Each of these practices involves managing your mind in a way that leads to a happy and purposeful life.
- The Transcendent Practice of the Third Eye
The Practice of the Third Eye is an awareness you can develop to distance yourself from your mind so that you can manage where it goes. The Third Eye is often said to be located around the middle of the forehead, between and slightly above the eyebrows. The physical location of this metaphysical eye is not important. You can visualise it as being in your forehead between your eyebrows or you can simply visualise an “I” who is able to look down on you wherever you are.
The Practice of the Third Eye invokes an awareness of yourself in relation to yourself and your environment. By developing your ability to see yourself you will become increasingly aware of where your mind goes. As soon as you have this awareness, the gears shift and you automatically get to direct where it goes. Simply by seeing yourself, you take charge of the process. Buddhists call this practice, cultivating the witness.
The transcendent practice of the third eye is about raising your awareness of yourself. This is the ‘I’ who sees me. Increasingly you will be able to practice transcendence, a process whereby you rise above that which is, in order to maintain a perspective of what is going on in your life and around you from a detached but benevolent place.
The I who sees me, smiles.
Just for today I will make a conscious effort to watch where my mind goes.
- Analytical Practice of the Third Eye.
Know why you do what you do.
I am hopeful that as you go through this course you will learn more and more about how your mind works and will understand the value of being rigorously honest with yourself about why you do what you do. It is central to our ability to live happy and purposeful lives that we identify our motivation for where our minds want to go so that we can decide if this is where we want to be.
The most important contribution Sigmund Freud made to psychology was to demonstrate how we deceive ourselves. It is frighteningly easy to live a life chasing that which does not matter and being defined by goals that have no long term value. If you want to live a purposeful life then you will need to recognise where you mind has gone to and evaluate why it has gone there. The analytical practice of the third eye is about asking yourself why you are thinking what you are thinking and what you want to get out of letting your mind go where it is.
So if I am defending myself, my practice of the third eye allows me to become aware of the fact that I am defending myself. Instead of getting swallowed up in what I am feeling and going on and on justifying, rationalising, excusing, blaming etc., I can stop the process and recognise that I am defending myself. I can then uncover that I am defending myself because I have become threatened. I might then make decisions to deal with the feeling directly by calming myself down, comforting myself and subsequently I can engage problem solving skills to decide how I want to manage the situation. It can move from brain chatter that is very ineffective to strategic thinking which can be very powerful.
With mind management mastery you will increasingly choose where you want to put your mind. You will notice when your mind is stubborn. When it keeps wanting to go someplace that is not helpful. With the analytical practice of the third eye, the “I” who sees me can work out what is stopping you from letting it go. What is motivating your attachment to thoughts and ideas that are making you unhappy and not serving any useful purpose? The “I” who sees me in this practice wants to know if what I am thinking is useful and what is stopping me from letting it go, if it is not.
During the course you will be given a great deal of information of how tricky we can be and how this impacts on both our happiness and our ability to lead a purposeful life. Mind Management Mastery has a model that enables easy detection of dysfunctional motivation that can help you avoid getting sucked into defensive behaviour.
Just for today I will examine my motivation for why I am doing what I am doing.
- The Mindful Practice of the Third Eye.
Abraham Lincoln is said to have said that you are as happy as you make up your mind to be. In this practice we use our mind to connect with joy and wonder.
Deliberately enjoy whatever there is to enjoy wherever you can.
Our brains scan our environment constantly for evidence of potential threats. Most of this is done automatically and without storing the information in our long term memory. So we don’t even remember what we saw. It is only when there is something different or unusual in our environment that our brain kicks in cerebral functions, engaging our pre-frontal cortex in the process so that we actually think about what we are seeing and record the changes. What this means is that we can readily go through life not connecting with it. Compare the eyes of children with that of older people. Children tend to be looking, the world is still new and interesting. Older people tend to be thinking and scanning.
