not come easy. The senses and
the insane thoughts seem to fill it up with the debris of
the past. You must work to focus your attention on the
now that requires no thoughts – no reasoning. Avoid the
false logic of the ego which lives to moveyou from the
The hollow mind is an empty vessel with infinite capacity
to experience the fullness and rich texture of life.
The hollow mind contains the infinite spiritual universe
and the connection to the divinity in you and beyond you.
The presence of Source, God, all positive creation.
NOE 2.3.2008 10:00AM
The Hollow Mind post, above, was originally published on the blog March 9, 2010. Over four years later, I received the meditation guidance outlined below, reminding me of the importance of mastering the Hollow Mind, sending me back to the original guidance, while adding some additional clarification, just in time to add it to this chapter's final rewrite.
HOLLOW MIND REVISITED
NEW THOUGHT NOTE FOR THE DAY
Last week, I was meditating, asking for guidance, and the first line of the stanza below begins to loop in my mind - “the hollow mind is the empty mind.” So I decide to interrupt my meditation, grab my journal, and prepare to write whatever follows.
The hollow mind
is the empty mind,
the empty mind
is the free mind,
the free mind
is the awakened mind.
It is as simple as this.
So I return to my meditation, now fixated on this guidance that uses the phrase “hollow mind,” the title of one of my earliest and most impactful meditation notes, which was published both as a blog post, as well as being included in Chapter Nine, Mind Control – Control Of Consciousness. I offer the original note so we can see what is actually involved with attaining a hollow mind. (Please refer to the Hollow Mind guidance, above, already offered in the original post.)
As I ruminated on the stanza, my mind starts to debate the final line – “It is as simple as this?’ I guess my confusion showed, so I received another stanza of explanation.
Let the mind have
but not its discourse,
with words come suffering,
with thoughts come
with imaginings come
with dreams come
We seem to be instructed in this stanza above, to let the mind do what it does best, provide a sensory impression, via our senses, of the world we encounter; thus being mindful, as we avoid being thoughtful, realizing it is the mental discourse that is the royal road to suffering, thus creating our own nightmares.
Mindfulness is not simply a tool for the control of consciousness, but as the Meditation Guidance above suggests, it is our connection point with the divine, and our portal to the universal mind or nonlocal consciousness. As we have discussed, this is based on the following premise; when we enter a mindful state - through focusing our attention on the present, the ego is temporarily nullified and cleared away. This state is what I call - Spiritual Flow – and is a major element of enlightenment, as Buddha discovered 2600 years ago. Buddha, through years of practicing meditation, accomplished a permanent state of mindfulness, obtaining complete mind control; no past, no future, no ego - just the infinite now; conquering the mind and residing in a permanent state of Flow.
I would like to wrap-up this discussion on the topic of mindfulness with the Meditation Guidance offered below, titled Grace Within The Now. This guidance traverses some of the ground we have already discussed, yet also highlights the importance of living in the now for actual cocreation with God; that is, being aligned with spirit and open to receive through the Law of Mind Action or Attraction - a topic we will cover in more depth in an upcoming chapter.
GRACE WITHIN THE NOW
The grace of God is in this moment now – in this sliver of present
where each breath is newly formed and delivered into the world.
In this moment where the thought of movement becomes
In the space of a clear mind, alive in the present now, God waits,
knowing we must work to shake off the exploits of the ego – that
focuses our attention on the what ifs and the projections of a
crisis ahead. So clear the ego – clear the mind and focus on meeting
God in this space of now – the material of the universe – alive
and energized in the moment.
The grace of God – the abundance of God – the cocreation of God
happens in this place of centered nowness – all you have asked
waits for you to align to this place in spirit – and there, all you have
asked for, waits.
This is the place where the ego is made silent by the sound of the
breath in celebration – it cannot exist in the clarity of this now –
for real truth is alive here with the grace of God – the God within
waits for you to find the channel – to find the connection
unhindered by the static of the ego.
