Our thoughts generate more thoughts. Thoughts often create emotions as we respond to them. That process generates action. This action becomes our behaviour and eventually our way of life. From thoughts, emotions, actions, our life unfolds moment to moment, each one building or reacting to the other. Thoughts then, have great power and affect our wellbeing and mental health.
But where do thoughts come from? They're influenced by our culture, religion or beliefs, traditions, our families, the society and the era we live in and the stimuli around us.
Do our thoughts then, particularly in the way our culture and beliefs have an influence on them, take us toward a healthier, happier, more positive approach to life? Do our thoughts, influenced by our cultural context, help us to recover from illness or trauma? Whatever we are inclined to think naturally, does it tend to be optimistic, problem solving, looking at the opportunities in every challenge that arises or does it drag us down? What may be some thought patterns developed through growing up in our specific context that keeps us from progressing towards a healthier wellbeing? And, how can we become more aware of our thoughts and determine our relationship with them?
How do we achieve moments of rest from thought which are essential for our wellbeing? How do we withdraw from our senses to quiet the thoughts and allow the power of the mind to emerge and be felt?
For me, it is about focusing my attention on the breath and let my mind relax and open. It's something I've learnt from my childhood, as growing up in Greece we had a compulsory afternoon siesta, where everything (including school, shops etc) will stop for a couple of hours to allow everyone to take a break, to stop, rest, physically and mentally, contemplate, meditate, switch-off, before returning back to the tasks of the day.
I vividly remember those long summer afternoons, when no one would be out on the streets, and we kids were not allowed to wander around, neither chat with each other or watch tv, listen to radio etc - we had to lie down and remain still, listening to the cicadas in the background and just breathe. I now realize that these were my very first mindfulness lessons.
If our thoughts trouble us, if worry, fear, stress, anxiety or depression have taken over our lives, could it be that by altering our thoughts we may be able to influence our feelings, actions, attitudes and environment and create a healthier mental state?...