The MMM way of enjoying your life is to use your mind to connect positively through your senses with your experiences. See what you can see. Notice it. Hear what you can hear. Touch something lovingly. Smell what you can smell. Feel what you are feeling. You can connect positively with all your experiences, even the negative ones. Of course, it takes a master to connect positively with pain but it is possible. For the rest of us, connecting positively can be something we do as a respite activity to help us manage the pain. We draw out attention away from pain as we practice mindfulness which gives us some respite. As you develop your mind mastery you will increasingly be able to connect positively with all your sensual experiences.
The practice of mindfulness has gained enormous popularity in psychology. There is huge volume of research confirming its effectiveness. It is so easy to do, always available and all it takes is that we take the time out to connect. It will not happen of its own accord. You have to manage your mind, take it out of scanning and click the connect button. Stop and look at a tree. It is always there, you can walk past it every day and not notice it or you can stop for a second and look at it. Feel the sun on your skin. Look into the eyes of someone in front of you. Notice the different shades of green. Taste your food. Smell food cooking. Stop and connect.
MMM mindfulness is directional. There is lots of discussion about whether Mindfulness should have a direction or should be something you do without attachment. Mindfulness that does not have an agenda, means that you connect for the sake of connecting. There is a great deal of power in this argument, mindfulness that connects without any cognitive involvement is a powerful practice but the one does not preclude the other. Mindfulness in this practice is to use our minds to deliberately generate a connection with joy and wonder. We connect positively.
It is significant to realise, however, that our positive connecting is not escapist. MMM is not about building our defences to help us avoid life. Over the years I have worked with a number of clients who affect to be positive, presenting with false positives when it is clear that just below the surface they are hurting and usually very angry. MMM is not about denying reality or pretending that you like something when you don’t, that you love when you hate, that you forgive when you resent. If you dislike something, if you hate something, if you resent something then this practice is about being mindful of those emotions from a perspective of kindness and gentleness. The “I” who sees me smiles. You are hurting and you can connect positive with the hurting and smile gently at yourself as you might a hurt, angry child. The “I” who sees me is not swallowed up by the angry, resentful child, it connects positively with that child. From this point, you can use your analytical practice to uncover what is going on for you and work out rationally what you want to do about it.
Just for today I will make an effort to connect positively with what I see, taste, feel, touch, hear and smell.
- Positive Constructive Prospecting practice. (PCP)
Look forward in a positive and constructive way. In this practice, you deliberately point your mind in a desired direction. In the third practice, the mindful practice of the third eye we connect with the joy of what is. In this practice, we get excited about what could be.
In the first practice, the transcendent practice of the third eye, you observe where your mind is. You can do this as often as you like. Regardless of what you are doing, or how busy you are, or how stressed you are, you can simply take a few seconds out to observe where your mind is. It takes very little effort but helps you raise your awareness of where you mind is going. In the second practice you analyse why it has gone where it has gone. This is more time consuming and therefore something you are more likely to do when you find yourself unhappy, conflicted, depressed, defensive or even if you find yourself wasting time running fantasies. Increasingly you will be aware of your own motivation, so it will be less difficult and less time consuming but it does involve stopping and working out why your mind has decided to go where it went.
In the third and fourth practice you take it where you want it to go. In the third practice you connect with what is. In the fourth practice you make it work for you in a positive and constructive way.
Prospection is involved in everything we do. In our every voluntary action there is a perceptual consequence of the action. Before you put your foot down your brain is “watching” you put it down, you brain has gone into the future to predict and prepare a number of things including where you are going to put your foot, how safe it will be, what needs to happen when you move your foot and what needs to happen after you have put your foot down. This is all prospection stuff, it is all about what is going to happen and is based on our memory of what has happened before. It is likely that the first few times our actions happen, they happen by accident but from then on, the brain is able to prospect what could happen and can guide our behaviour accordingly. A baby will accidentally touch something with their hand but after a while they can foresee what will happen if they move their hand towards the object.
Positive, constructive prospecting, PCP, is about using your mind to plan what you are going to do and envisioning what you would like to happen.