Be and live fresh in the now through mindfulness and focus on the
breath. Practice, practice with each moment of life until you exist
unhindered – in this moment. Then the grace of God will meet you
in this moment with all you have co-created – with your manifested
NOE 7.24.2010 7:24AM
The eastern religions, especially Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, have added other components to mindfulness to enhance our ability to wrench control from our egos and reduce the turmoil in our minds - thus controlling our local consciousness to obtain Flow and a lasting connection with God. These include meditation, radical acceptance, and non-resistance - all of which we will cover in-depth as we continue our discussion of mind control approaches and techniques.
AND THOUGHT CONTROL
I would like to take a few moments to recognize the efforts of the varied Buddhist religious communites throughout the world, who by the propagation of their successful techniques and approaches for active and on-going mind control, have certainly mitigated the level of human suffering for over 2600 years. Buddha, as the quotes we have used in this chapter from the Dhammapada reveal, fully understood that our minds work in a haphazard way, bounding from thought to thought, and although these thoughts appear to come out of the blue, they are in fact conditioned from previous thought patterns.
As we have discussed, Neuroscientifc research has further clarified, the thoughts produced by our minds have been shaped by the history of our thinking, with our routine patterns of thought creating, incremental but substantial, changes in the way the brain is structured and the mind functions. Although these structural alternations occur to make the brain more effective, we must also realize that as wholesome thoughts create a propensity for more wholesome thoughts: unwholesome thoughts predispose the mind to produce more unwholesome thoughts.
Buddhist practice is structured to assist us with using this neuroscientifc principal to our advantage, with our meditation practice showing us that we can choose which thoughts to entertain and develop, and which to observe and release; thus, influencing the kind of thoughts we think about in the future. As we advance in our meditation practice, we can not only become aware of our thoughts as they arise, but also identify the kind of thoughts we are having, and once identified, we can make a conscious choice about how to handle them. Due to our conditioning, we will soon realize that a great majority of our thoughts are not conducive to our well-being. In the mindless state, our thoughts may be highly critical of others – and of ourselves.
I have read and studied numerous sources regarding mindfulness, to support my own mind control efforts, and in preparation to write this chapter, but none have been as useful, and clear, as The Great Courses lecture series titled Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction To Meditation offered by Dr. Mark W. Muesse, Director of the Asian Studies Program, and the Director of the Life: Then and Now Program, both at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Muesse has a Ph.D in the study of religion from Harvard University, with further studies at Wat Mahadhatu, Bangkok, Thailand; the Himalayan Yogic Institute, Kathmandu, Napal; and the Subodhi Institute of Integral Education, Sri Lanka.
Dr. Muesse summarizes the Buddhist mind control teachings available for taming our minds, carefully outlining the techniques the Buddhist mindfulness tradition has identified to harness harmful thoughts, while assisting us with seeing why they are so problematic.
An unwholesome thought is one that is not conducive
to freedom and happiness, but, rather promotes
suffering. Conversely, wholesome thoughts diminish
suffering and foster happiness and freedom.
Based on Buddhist teachings, unwholesome thoughts – also known as unskillful thoughts – are connected to selfish desire, hatred, or delusion.
- selfish thoughts – those predicated on our appetite for
pleasure, drawing us to an act we believe will give us
- thoughts of hatred – repel us from people or situations
we think will cause us pain or make us feel uncomfortable.
- deluded thoughts – at odds with reality and result from
our failure to see ourselves or the world as they really
are. We can generate grandiose thoughts about our
own importance or worthlessness.
It takes practice and skill to identify these unskillful thoughts. To start practicing, whenever you catch your mind-wandering, examine the character of the thought that has captured your attention. The three chapters that comprise Part Three of this book, are structured to assist motivated readers with beginning an effective program of addressing these negative thoughts. The urgency to change, of course, and frankly the danger of entertaining any thought that arises from selfish desire, hatred, and delusion, is its eventual effects on the shaping of our brains/minds.
Since Buddhist mindfulness tradition has a few centuries working at this task of relinquishing these unwholesome thoughts, let’s briefly review some practical ways to approach our errant thinking using: Replacement, Reflecting On Results, Redirecting, and Reconstructing,
- Replacement - the most effective method of disarming a harmful thought is to replace the unskillful thought with a skillful one: such as; focusing on a thought reminding us of the impermanence of the object of our desired action; rebutting a thought focused on hatred with the notion of friendliness and compassion; or countering a delusional thought with a thought based in reality.
