How do you expend your mental energy?

One of the lessons I’ve received and continue to receive when needed is about how I expend my mental energy. When I find myself carried away with thoughts about a frustrating experience I had, I am reminded that it’s over and it’s time to be present. Even when I am present and dealing with say a customer service dilemma, this is an opportunity to learn. There seem to be plenty of these opportunities in today’s climate and on one such occasion, while I felt my frustration begin to build, I was taken through various outcomes in my mind and realized that under no circumstances would getting angry serve me or help to improve the situation. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t encouraged to be persistent when it was appropriate, I just didn’t expend the kind of intense energy on the matter that I might have previously and in the end, things always worked out better for me. The outcome was always measured by how I felt, not what transpired. However, soon I began to notice that I not only felt better but the overall outcomes improved considerably. I made better choices because I was in a better frame of mind to do so.

The energy of the mind is something that is worth our attention. It is an environment that needs to be taken care of just as our physical environment needs tending. The thoughts we entertain send signals to our body and out into the world around us. Both our bodies and the world responds. When I invest in fear, worry and doubt, I end up feeling tired and experience a loss of energy. This state is reflected outward to others around me and they respond accordingly. There may be superficial activities and responses that seem to ignore this inner state but on a deeper level, this is what we’re all responding to all of the time and this is the level at which real change is possible.

We are sending out signals all the time with our energy and when we choose to engage in those highly charged negative emotional exchanges, we’re sending out the kind of signals that invite that same negative charge in whatever form it may take. Understanding this helped me to begin to take an active role in what I allowed to fill my mind because it was my engagement with certain kinds of thoughts that ultimately sparked this negative energy. We all have a choice in this. Our thoughts are not who we are but they affect how we feel and behave and that affects everything else. I began to actively refuse to entertain thoughts that I realized were continually intruding and causing harm. I used visualization techniques that seemed strange to me at the time but I soon realized that the method isn’t what matters, it’s the results that matter and the results were and still are consistently good. I began to treat negative thoughts as though they were people intruding in a harmful way and I would no longer engage with them.

This is a powerful exercise. It taught me that by using my will to cast out these intrusive and negative thoughts, I was beginning to take control of my life. I soon began to do this gently but firmly with some people in my life too. It became a ripple effect showing me clearly how my state of mind reflected outwards. By clearing out negative space inside of me and around me, I began to invite the more positive experiences and the kind of community that I had been craving. It has been the most liberating experience of my life and it all happened because I began to pay attention to what was going on in my mind and to actively participate in changing it in a positive way. We all have the power to do this and if we are willing, it can change everything.