Stress Reduction: The Empty Mind

By Alexia Parks in Attention on June 11th, 2010 / One Comment

Everything we do in life is an entrainment. Either we’re acting upon something or it is acting upon us. To clear your mind so you can discover which thoughts and ideas are yours, and which belong to someone else, try this Empty Mind exercise:

Sitting in a quiet place with your eyes closed, take a slow, deep breath as you say to yourself: “I don‚t know”. This is a statement of surrender to the unknown. I don’t know what will happen next. Then release your breath.

Now on another inhale, say to yourself: “I am open and curious.” This leaves you open to change. Then release your breath. Now say to yourself on an in-breath: “I am OK with whatever happens.” This opens you to acceptance.

Use these three phrases, created by Eric Knouse, founder of The Practice,  to keep you focused as you quiet your mind. Soon you will relax into emptiness and all thoughts will cease. See how long you can maintain a conscious awareness of the empty space in your mind before the next thought arrives.

As you shift gears, you will be able to create a positive future for yourself by focusing on the positive, rather than what is breaking down. This also holds true for human society as it tries to solve local, national or global problems. When the dominate thought or focus is on breakdown, that is what occurs. Shift each thought, as you catch it, to the positive.

As you empty your mind, slow your breath. Notice each in and out-breath. Feel a sense of peace within you. Send this feeling of peace outward, let it radiate into the world.

Shifting Gears
Why leave a good job? Here are three people who left high paying jobs for similar reasons: their jobs were not soul satisfying.

The first, the father of two young children, left his job at a software company to do fund-raising for a non-profit. Its mission is to raise public awareness about the melting ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.

With a small cash reserve from his previous job, he volunteers his time to travel to the north and south poles to help with photographic and video recordings of the loss of glaciers. He then uses the passion of his commitment to contact philanthropists and other potential funding sources.

The second person, Sebastian left a job in the retail sector for a six-months *time out*. He spent six months traveling around Southeast Asia, which included a 10-day meditation retreat in India. I met him on the van to the airport in Bali. “Every young person I’ve met while traveling” he told me, “is either traveling to get away from something or to find themselves.”

On the ride, I had him take a few minute to do the following Life Purpose exercise. In only three minutes, I asked him to quickly list 10 possible careers. His list of 10 careers included: a skydive instructor, journalist, teacher, owner of an Eco Lodge, and fund raiser for a non-profit. When he had difficulty deciding between a career as a journalist or owner of an Eco Lodge, I pulled out a coin from my purse and gave it to him.

He decided that Heads would mean: journalist. A flip to Tails would mean that he would become the owner of an Eco Lodge. Then he flipped the coin. I watched his reactions to the coin toss. When it came up heads, meaning journalist, he gave a big smile. “OK, I’ll become a journalist.”

I then reminded: it wasn’t the coin that made the final decision. It was his emotional reaction to the results of the coin toss.

Another man, back in the States, also opted for the coin toss. This man was a successful Deputy District Attorney who was going through a difficult divorce. I was asked to meet with him and his wife. His wife was a nurse and quite happy with her career. He, however, imagined that one day he would enter politics and become the State Attorney General.

When he wrote down a list of 10 possible careers, the list included: State Attorney General AND owner of a charter fishing boat in Florida. I asked him to choose only one. He couldn’t decide. So I said: “OK, let the coin decide your future.” He flipped it and it came up State Attorney General.

When he saw the choice that had been made, his shoulders slumped forward and he put his head in his hand. I then reminded him that his response told him that what he really wanted – what his heart really wanted – was to move to Florida and buy a charter boat.

When his wife heard this, she smiled and said, “My job requires that I work with the elderly who are suffering from Alzheimers. There are a lot of elderly people in Florida. If we move there, I know I can easily find a good paying job in my field.

As they left, arm in arm, she called back: “We’ll send you a photo from the boat!”

Buy her book from amazon: Parkinomics: 8 Ways to Thrive In the New Economy

About the author:
Alexia Parks is an author, speaker, and social media blogger who focuses on trends in the fields of green energy, the environment, education, & communications. Her books include Parkinomics, 8 Great Ways to THRIVE in the New Economy, Rapid Evolution, and An American Gulag.

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