- Reflecting On Results - contemplating the consequences of the unwholesome thoughts, such as the effects of holding these unwise notions, considering the kind of person you will become, or even the real world harm produced, if you actually implemented the thought.
- Redirecting – simply diverting attention away from the unwholesome thought to something more beneficial, or refocusing our attention to some other activity or thought process. We will discuss the technique of Golden Keying in Part Three, a technique for turning the problem over to God.
- Reconstructing – taking the thought apart to look at the antecedents, the motivations, the emotional underpinnings, the beliefs, how this thought evolved, and, if left unattended, the amount of pain it will eventually cause you and others you love.
With all of these approaches, Buddha would have us ask ourselves, is this the type of person we wish to be, that is, living focused on thoughts of selfish desire, hatred, and delusion. For now, let us venture on with these techniques that provide a well-tested framework for our mind reconditioning which, will hopefully, be augmented as we continue our discussion.
The point I want to make early on, is that mind control – control of consciousness - starts in our own minds, based in personal or local consciousness, requiring that we must first be savvy enough to realize that our minds do not necessarily empower our existence, and quite truthfully, for many, may be undermining it, drainin it, destabilizing it, or destroying it. Even if our minds are just fixating on obtrusive thoughts that will not go away, or heightened self-criticism, or feelings of anger or hatred towards a person or some group, or baseless fears – mindfulness can help us take the first steps towards reclaiming our peace of mind and sanity, our mental liberation from suffering.
MEDITATION AND PRAYER
Meditation and intensive prayer are really forms of concentrated mindfulness, which act to evolve and reframe personal consciousness, the local mind, as well as solidify a direct connection with God. They are both excellent tools for mind control and the control of consciousness, but even more importantly, as we will discuss shortly, meditation in all forms changes the actual structural physiology of the brain - hardwiring a spiritual perspective and awareness.
There is no more powerful mindfulness tool than a regular practice of meditation along with affirmative prayer, or the prayer/meditation hybrid now known as centering prayer. In Chapter Four - Connecting With God On The Train, I share in detail my personal approach, which includes both affirmative prayer and meditation. I believe meditation and prayer are essential for connecting with your own divinity; establishing cognitive control of the mind; developing awareness; and reaching enlightenment – true heaven on earth.
So, at this point we might ask, what came first - the mindfulness or the meditation? I would say, with some certainty, that the meditative practice came first; with its focus on the breath, quieting the mind, and being centered in the present moment. Then - as the ancient mystics, gurus and shamans, most notably Siddhartha Gautama, searched for heightened states of awareness, enlightenment, and a direct connection with Spirit -slowly evolved into a daily practice of mindfulness.
The spirituality of the breath has been evident since the dawn of humankind. The Sanskrit word for breath is “prana,” but prana also means “life force” or “vital energy.” Thousands of years ago the Hebrew mystics, the Kabbalists, practiced breath centered meditation, as well as prayer. Of course, most of what we have learned about meditation and mindfulness has evolved from the rich meditative traditions fostered by Hindu, Taoist, and Buddhist spiritual traditions. But many religious traditions have utilized and fostered the evolution of meditation, most noted being the great Sufi mystics.
Although the mainstream Christian sects of the Western world have focused on prayer rather than meditation, the prayer activity of some Christian mystics, which focused on using songs, chants, reading texts, as well as repeating bible verses, would certainly be considered deeply meditative. In the 1970’s, Friar Thomas Keating, a Trappist Monk, reintroduced the Christian contemplative tradition described in the fourteenth century text, The Cloud Of Unknowing. Keating called this meditation like practice - “Centering Prayer,” where a word that has a scared meaning is focused on for twenty minutes or longer, as the practitioner sits with his or her eyes closed, returning to their sacred word when thoughts intervene. Clearly, Centering Prayer is a meditative practice. This has become a popular practice in the Catholic world, and is fully detailed in Keating’s excellent book - Intimacy With God.
