Today’s blog post is my first post of 2016 and I want to tackle down the new year’s resolutions and how to change one’s life for the better. Being in February, we already now have a good idea of how well we came through with our resolutions. Did you lose weight or exercise recently? Did you constantly remain peaceful or happy? Are you saving more money? Did you help out someone in the past few days?? Is this freaking you out because this new year is flying by and you’re not sure if any of your good intentions for the new year are actually coming through? That last one was a trick question! And not to worry, today’s post will hopefully give you something to think about that can spearhead this year for you in a positive direction, and at the end, there will be some homework. So today’s post is not about losing weight, gaining money, or staying happy, nope, it’s about something much simpler than those. In today’s post I want to start the theme of ‘mindful living’, because what’s the point of celebrating a new year or making resolutions when you’re not mindful of the opportunities this year brings or the resolutions you made that were full of good intentions. This post is about how to change your world around you and your life, using one word at a time. And what better way to start the theme of ‘mindful living’ than with the topic of being mindful with your words. What we say has such a huge impact on ourselves and those around us, and by the end of this post I hope to have convinced you that it’s worthwhile to put effort in being mindful with our words and to communicate with as much wisdom and sweetness as possible.
I’ll start with the example of resolutions since they’re suppose to communicate the renewed effort for the year. According to an online survey, the most common resolution for 2016 in the USA was ‘Live Life to the Fullest’. This sounds great doesn’t it? But what does this really mean? This supposedly positive phrase implies a few things: first implication is that you weren’t living a life in the past or that you need to live life more, and second, it eludes to a ‘full’ life, whatever that is. In the context of media today, a full life is often illustrated traveling to exotic places filled with sunshine and cocktails. So not only was the phrase self deprecating but almost delusional (!!). Hopefully you can see that a simple phrase used as a resolution can have so much implications. A more accurate phrase with the same intention without the extra web of implications is, ‘Make the Most Out of Every Moment’. In this way, we can acknowledge that yes, maybe in the past we let a few moments go by and that this is certainly a point of improvement; and in the present moving forward, my efforts will be in making the most out of what each moment brings, i.e./ the drivers around me are crazy and I’m learning to be a butterfly amongst bees. This is really important, because in real life, it’s not always ‘full’ of sunshine or cocktails. This one particular example demonstrates how powerful a few words can be, and what they reveal and affect.
With that said, let’s discuss WHY it’s important to be mindful of our words and how we communicate. Words are the liaison between our thoughts and our actions or interactions with our surroundings. They are the buffer between the inner workings of what goes on in our complicated, vast and unlimited brains with the outside world. What we communicate reflects our belief systems, perceptions and values from the inside and then puts these energies and intentions out to our surroundings, which will later determine our fates and stories. Words are like a gateway to our inner selves. If you let them flow uninhibited, you also allow yourself to be swept up with the flow of your surroundings and be affected by the outside atmosphere. Since words reflect the inside which carry on to the outside, true peace and harmony only occurs when all three are lined up. So the last important point about our words is that when they are lined up with who we truly are, only then can we bring about peace.
(Inner Selves => WORDS => Outside Environment => PEACE). A good example here are the start of conflicts and wars, how many times have you seen world leaders receive the support of their country to go to war? It just takes a well delivered speech to support violence from a mass. Since peace is the laying foundation for happiness, and I think many of us can agree that we all just want to be happy, then being mindful of our words would be a good place to start.
Next, HOW to be mindful of our words? In the ideal scenario, our thoughts precede our words, which should direct the perfect, edited flow of vocabulary to articulate our amazing thoughts. Ha! Such is hardly the case. What often happens is that we speak and then we’re hardly aware of what the thoughts were behind all that just came through the gateways of our inner selves to the outside world. And then there are those who chose their words so ever carefully, spending all their effort on being the gatekeepers of their thoughts, that what they say almost didn’t matter but it was their intentions that came across even stronger, i.e./ passive aggressive comments (the receiver of such comments definitely senses the aggression). So how to bypass all this haywire and out of control circuitry from our massively complicated CPU of brains to the funnel of our words? There’s a simple trick: and that is.. to simply… be…. SILENT.
When in silence, we can reflect on all our thoughts and process what’s going on. You see, the trick to becoming mindful with our words is not to just become the gatekeepers of our inner selves, but to become masters of our thoughts. Once everything is harmonized within our inner selves, then the flow of our words will come easy. For example, someone insults you and your initial reaction is to snap back with a more hurtful response. But if you practice Silence first, you can watch your initial reaction go by which is that of someone who is experiencing hurt, probably fear or guilt too, then when those feelings of hurt no longer have that pull on you, as someone who simply just wants to be happy, you stay strong in your desire for happiness and respond with strength and compassion instead. If you went with your initial reaction and responded with more hurtful words, guess what kind of atmosphere you’re taking part in creating? At the very least, you’re taking part in creating an atmosphere that’s far from peace or happiness. Yes, this is easier said than done. And this is where your homework comes in: to simply practice Silence. Once you get the hang of practicing silence, or becoming masters of your thoughts, then, while you’re in real life situations, the circuitry of your CPU is well managed and your words easily communicate your intentional thoughts, which believe it or not, are wiser and sweeter than you realize.
With that said, the practice of Silence is actually called Meditation. But truthfully, it’s more of an active silence as you can never really shut down your thoughts. The aim is to become a master of your thoughts. So whenever you can, try to take some time to become a master your thoughts, a great step towards mindful living, and an even better step to take hold of this new year which happens to be buzzing right by.
Note: If you would like more information on meditation, I personally recommend and practice Rajyoga with the Brahma Kumaris, http://www.brahmakumaris.org. Feel free to look for a center near you and ask for more information.