Planning involves looking into the immediate future with a plan about what you want to do. It can involve problem solving, it can involve activities, it can involve what you are going to eat for dinner. Planning helps discipline your mind. Problem solving, for example, involves working out what you are going to do about something rather than just going around and around in circles thinking about the problem. Planning is about living your life deliberately. It does not mean that you become rigid or constrained, your plan can be ditched without hesitation if something else presents, it is not a rule to live by, it is about looking ahead with as much certainty as you can about your day and planning what you do with it.
The second aspect of this practice is to visualise what you would like to happen. Our brains like to look ahead positively, we like to imagine good things happening. This is incredibly dysfunctional if it is avoidant because it wastes your most precious resource: time and it sets you up to be unhappy. However, positive constructive prospecting can be very useful if it motivates you to achieve and it affords you realistic happiness.
Positive Prospecting needs to be realistic. MMM is focussed on what is realistic and achievable. Use SMARTI Goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely and Inspired. We do not use escapist constructs such as fantasy, day dreaming or magic to achieve our happiness. Happiness that is sourced this way sets us up for unhappiness, wastes precious time and renders us so much less productive than we could be. MMM happiness is based on connecting with the joy and wonder of the universe and being inspired to achieve realistic goals.
The key in this practice is to be inspired. You want to get excited about your life. You want to live a productive and exciting life.
An essential part of your morning practice is to make your mind look somewhere that has the effect of inspiring you. Imagine being inspired every day with some objective that you want to achieve. Imagine starting the day looking forward to something you want to achieve today that excites and inspires you. What do you want to achieve today? What can you realistically achieve today that will lift you up and help you love your life? It can be a decision to sing out loud, it can be a decision to do an inspirational read, it can be to find something that makes you chuckle all day, it can be a fabulous act of benevolence that warms your heart, it can be that you want to do some exercise, it can be to do something fun, it can be a friend you want to meet, it can be a chapter of your book you want to write. At the end of each day achieve something, big or small, that will allow you to say, “I did that and it was great.” Now imagine for the rest of your life you do one thing every day that involves constructive prospecting, if each and every day for the rest of your life involves some level of mind management associated with constructive prospecting then you will have lived a good life.
Positive Prospecting can involve a larger direction. We can be excited about a particular direction we want our lives to go in. Having a direction is a very useful facilitator of MMM. If we know what we want to do with our lives and are excited about the prospect, it become much easier to train our minds to focus on that which makes us happy and productive. If you don’t have such a direction, however, it is best at this point to focus your attention on a daily positive prospect. This will help you develop the practice of positive prospecting and in turn it might lead you to a direction. Another way of putting that is, to let MMM be your direction for now, get excited about the prospect of living a powerful and happy life. Get inspired by the notion that you can take charge of your mind and make it deliver a happy and productive life. The power is with you! These practices can put you on track to a life that has so much to offer in its ability to help you become your glorious self.
Just for today I will practice inspired, constructive thinking.
Focus on everything you do and do it well.
This is the second last practice. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed reading all of this, don’t worry, it is a guide to live your life by rather than a course to pass or fail. During the course you will focus your attention on these practices and experience the effect of mind management which will in turn offer you a way of living your life should you so choose. Also note, that the six practices are written up on mindmanagementmastery.com website so you can go over them again if you want to.
This practice is about expressing who you are.
Step up psychologically, push that little harder to do it better. Slightly increase your degree of difficulty rather than run away from it. The more of you that you put into whatever you do, the more you express who you are.
Your PCP is about doing something that is real and inspirational each day. Making sure that your thinking is inspired and constructive. Your potentiate practice is about doing something that is connected with unfolding your potential and has more to do with pushing yourself a little harder.
We all have enormous, undeveloped potential. We can so easily get caught up in wasting a life, consumed with stuff that doesn’t matter or chasing goals that are trite, we can so easily waste our lives which is fine if that is what you want, but in doing so we miss such an opportunity to be great.