As we have discussed, the evolving New Thought movement of the 1800’s adopted a more universal view of religious approaches, adding meditation as a central feature of their spiritual practice, along with affirmative prayer. Yet In the Western world, meditation remained an oddity, until the late 1960’s counter culture movement reached out to explore alternative religious orientations and practices – adopting meditation, primarily in the form of “TM or Transcendental Meditation,” based on the Vedic tradition of ancient India, introduced with great success by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
By 1973, there were eleven U.S. cities with populations of over 25,000, with one percent or more of their populations practicing the mantra based TM technique. In 1974, during an interdisciplinary conference focused on the research of consciousness held in Arosa, Switzerland - attended by many leading scientists - the Maharishi suggested that if only one percent of the population began to meditate, and experience pure consciousness, the remaining 99 percent of the population would be positively affected, not by anything done by the meditators, but by their positive impact on pure consciousness.
Based on census data available from 1973, the Maharishi’s claim could be tested on the eleven cities referenced above, with the research being conducted by Garland Landrith, a sociologist who picked a control group of eleven other similar cities that did not have the one percent of TM meditators. Using the impact on the crime rate as the studied factor - the TM cities decreased their crime rate by 8.2 percent between 1972 and 1973, while the non-TM cities followed the national trend, their crime rates increasing to mirror the national average of 8.3 percent. As you might expect, there were many critics, but subsequent reviews of the data found the likelihood that the correlation of the rate of meditation and the crime rate was a coincidence, was one in five billion.
This opened the floodgates for meditation related research. Psychologist Michael Dillbeck, at the 1981 American Psychological Association Convention, reported results from 160 randomly selected U.S. cities, the pattern of association on the crime rate yielded clear results – increases in the TM percentage actually caused the crime rate decreases and were not just “correlated by them.” He later confirmed the same results in a study of eighty U.S. metropolitan areas. Since these initial studies, the effects of meditation and its impact on suicide, homicide, divorce, death, traffic fatalities, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, auto theft, unemployment, and pollution has been fully researched and scientifically documented.
This has become known as the “Maharishi Effect,” and seems to underscore the positive global impacts of meditation, as well as highlighting the connected aspect of the universal mind. For an excellent discussion of the Maharishi effect and its impact on universal or non-local consciousness, I would again suggest a thorough reading of Dr. Larry Dossey’s book Recovering The Soul. Again, for an excellent review of the plethora of mindfulness meditation practices, I would refer you to the works of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh.
The positive effects of meditation go well beyond the potential global impact of improving humankind and universal consciousness. Neuroscientists at leading universities throughout the world, using modern brain-scan technology, that now enables long time meditators, both spiritual and secular; including, Tibetan Monks, Catholic Nuns, Pentecostals, and Zen Buddhists to be scanned before, during, and after meditation, with their brain-scans compared to non-meditators. Published research has now clearly documented that meditation, and intensive prayer, have positively impacted both physiological and psychological problems; including, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, psoriasis, trauma, eating disorder, substance abuse, attention deficit disorder, liver disease, HIV, and cancer.
HOW MEDITATION AND PRAYER
CHANGES YOUR BRAIN
For an in-depth review of the impact of meditation, intensive prayer, and overall spiritual belief on the brain, I will focus on the ground breaking research originally conducted by The Center for Spirituality and the Mind, at the University of Pennsylvania. The Director of the Center, at the time, was leading neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, who held secondary appointments in the departments of psychiatry and religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Newberg, is currently the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He is also a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University, and teaches undergraduate courses at the University Of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Newberg is also considered the founder of a new interdisciplinary field called “Neurotheology.” He is co-author of the best selling books How God Changes Your Brain and Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science And The Biology Of Belief. His most recent book, Words Can Change Your Brain, was published in June 2012. In 2014, Great Courses offered an overview of this research material, taught by Dr. Newberg directly, in a course titled The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience. For those who would like a first hand overview of this research, I would highly recommend this innovative lecture based approach. Newberg has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, CNN, and ABC’s World News Tonight.
How God Changes Your Brain - Newberg’s book outlining the research of the Center – will be the focus of our discussion on the physiological impact of meditation and intensive prayer. Newberg co-authored this book with Mark Robert Waldman, practicing therapist and fellow at the Center for Spirituality, who lectures throughout the country on neuroscience, religion, and spirituality.
