Stepping Into The New Year

zenstonesIt’s a new year and for some it has helped to create a change. One of my clients cut her hair short in order to symbolize her effort to step out of the old. She is taking some leaps that she feared in the past in terms of her job and marriage.

A mantra is a phrase that is repeated and can bring you down. For example, saying, “I’m a loser and will never succeed” is a line that may be your own personal choir. Try to see what you say to yourself daily. What are you reinforcing each day?

Yogi Bhajan said, “First we create habits, then habits create us.” Watch your mind over a few days to see what you tell yourself. Repetition can be very powerful in either a positive or negative way.

Samuel Johnson said, “The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. ” There is a subtleness and it is true both of the power of negative thought patterns, but also applies to adding in breathing, meditation and stretching to each day in order to change one’s direction.

See what messages you give yourself daily. Are these pulling you down or are they elevating you? When we think of habits often we associate it with addictive behavior connected to drugs or drinking.

But, a habit can be a certain way you slump when your mom calls or a way you tighten your body when starting a homework assignment. Just watching and being aware of yourself during the day is a very useful way to detect these.

Try to watch your mind for a few hours and see the various thoughts that arise. This isn’t easy because when one “grips” you, you are no longer watching it. One of my clients was telling me that someone was supposed to call her back about her car repair.

No one called she had already been very involved in thoughts about whether the repair could be several hundred dollars or worse. She had been absorbed in various associations around this including whether she’d need to work weekends at work and if she might be taken advantage of by being a woman etc. It was new to her to catch the sequence of thoughts.

Later she noticed a similar sequence that cascaded when she was thinking about whether she was catching a cold. Her mind jumped from blaming who she thought passed the germs on to her to whether there would be resentment if she called in sick.

Then it circled into sadness that there was no one she could ask to pick up groceries for her and fears of being too isolated. About ten minutes later, she surfaced out of this sequence and saw the way her mind would fall deeply into both emotional and thought patterns where she felt out of control.

Meditation is not just sitting on the cushion, but being conscious during the day and catching the places where your mind goes. Sitting quietly can help tune you in to the daily streams of consciousness more quickly. Here’s a meditation to practice that will make you more sensitive to these trains of thoughts:

Sit in a comfortable posture with the left hand facing up in your lap and the right hand also facing up on top of it . Have your thumbs touch. Silently think the mantra Wahe Guru.

Guru means the movement from darkness to light and it is showing gratitude for those moments we’ve had when this has happened. It is also a way to turn ourselves towards this direction more. Focus on the third eye point and just silently repeat it mentally for five minutes.

You can then increase it gradually to eleven minutes. Wahe is an expression of ecstasy so the two phrases together are an expression of the joy when we move from inner darkness to light.

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