How do I prepare for the Forgiveness Course?
Before you start you have to Empty Your Mind and be ready to question the status Quo.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
Your mind is a tool that you can control – if you choose to. It can be an asset that allows you to experience wonderful things. It can also be a source of pain and misery if you let it fixate on negative thoughts such as fear and all its manifestations.
To empty your mind is to release what’s taking precious space in your mind and heart that’s not serving you.
An empty mind is:
- Aware – embracing the present moment and experience
- Peaceful – it doesn’t dwell on the same thoughts
- Intuitive – it’s receptive of input from higher sources
- Free – from judgment and worry
- Creative – allowing inspiration and new ideas to come in
- Relaxed – it releases stress and fosters well-being
- Energized – no effort is wasted on unwanted thoughts
Start with theses 10 Tai Chi Moves….
Here are some ways to empty your mind
You can take these actions any time you need to break the cycle of constant thinking and worrying.
Meditation is the best way to calm your overactive mind. It’s simple and requires only a couple of things – stillness and your willingness to do it.
How to do it – find a quiet place, at your home, office or even in the car (parked please). Set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend more than 20 minutes and if you’re a beginner start with a shorter interval.
Sit upright, on the floor or a chair, close your eyes and start focusing on your breath. Take a few breaths and follow your breath. Think of a few things that you’re thankful for and name them in your mind, then smile. As you continue to smile, follow your breath; inhale and exhale. When your time is up, stop and get on with your day.
Challenges – your mind will resist in the beginning and will get bored. It will attempt to repeat the same thoughts that feed its compulsion. Notice them as they come along and let them be. The moment you notice a thought, it will go on its merry way.
You will be tempted to keep checking the time. If you feel the urge, do it but not more than a few times. If you can, remind yourself to trust the timer.
Your mind will wander and you will lose focus on your breath. That’s normal. Awareness comes in waves. Just ride it as long as you can, then catch the next one.
If you have a hard time focusing on your breath, start counting with each breath. When you lose count start from one again. I’ve found it helps to count in your mother tongue instead of English.
Variations – you can repeat a mantra to yourself, if you prefer. Pick a mantra that resonates with you. Some examples to inspire you:
- I cherish myself, I cherish all beings (loving kindness mediation)
- I choose to trust, I let go
- I’m sorry. I love you (to self and others).
What to expect – as noted above, you will have challenges, accept them as part of the process. Smile as much as you can. By the end of your time you will feel calmer and more at peace. You can handle your day and what comes. You’re open to new thoughts and experiences.
As you get more used to meditating, you can explore all sorts of techniques and mantras. What you say is not as important as actually doing it. If you’re just beginning, keep it as simple as possible until it becomes an established routine.
Moving the body is a great way to shake up and release stuck energy. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do – as long as you do it with the intention of releasing what’s on your mind.
If you like doing cardio, walk, run, ride a bike or dance. If you prefer to do yoga or Pilates, by all means. The deep breathing and stretching will ease your tension.
Talk to yourself as you exercise. Boost your self-esteem and visualize all the unwanted thoughts leaving when you exhale.
With exercise, you release negativity and energize your mind, body and soul.
Which activity to choose
The choice is yours as long as you take action.
My personal recommendation is: if you haven’t done any of those before. I find it the most effective tool if there is stuff piling in your head.
Everything gets better with regular maintenance
You can do a variation of the above on a daily basis to keep your mind clear and tidy.
Do it daily and it will give you more clarity and peace than you ever imagined. It is a great way to relax and keep things in perspective.
Exercise and relaxation
Your mind and body are connected – as you move, you release thoughts and improve, or at least, maintain your health.
Add relaxation – a soak in the tub, yoga, a nap or anything else that you enjoy, to your days and you will think and feel better.
Your diet affects your mind as much as your body. If you can, consume less alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and harder to digest foods. Eat the best quality foods you can and pay attention to how your energy level changes.