As you have noticed, I have am referring to both meditation and intensive prayer in this section, and strongly encourage using both to control our minds and to establish a direct connection with God. A question we need to answer is this - does this neuroscience research we are to review, apply to both meditation and intensive prayer? But first, with the help of Newberg and Waldman, we need to clarify and define what we mean by meditation. What does it entail?
Meditation … defined as a contemplative reflection or
mental exercise to bring about a heightened level of
spiritual awareness, trigger a spiritual or religious
experience, or train the mind in specific way.
Meditation, as with all mindfulness techniques, is an excellent vehicle for quieting our minds, focusing our attention away from the mind chatter, and onto the present. In fact, as we have discussed, a few minutes focused on the breath brings us back to our center and clears our minds. Establishing a practice of meditating for even twenty to thirty minutes a day is like Olympic training for the mind, turning off the chatter and the ego, entering into the silence, and listening for the “still small voice” of whispered divinity in search of spiritual awareness, awakening, and enlightenment. I believe prayer is just more specific, but works the same way, as do Newberg and Waldman as outlined in their quote below:
We consider prayer to be a specialized form of
meditation, in which the practitioner makes a
specific request to a spiritual entity or presence…,
but meditation usually refers to a longer, more
Newberg and Waldman go on to state - “neurologically, we have found that the longer one prays or meditates, the more changes occur in the brain …forty minutes of daily practice over a period of years, will bring permanent changes to the brain.” To prove the similarities between intensive prayer and meditation, in 1999 Newberg conducted a brain-scan study of Catholic Nuns who had practiced Centering Prayer for over fifteen years, comparing their brain-scans to those of Zen Buddhists who had practiced meditation a similar length of time. The neurological changes for the two groups were nearly the same, even though the two groups obviously had different spiritual beliefs, thus showing that whether one prays or mediates is not a factor, nor is your theological orientation, but instead what matters is following a prolonged consistent practice of centering on the breath, staying relaxed, and focusing on a subject of positive spiritual significance.
Let’s review some of these neurological changes resulting from meditation and prayer, determining how they might be effective in our pursuit of enlightenment – that is obtaining true joy, peace, love, and happiness – heaven on earth.
HOLD ONTO YOUR THALAMUS
Our first stop on this train ride is at the Thalamus – a pair of walnut sized organs sitting, one in each hemisphere of the brain, on top of the limbic system. These walnuts are known as the Grand Central Station of sensory processing. All thoughts, sensations, moods, pass through the Thalamus to get to other parts of the brain. But this tiny pair of walnut organs tells us what is real or unreal, and connects feelings to our thoughts. For most of the population, the activity of both sides of the Thalamus are the same.
Newberg and Waldman point to the brain-scan study research that indicates those who have meditated for over ten years have “asymmetric activity” in their thalamus, that is, one side of the thalamus is more active than the other, when the subject is engaged in any contemplative activity. So what does this mean anyway? Well, first this asymmetry is also occasionally found in epileptics and schizophrenics, but these contemplative subjects showed no symptoms. Newberg and Waldman propose that the more you meditate of a specific object – let’s say in this case God – the thalamus activates and reaches a point where it starts perceiving thoughts the same way it perceives sensations. So for example, if we were to focus on God constantly, the more God will be sensed as real by the thalamus.
But here is the twist: the impact on the thalamus will be asymmetrical - thus appearing different from normal perception, but for advanced meditators, this asymmetric reality becomes their normal state of awareness. Now let’s realize this focus could be on God, but could also be on abundance, peace, happiness, joy, or love — you get my point. So following the logic, then these thoughts would take on a reality of their own. Ok, let us apply this to the frequent use of affirmations in prayer during our meditative sessions, would we not be able to use this power of the thalamus to reshape our thinking and our reality. So the thalamus, says Newberg and Waldman,
makes no distinction between inner and outer reality,
and thus any idea, if contemplated long enough, will
take on a semblance of reality. Your belief becomes
neurologically real, and your brain will respond
As you can see, pick your focus points and affirmations wisely, and through related meditation, including affirmative prayer, realize the benefits of a cooperative thalamus and its asymmetric reality. This provides validation of the New Thought view that affirmations are an effective tool to change our thinking, control our minds, altering the way we view our lives. We will cover the use of affirmations in more depth in the next chapter, but let’s review briefly the related power of affirmative prayer.
