“The single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger.
One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Of all the techniques that I’ve used since 1976, the following eight techniques have been my basic mainstay for my mental health:
- Upon awakening, recite or write a gratitude list. Always begin with the gift of breath. Without breath, we’d have no life. My spirit is so rebellious at times that many days my gratitude list included only my breath. But having gratitude for even one thing was a growth from having no gratitude. Do 5 minutes of deep breathing–relish the feeling good lungs gives you.
- Living with a positive mind is a continual discipline. Remember your thoughts are your choice. You need to learn to tune in to your thoughts. If you are thinking negative, you’re feeling negative. Is anything getting better with the choice of negativity? Be careful not to condemn or judge yourself as these choices are negative also. Learn how to get a check on the committee of voices that live in your head. Become your “observer self” when you are feeling negative. Change your thoughts and you will change your feelings.
- Exercising your body daily for 20 minutes. The exercise can be divided into segments but it generally takes 20 minutes of exercise to change your level of metabolism.
- The type or kind of food you eat isn’t as important as the portion. Count the calories or guess at the total calories involved. Use a small plate at every meal as a way to keep a check on the quantity of food eaten. Remember your stomach is the size of your closed fist.
- Help others every day. When I started this practice, I made it a rule to call 3 people that I ordinarily wouldn’t call in order to monitor my motives in helping others. My condition for myself on these calls was that the help had to be only for them and couldn’t include anything I might want from them for myself.
- Spend some quality time with yourself enjoying or discovering your personality. This practice can be added to your meditation daily as you ask the God of your understanding to guide you.
- As you let go of judgment, you learn to love yourself. Anyone else that you tear down, tears you down, too. Use the mental picture of throwing mud and notice that you get dirty. As Maya Angelou reminds us, “We did the best we could, and when we knew better, we did better.”
- Begin acquiring books that are easy to pick up and review. Each day choose one section of a book to reflect on for the rest of the day. Even if you just have time to copy down a sentence, it will give you a path of self-improvement to follow.
“You are not your mind, your emotions or the circumstances of your life. You are the peaceful observer of your mind and emotions that allows life circumstances to pass through and around you for your evolution to finally come to a place of total acceptance of all that is. Only the peaceful observer remains after all else fades away. Only the peaceful observer in total acceptance of what is can take action towards effectively changing anything. You are only this peaceful observer – everything else is as fleeting as the blink of an eye, choose happiness and don’t buy into it.” Jackson Kiddard, author & polymath.