My mom gave me a book, “Who Switched Off My Brain” a few years back, when I should have started reading it. Unfortunately I didn’t. It sat on my night stand for a few months gathering dust till my mom asked for it back. “Oh yah, that book, I didn’t get a chance to read it, maybe some other time I will”. Boy do I wish I had read it then.
Fast forward a year or so, again, my mom asks me to join her for a woman’s faith and entrepreneurial conference with key note speaker Dr. Caroline Leaf., the author of the book I never read. (Side note: as hard as it has been for me to realize this, moms are right, most of the time, just listen to them and life will be easier!)
I did a little research on the speakers of this conference and found that I could not get enough of Dr. Leaf’s research. It, her research, just makes sense.
You will find that I have a deep respect and slight infatuation with Dr. Caroline Leaf (Check her website here). She is so dang smart! I just love the passion she exudes when she talks about brain function and how God perfectly structured it. I really respect her and how she has been a light for Christians in the world of science. I have learned that science is just now touching on the brink of understanding how the brain works and Dr. Leaf shows us how both science and the bible coincide to illustrate the power of thought and how it effects us every single second, its awesome.
I will talk more about brain power next time, but today I want to focus on meditation.
I find meditation can be one of most ignored disciplines in most people’s lives, including my own. It is often hard to find the time to meditate on a regular basis. But I believe we put it on the back burner because we have not been taught how important it is to pay close attention to what we think about.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
“You are what you eat”, we’ve all heard that before, but it is also true “you are (and are becoming) what you think.” Here is a challenge for you: over the next few days take inventory of your thought process and the things you take time thinking about. Are you continually putting yourself or others down? How much time do you spend worrying? Complaining? Feeling sorry for yourself? How much time do you spend thinking about what you should have done past or what will happen in the future? How much time do you spend watching tv or listening to music, tuning out your thoughts? How much time do your lust or think impure thoughts? What do you spend most of your time thinking about?
The thoughts in your mind are what make you who you are. You are what you are right now – not what you would like to be or who you want to be – the “real” you is shown by what you do and what you think about – aka, what you meditate on. What you allow yourself to dwell on and consume your thoughts is building what will be tomorrow.
Whether or not we know it, we meditate on every single day, multiple times. What we need to learn is deliberate meditation; clearing our mind of toxic and unhealthy thoughts while focusing on pure, loving thoughts.
We have the ability (see Dr. Leaf’s books for more info) to change our thoughts and thought process. Did you know that our thoughts and memories actually take up brain real-estate? It is true. Positive and negative thoughts even look different on a cellular level. Our negative thoughts are toxic to our mind and body, it has been proven that toxic thoughts release toxic chemicals in our body, resulting in sickness. This is why it is so incredible that God gave us the ablity to choose what we think about. When we clear our mind of toxic thoughts, we must start to fill it will God’s word, promises and love. Once we start to cultivate pure and loving thoughts on a regular basis, you will inevitably see positive changes in your attitude, behavior and overall health, this is when and how we can really enjoy the pleasure and love of the Lord in a more wholesome way.
Sounds great doesn’t it? The next question is how? I am not expert on this, but here is what I found works for me and others I have talked with:
First start by setting aside 5-10 minutes a day. Sit in a quite, comfortable place and just be still. Allow yourself to hear the noises around you, perhaps the washing machine, the cars outside, people talking in the other room, take time to listen to the noise. Then, take notice of your thoughts, how are you reacting to the noise around you? Is it negative or positive, do you feel happy? sad? or angry? Take inventory of how your thoughts are effecting you physically. Do you feel tightness in your shoulders? Neck? Throat? Stomach?
Now, allow yourself to breath, long, deep breaths, fill your lungs and heart with warm, comforting breath. Take a deep inhale and hold for a few seconds, then slowly release your breath. Repeat a few times. Take each thought you have one at a time. If you start thinking about what to make for dinner, realize that is what you are thinking about, on your exhale, release that thought and move on to the next. As you do this a few times you will start to find it is easier to control the thoughts that come into your mind. When you are ready, start focusing on God, on his love and the love He has for you. Allow his presence and peace to flow over you. Let Him take away your worries and stress and just bask in His unconditional Love. I can assure you you will feel restored and relaxed now.
As you become more aware of your thoughts throughout the day, focusing on good and pure things will become easier. A positive thought life will ultimately flow over into the rest of your life, allowing you become a more peaceful and loving human being.
Try this out and let me know it goes, please comment in the box below, I would love to hear how you mediate and how you have found the best way to focus your thoughts.