Four steps to outwit the negative mind #winningatlife

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's Shadowscape
Let your heart be the judge (pic Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s Shadowscape)

The negative mind – aka the second body in kundalini yoga – is easy to recognise. It’s the critical, judgy, negative voice in our head. It’s the aspect of our mind that’s the first to jump in on every situation – before the positive or neutral minds even get a look in! – which sometimes makes it feel like it’s our mind’s most prominent aspect. It’s our very own health and safety officer, our risk assessment manager, our inner nag and critic.

At its best, the negative mind prevents us from making daft decisions like crossing a road in Delhi blindfolded (which is why it’s the first ‘mind’ to pop up in any scenario), and it gives us the discipline to practice yoga every day and make healthy food choices. It helps us know when to act, when to stay still, when to speak and when to stay silent.

But at its worst, it’s a fear monger. The negative mind’s shadow is inertia. It’s the voice that says: ‘No, I can’t follow my heart to an ashram in India because my accounting career will suffer,’ or: ‘I’ve always dreamed of being a teacher but the course is too expensive,’  or, my favourite: ‘This yoga malarkey is a cult.’

A strong negative mind wants to protect us and do the best for us, but unwittingly it keeps us stuck in old habits – its motto is ‘better the devil you know.’ And our hopes and dreams can suffer because of it.

So how do we push beyond the confines of the negative mind?

Feel the fear and do it anyway
Life can be terrifying and amazing and joyful and painful and exquisite – and it really happens way out there, beyond our comfort zone of routine. Comfort zone is the kingdom of the negative mind. It basks in the cosy unchangingness of it. So break out of your comfort zone! How?

Let your heart lead the way
A surefire (though sometimes not so easy) way to break out of the comfort zone is to listen to your heart rather than your head. Your heart’s intelligence has no agenda, and it absolutely has your best interests at heart. The only way to lasting fulfilment lies in breaking through the boundaries of the negative mind and doing what your heart yearns to do. I’ve made this my personal pact – if my heart tells me to do it, I DO IT regardless of what my internal risk assessment manager says (this can be terrifying, but I’m committed)! But what if we can’t hear what our heart really wants?

Do yoga…
In our intellect-driven society, the mind has totally eclipsed our heart’s intelligence. We’ve been drawn out of our body and into our head, so it’s our crazy (or sometimes WAY too sensible) thoughts that govern our life choices, rather than the ‘ong namo guru dev namo’ wisdom of our heart and intuition. The best way to get reconnected to your heart and intuition? YOGA! Get your daily yoga practice on, and be patient. You’ll hear your heart’s wisdom soon enough. The Kriya For Balancing The Head And The Heart is a great short kriya to get you tuned into your heart’s wisdom, and The Negative Mind Kriya For Protection is also a goodie.

And chant…
If anything can reprogram your brain and rewrite your thought patterns, it’s the repetition of a mantra. The heart-centred ‘Ong Sohung’ knocks the negative mind on the head – it means I am you, you are me, we are one. How’s that to instill a good dose of trust in your heart’s wisdom? I’m also a firm favourite of Om Tryambakam to challenge the negative mind’s tendency towards anal retentiveness.

So there you have it. A winning formula that works for me = I acknowledge what my negative mind tells me but I let my heart have the final say.

Sat nam x


8 years ago

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