The battle against our unruly minds

Maintaining a consistent focus on something until, and if, it becomes an unconscious habit, is essentially a battle against our unruly minds. For most of us, most of the time, our mind simply doesn’t want to be tethered to one thing. Instead, it has the tendency to float from this thought to that. Whilst, to a greater or lesser extent, we have the capacity to concentrate, for many of us this is a struggle. We increasingly hear the terms ADD and ADHD, particularly in reference to children these days. However, given our lifestyles and the unhealthy environments in which we live, it’s no surprise that concentration seems to be a dwindling art.

We increasingly hear the terms ADD and ADHD, particularly in reference to children these days. However, given our lifestyles and the unhealthy environments in which we live, it’s no surprise that concentration seems to be a dwindling art.

Even though those things which become habitual for us are often not particularly wholesome additions to our daily routine, these superficial desires grab at our attention like spoilt children. Whilst we frequently struggle to create genuinely healthy habits, we effortlessly adopt habitual patterns of behaviour that really don’t nurture us. This is an interesting paradox is it not?
What the wise sages of old tell us on this subject is that the reason we so obsessively pursue our superficial desires is that, once fulfilled, they bring a temporary respite from our unruly minds. Beneath our superficial desires is the fundamental longing for the mind to be quiet and in peace. And yet, as life teaches us, buying a new iPhone or red Ferrari, dating a beautiful woman or handsome man, or pursuing a plethora of other ‘things’, will not bring enduring fulfillment.

What a conundrum…

Because we don’t have much peace of mind, we struggle to maintain our focus on just one thing, preferring to unconsciously seek that elusive peace of mind through each new blip of distraction-induced pleasure. This is why meditation apps are notoriously challenging to stick with, and every single person I know who has downloaded the Headspace app, barring one, is no longer using it.

Remembering what BJ Fogg said, “Only three things will change behavior in the long term. Option A: Have an epiphany. Option B: Change your environment. Option C: Take baby steps.”

Remembering what BJ Fogg said, “Only three things will change behavior in the long term. Option A: Have an epiphany. Option B: Change your environment. Option C: Take baby steps.”

But what if we were able to empower all of these possibilities? Since last week I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and I’ve evolved my model accordingly –

SBC = E.A.S.Y

Where –

E = Envision – whatever it is that you feel deep desire for
A = Action – small daily steps towards your grand goal
S = Support – a system that supports you in your endeavour
Y = YOU – your internal support system

Envision

Adopting new patterns of healthy behaviour is not easy, hence my previous reference to ‘searching for the Holy Chalice’. This is why your degree of desire plays such a key role in the process. Desire fuels the fire of willpower. But it’s not enough to merely have the desire, you need to be able to imagine what this will look and feel like once a reality, especially if the goal is big. Think Hannibal and his elephants!

The truth is that most people select goals that they simply don’t desire enough, or don’t believe that they can achieve. If you can’t imagine it, how on Earth are you going to manifest it?

There has been a wave of literature over the last few years that is feeding the notion that we can have, be and do anything that we want. This is really not helpful, or indeed even true. Rumi said this beautifully – “When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety”.

Become really clear about what you truly want!

Action

Once your clarity of intention is established, you’re ready to make a plan for your great adventure. Don’t over plan through analysis paralysis though – just enough planning to give you a pathway to follow. Remember that plans rarely go to plan!

Then, take the first step towards your grand goal:
Eating a whole cow, or if you’re vegetarian, a whole orchard of fruit, is a daunting prospect. But if you can just begin with the first step, this is such a magnificent catalyst for the rest of your journey. It’s then all about consistency – small baby steps, every day. This will help to overcome obstacles, imaginary and real.

Support

Because pursuing your dreams is an arduous journey, you will need support. Sometimes, this means support in gaining clarity around what you truly want; and then moral or professional support to give you the best chance of succeeding in your endeavour. This outer support is invaluable!

YOU

You are at the centre of everything in your personal reality. If you take care of yourself well, then you become the best version of yourself. I wrote a book about this, called – “Wake Up and SOAR

Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson

Chris is the Founder and CEO of SOAR App, and is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and yoga teacher. He’s been creating businesses around natural healthcare for 25 years, and founded the Ashiyana Retreat Village – one of the best known yoga and healing centres in the world, soon to open in Brazil and Spain. Chris’s first book – Wake-Up and SOAR (Watkins, 2016) is a practical guide to mastering your wellbeing.
Chris Nelson

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