AFFIRMATIVE PRAYER CARRIES THE MESSAGE
In Chapter Four – Connecting With God On The Train - I clearly outlined my strong preference for the use of both affirmative prayer and meditation. As demonstrated from the neurological research on the thalamus, the message conveyed to the brain while in a meditative state has the most impact. Prayer, from my perspective, is our time to clarify with God what we want, need, or desire to happen in an affirmative way. In prayer we are up to communicate and lay the groundwork – set the stage – and frame the request. During meditation we give God a chance to provide us with guidance, feedback, and the assistance we need. So to effectively communicate with God, we need to both talk and listen. As I outlined in Chapter Four, this took me several months of meditating daily to discover.
Equally as important to understand, is that during affirmative prayer we also frame our expectation for your own subconscious mind, by clearly outlining our expected outcomes as if they exist in reality today. Our subconscious mind then takes the positive affirmations as fact, framing them as reality in our mind, as we now understand, with the help of the thalamus. In this type of prayer, we prepare God at the same time as we focus our own minds.
Also in Chapter Four, I introduced the work of J. Douglas Bottorff whose A Practical Gide to Meditation and Prayer, suggests we need to clearly affirm what we do want and expect from our prayer requests. To accomplish this, I adopted Bottorff’s approach and have added a brief phrase - “I affirm and establish now” to my prayer requests. With this phrase, I not only affirm that my statement is true, but by adding “establish it now,” I am affirming with God that this affirmative prayer statement is now true and active, hopefully clearing up any confusion with God, and more importantly, my subconscious mind. Rather than praying, “I wish,” or “someday I would like,” or “if possible,” or “would you please make this happen,” I believe affirmative prayer structured around declarative statements, with clear expectations, is a more effective approach. As a result, the line, “Affirm and Establish Now,” gets added to most of my affirmations and requests to God.
The affirmations you personally use should be focused on your particular needs, wants, and desires, and I will offer some suggestions and examples in the upcoming discussion on the use of affirmations. Again, for an in-depth discussion on how I use affirmative prayer, I would suggest a quick review of Chapter Four. I hope you can recognize the synergy present when using both affirmative prayer and meditation in tandem – clarifying our intentions with God and our own consciousness, while opening ourselves up for guidance and direction.
GO AHEAD – STIMULATE YOUR ANTERIOR CINGULATE
Likewise, in the book How God Changes Your Brain, we are introduced to the meditative significance of the “Anterior Cingulate,” residing between the frontal lobe and the limbic system - inhabiting both hemispheres - whose job it is to act as a mediator between our feelings and thoughts. In a mind control perspective, the anterior cingulate is involved in social awareness and intuition. It is larger in women than in men, which gives a basis for why women are considered more empathetic, and socially skilled.
Brain-scan research demonstrates that meditation and intensive prayer practices stimulate activity in the anterior cingulate, creating more empathy and becoming more sensitive to the feelings of others. It should then not surprise us that the two spiritual leaders who have, in my opinion, focused their message on the significance of love and kindness, that is Buddha and Jesus, one was a master at meditation and the other practiced prayer without ceasing. Newberg and Waldman go onto to say:
meditating on any form of love, including God’s love,
appears to strengthen the same neurological circuits
that allow us to feel compassion towards others.
On the other hand, religious activities focusing on fear, may actually damage the anterior cingulate, causing impacted adherents to lose interest in other people’s concerns, increasing their propensity for aggressive behavior towards targeted groups. Fear based religions, Newberg proposes, create symptoms that mirror post-traumatic stress disorder.
The lesson offered by the anterior cingulate is this; we need to meditate and pray focused only on positive concepts – Newberg and Waldman suggest love, joy, optimism, and hope. I would suggest also adding in a healthy dose of peace, happiness, contentment, and confidence. Overall, the research shows that meditation and intensive prayer are considered good for the brain, because they counteract our biological propensity to react to negative situations with animosity and fear. So let’s team up with the anterior cingulate, in our pursuit of mind control and the control of consciousness.
