If you read Meditation 101, you may remember the part about the stress reaction within our bodies, the way our caveman brains react to stressful thoughts as if being chased by a saber-toothed tiger releasing hormones when you are only thinkingabout stress, real or simply imagined-your physical body reacts to your imagination, thoughts, words and emotions as real and reacts accordingly.
For those that may not yet be convinced of an actual mind-body connection, here’s a quick little exercise I oftentimes present at the beginning of group sessions to demonstrate this very real connection. I begin by projecting an image of a sliced orange on the screen. I ask the attendees to close their eyes and imagine an orange. Then I say, “Imagine holding it in your hands—feel the texture of the peel and take in its vibrant color. Experience bringing it up to your nose and remember how it smells. Then imagine putting the orange on the table in front of you and slicing into it. The juice squirts out as you cut into it and the smell is filling the air around you. After cutting yourself a section, you put it in your mouth, and biting into it, the sweet juice fills your mouth.”
At this point, the group opens their eyes and I ask how many felt their mouth watering as if the orange were real. Most of the people in the room raise their hand every time. While you were reading that, did your mouth start to water?
This physically demonstrates, especially for the skeptical one, the power the mind and the imagination have to affect your physical body—and how your body noticeably reacts. When we take this one step further, beyond the orange, we find that our thoughts send out a creative vibration one that can be used for good or for ill.
There have been many scientific studies that show positive, physical effects and manifestations of positive thinking, affirmations, meditation, and even prayer. If you want to dig deeper, visit pubmed.gov and type “meditation” or “mind-body” into the search bar.
What you think about, comes about.
So the questions is: are the thoughts you are thinking, the pictures you entertain and the words you speak supportive of you and your entire system including your physical body?
Another analogy could be to look at our thoughts as if they were a food…How would your body feel if you fed it junk food all day? Pretty crappy, right? If you are “feeding” yourself negative, critical thought all day, it’s the equivalent of junk food and its unlikely that you will feel happy, energized, fulfilled or at peace. And what develops from that thinking after years and decades of it? Illness and Dis-ease?
One of the best ways I know of to slow down your thoughts and to develop a muscle in your mind to catch and stop yourself from running old negative thoughts is to meditate.
You may not even be aware of a pattern you may have of saying critical, negative, weakening things to your self. When you meditate, it brings you awareness of the thoughts that are actually going through your head, and then you have the ability to stop, breathe, and decide if you really want to make that thought manifest in your body.
Here’s a thought we woman seem to berate ourselves with “I feel fat today.” Have you every said this to yourself? Think about it: if your thoughts manifest in your body, you are affirming to yourself that, “I AM FAT.” And guess what—your body obeys the thought. Scary stuff when you stop to consider the repercussions, right? Many of us were raised to believe that criticizing ourselves will “motivate” us towards our good, but the truth is that it has the opposite effect.
I’ve been talking about watching our thoughts manifest in the body, but we can also go at it from a different angle as well, starting with the ailment in the body and tracking it back to a possible thought pattern
Our bodies are constantly taking to us and telling us what is going on in the physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological planes—if only we only take the time to listen. A great guide for this, that I’ve used for more than 25 years, is contained within the book You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. Within this classic book is a 66-page index of ailments that have manifested in the body, along side the possible thought pattern that may have contributed to the aliment or disease. But she doesn’t just identify and leave us hanging there, she also suggests counter thoughts: positive affirmations and new thought patterns for reversing the harmful ones.
As we talked about the importance of affirmations around the New Year, this is a space where affirmations are going to make all the difference. The thoughts we think and the beliefs we hold will manifest in one way or another. So why not make those thoughts and beliefs positive ones?
We are all used to thinking along the mental lines that we do. It’s estimated that we think over 10,000 thoughts each day. Science tells us that the way you think creates patterns, roadways within the brain called neuropathways, and that your body chemistry is used to feeling a certain way based on the constant running of those patterns. When you attempt to change your thoughts, running new pathways you may feel strange, like things just aren’t right. That’s why when you begin challenging your belief systems and creating new neuropathways, things will feel weird and sometimes even “wrong,” even though your are working toward positive change. Keep with it, though, and you will reap the positive results from the new thought patterns in your body and in your life.
Jill Englund has a Bachelor of Science degree in Metaphysics and for the last ten years has helped organizations and individuals to achieve their goals through guided imagery, creative visualization, and meditation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.