Jumping On A Train Of Thought.

Years ago a friend of mine killed a woman.

It was accidental, yet he saw it coming. He knew what he was about to do, yet he couldn’t stop it. Here is what happened. My friend, whose name is John, drives trains for a living. One day a young woman was walking on the railway tracks wearing headphones. John’s train was coming up behind her fast. The instant he saw her he started blowing the horn and applying the brakes. It was too late. The train had so much momentum all he could do was run her over.

Here is why I am telling you this.

It takes time and effort to stop a loco-motive. Loco meaning crazy. Motive meaning reason, purpose or intent. As a guide who helps people find their way through adversity, I often hear people say. “It is hard to change my beliefs”. I hold that view as well. However, I have the advantage of also holding the view “It is easy to change my beliefs”. What’s valuable is I can do this with any belief. Put it in one hand, and in the other hand, objectively weigh it against the polar opposite belief.

The challenge is knowing when to believe which belief.

As soon as you choose one, unless you are aware of the true motivation behind your choice of beliefs, you become like a passenger on a train. Then you have no other choice but to keep on riding that belief. To me what is really scary is that many people don’t even seem to realize they have a choice about their beliefs. Their view has become so fixed or absolute, they will no longer consider any other points of view. Whenever that happens, their certainty is killing possibility.

If you're interested, I'd like to discuss this with you on a private call.

That way I can personally guide you through whatever beliefs are currently in the way of getting what you want, and then show you how to put yourself back in the driver’s seat. To regain command anytime you observe your thoughts or feelings going off the rails. Before handing you the controls, however, there is something fundamental that I recommend you practice. Otherwise, you will just keep on suffering no matter what you do.

Practice conscious breathing.

Allow me to explain. In reference to my cognitive approach to behavioural therapy, a client once asked if I was brainwashing her. I laughed and said “I dunno about that, but if washing my brain helps me clean up the way I think, then I am certainly in favour of it. As long as I am the one washing myself!” When I used to teach yoga I would often tell my students that meditation is like giving your brain a bath. It clears your mind of smelly old thoughts that have been festering for years and no longer serve you. What many people have not yet learned, is that a meditation can be as short as a single breath or two.

The mind follows the breath.

When we slow our breathing down we slow our thoughts down. By starting with conscious breathing, we start to take command of all those wild, crazy, loco thoughts and motives that we had previously been following helplessly like passengers on a train. Starting with your breathing puts you back in the driver’s seat. It puts you in the position of being the conscious conductor of your life. It doesn’t solve your problems, it just puts you in a better frame of mind to accurately assess your options. A neutral frame of mind where you can more soberly observe your own opposing thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviour.

There is nothing scarier to a mind than being without oxygen.

To begin, sit or stand straight. Shoulders back. Spine erect. Practice long, slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing. Through your nose, not your mouth. From your belly, not your chest. Do this constantly. Now you are in command. Now in any situation, you can more calmly consider your beliefs and decide if that is really the way you want to go…before getting on the train.

Remember. Knowledge isn't power. Knowledge applied is power.

Mike Highstead

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