HOW ABOUT A NATURAL HIGH
Now let’s be honest, there are millions of people who meditate each day, or participate in related contemplative practices, such as yoga, without a religious or spiritual motive. They do it because it feels good. Newberg and Waldman site a study of individuals who practice “yoga nidra” – a form of meditation in which a person maintains conscious awareness while remaining in a state of complete relaxation. The yoga nidra test participants that were studied increased their Dopamine levels by 65% during meditation. Since Dopamine heightens sensory imagery, generates pleasurable experiences, stimulates positive thoughts, and increases our sense of well-being in the world, this study shows that meditation is also a pleasurable form of mind control.
Studies have indicated that intense meditation has also been shown to impact Serotonin levels, with some reporting an increase, others a decrease. But overall the widespread use of meditation in psychotherapy has been effective in treatment of depression. Yoga that involved breathing and stretching has been shown to increase gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain by 27 percent, which is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. Transcendental Meditation, which involves a combination of relaxation, breathing, and a repetition of a symbolic word or sound, has been shown to lower the stress molecules – “epinephrine and nonrepinephrine,” explaining why many contemplative practices leave us pleasurably relaxed.
THE LASTING BENEFITS OF SPIRITUAL MIND CONTROL
Overall, Newberg and Waldman suggest spiritual practices, such as meditation and intensive prayer, alter the neurochemistry of the brain and as a result “bestow a sense of peace, happiness, and security, while decreasing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.” Where does this leave us for mind control? Simply - we can evoke or suppress specific emotions, and focus our thoughts, in ways that biologically influence other parts of the body. We can voluntarily influence the non-conscious areas of the brain, contrary to the traditional view that this could not be done. This research outlined in How God Changes Your Brain, provides the neuroscientifc basis for the ability to achieve Flow is our lives, by demonstrating our unique human ability to think ourselves into happiness or despair, without direct influence from the outside world. Newberg and Waldman leave us with this quote:
Thus, the more we engage in spiritual practices,
the more control we gain over our body, mind
We have only touched the surface of this impactful book, so please read How God Changes Your Brain for so much more. Likewise, this very essential topic of faith and belief will be continued as we explore its effect on mind control in upcoming Chapter Ten - Controlling Fear, Worry, And Doubt. Let’s take a few moments to review what we have discussed so far.
MIND CONTROL – CONTROL OF CONSCIOUSNESS
The core purpose of this chapter has been to learn about the mind and our local or personal consciousness, so we may harness the positive power of the mind, rather than be harassed by its negative aspects. The key message from the guidance has been the need to fully understand and control the often-competing components of our individual mind or consciousness - referred to as the Operational Mind, the Ego, and the Spiritual Mind. Overall, these mind control efforts center on managing our own ego, integrating its focus to exist in sync with, as well as assist with, our operational and spiritual life efforts.
The Spiritual Mind, or Self, or Soul, represents our Authentic Self, which strives to empower each of us to be the best person possible; by fully utilizing our gifts, talents, and strengths; as well as realizing our true purpose. It wants us to evolve to an awareness of oneness, peace, and joy. It is the self of Maslow’s “Self-Actualization.” Accomplishing this, along with our obtaining Enlightenment – Heaven On Earth – living fully and authentically with joy, peace, love, and happiness, as outlined in Chapters Seven and Eight, hinges on the control of our personal consciousness by marshaling our thinking – reframing our thoughts in a positive and productive manner.
Mastering mind control, through the direct control of consciousness, requires a thorough comprehension of all the many aspects of our local or personal consciousness;
- Realizing the connection of our individual or local minds to the universal or non- local mind - being fully aware of how this expands our potential, our power, and our divinity.
- Comprehending the interaction of the components of our minds – the Operational Mind, the Ego, and the Spiritual Mind, thus ensuring cooperation.
- Harnessing the power of Flow to program our minds and our lives for Optimal Experience and happiness, rather than chaos and misery.
- Working to counteract and maneuver around Mind-Wandering, Psychic Entropy as well as the Pain-Body, to ensure we are not lost in hopelessness and suffering.
We turned to the theory of positive consciousness, conveyed in the work of Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and outlined in his book titled Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience. We learned that at its highest levels, “Flow” is the process of achieving happiness through the control of one’s inner life. It begins with achieving control over the contents of our own consciousness. “Psychic Entropy” refers to the fact that our thinking, our consciousness, is not ordered and logical, but when left on its own, quickly becomes chaotic and negative.
The Flow research focused on happiness, success, and peak experiences offers us an approach for dealing with “Psychic Entropy” or mental confusion, so we can master our consciousness, ensuring we obtain a state of Flow. To this end, an ultimate goal gives our life meaning, bringing order to the mind by integrating our actions into a perpetual Flow experience. Csikszentmihalyi goes on to say that people who find their lives meaningful have a goal that gives significance to their lives - they have achieved “purpose.” The Pain-Body was introduced and described as the collective manifestation of all the pain, misery, and sorrow a person has ever gone through in their entire life. Added to this is the inherited pain from a person’s culture and family.
Although we have made substantial progress with this theoretical understanding offered in Chapter Nine, it is only the first phase of Mind Control – we must learn to fully master and gain control of our fear, worry and doubt, addressed in Chapter Ten – then become adept at applying the current mind control approaches and techniques, both spiritual and secular, offered in Chapter Eleven, to increase our well-being, positivity, and progress towards enlightenment .
CLOSING NOTE ON ENLIGHTENMENT
The mind control of personal or local consciousness that we have discusse is essential for establishing a relationship with non-local or God consciousness. It is this connection, or conduit with divine consciousness, accessed through prayer and meditation, which enables the direct guidance at the center of our personal spiritual pursuits, to be shared. The note below titled, Conduit Of Consciousness, clearly conveys this message.
CONDUIT OF CONSCIOUSNESS
What does it mean to be a conduit of consciousness? The path
or approach to divine connection is only available within, through
personal consciousness. This connection is forged through
centering the soul, and with all other internal forces – expanding
human consciousness into the realm of divine consciousness.
It is an organized expansion accomplished through silence,
listening for the still small voice within.
The guidance you seek is always available, the answers have
been prepared for an eternity, waiting for the intended interaction.
Often your mind inhibits this connection with storms of thought,
breaking up the signal and leaving only static.
Allow the words to flow through you unaltered, taking each one
at a time, allowing it to find its cadence and the meaning it
strives to share. No need to worry about missing the message
since it always lies in wait for the proper time.
Realize that you, and you alone, are the conduit of this message –
since within God consciousness all existence, all history
happens concurrently not sequentially, with past, present, and
future distinctions unnecessary, since simultaneous existence
is conceivable and understandable. All is always present in the
perpetual now of God consciousness.
Simply, within the silence, listen for the message, it awaits
your attentive soul.
NOE 5.24.2013 11:30 AM
As we discussed, affirmations are positive statements announcing to God – universal mind – and to your own subconscious mind, how you view the world and what you expect to occur during the day, or in your life. It is a powerful way to use the Law of Mind Action or Attraction to frame your reality and set positive expectations.
As I mentioned in the previous chapter, I enjoy writing affirmations so I can tailor them to my mood and life experience at the moment.
MY MIND IS MINE
My mind is mine - always positive, supportive, encouraging
and empowering - promoting my goodwill, development,
and confidence – expressing my skills, abilities, and talents –
expanding and growing my peace, joy, love, and happiness –
centering my thoughts on all I have now or will accomplish
in the pursuit of my magnificence.
This affirmation provides us with an excellent “mantra affirmation” – MY MIND IS MINE! - we may find useful when dealing with a bout of “Psychic Entropy,” when a succinct phrase is needed, to repeat over and over, until the mental noise abates. More on the use of short, but effective, affirmations in Chapter Eleven – Mind Control Approaches and Techniques.
Let’s close our work here with an Affirmative Thought to remind us to maintain a positive presence of mind.
PRESENCE OF MIND
Let us today maintain the presence
of mind needed to stay focused on
what is positive, robust, and thriving
in our lives as we refuse to be caught
up in contemplating lack, scarcity, or
Let our presence of mind refuse to be
waylaid by pointless thoughts of
confusion, doubt, or fear focusing
instead on the wonderful life we
have created and are now living,
its vibrance, its beauty, and its
Let us bolster our positive presence
of mind today with our faith in all
that is good, appearing in our lives
when expected, knowing the grace of
God prepares the way for us to obtain
the joy, peace, love, and happiness
that is ours for the accepting –
ours forever more!