Your potentiate practice is about extending yourself in everything you do and on doing everything you do well. In doing so you will expand and develop your power, knowledge and awareness.
Potentiating can also include applying yourself to a specific direction. You can decide what aspect of your potential you want to unfold and then focus your energy on something particular, such as becoming a teacher, studying butterflies, learning how to love, becoming an athlete, painting a picture, and/or learning yoga. If you do not have a direction, then you can apply yourself with everything you have got to MMM. Step up, give it everything you have got and notice the difference.
The way you unfold your potential, the MMM way is to focus on what you are doing and to extend yourself in whatever you are doing. In doing so you put more of you into everything you do and so you build your potential. When we exercise, we extend our muscles, we push ourselves physically and in doing so we build our strength. In the same way, we can build our mental capacities by focussing on what we are doing and extending ourselves in the process. Work that mind of yours a little harder in everything you think, do and say and you will find that after 14 days you will unfolded more of your potential.
Just for today I will focus on what I am doing and I will do it well.
- Practice of equanimity.
Equanimity: “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/emotional_intelligence
Equanimity is firstly about being aware of our emotions. This involves being connected to what we are feeling, we feel our feelings. The way many people manage their emotions is to push them away. We avoid feeling what we are feeling by repressing, denying, avoiding, distracting, rationalising, intellectualising, defending, blaming or projecting these feelings. Most of us have developed sophisticated skills to avoid feeling.
It can be hard to connect with our feelings. We may have become such experts at not feeling that we have become walking heads, disconnected from our emotions. By practicing the third practice, the Mindful Practice of the Third Eye, we connect with our experiences and increasingly can develop our awareness of our emotions.
Having developed the courage to feel what we are feeling, we then need to be in charge of these emotions. Many people give their feelings too much power. Feelings are just feelings. They are fickle, arbitrary, changeable, variable, unreliable, and they do not reflect any greater truth about you. Think of something horrible happening and note your feelings, now think of something wonderful happening and note your feelings. The feelings are likely to be very different emotions, if so, which one reflects the ‘true’ you? Which feeling is more significant? Which feelings requires your attention? Which feeling should have more power over your day? The answer is that you can decide what significance you want to put on the feeling. If you want to attach your attention to either feeling, you can and it will gain potency. It is your decision that makes the difference and not anything intrinsic in the emotion itself. Feelings are not real things, they cannot make us do anything. Because we have the ability to feel, we can experience existence and that is wonderful but the feelings themselves are entirely untrustworthy beasts.
Feelings, however, are our primary motivators. Discomfort motivates us to seek comfort and that motivates most of our behaviour. We want to reduce bad feelings and increase good feelings. This is our primary motivation for everything we do. Our feelings motivate us, driving us onward, forcing us to take action. All day long, we do what we do in order to seek short term or long term comfort. All well and good, but how we get relief needs to moderated by reason rather than emotion. We need to make rational decisions and not emotional decisions if we are to achieve self-esteem, self-confidence and lead a purposeful life. If we do not want our feelings to automatically direct our lives then we need to connect with what we are feeling and make sure we are responding to that feeling in a why that facilitates our happiness and our ability to lead a purposeful life. In MMM our analytical practice of the third eye ensures we keep an eye on what is motivating our behaviour, in the equanimity practice, we use our minds to manage our emotions. We use our pre-frontal cortex to take charge of the limbic system. This is called emotional intelligence.
If we only express our thoughts and ideas, then we limit ourselves to a mechanistic exchange. MMM is about integrating our thoughts, ideas and emotions The ability to express our emotions with equanimity is fabulous mastery. It assumes firstly that we are able to connect with what we are feeling. It also assumes that we are sufficiently in charge of what we are feeling because we are able to express the experience with equanimity. Many people need adrenalin to express themselves. They have to ‘psych’ up to express themselves. People often use anger to give them the courage to say what they want to say. Other people struggle enormously with their nerves and it takes a great deal of courage to deal with their anxiety before they are able to say what they want to say. With equanimity, we are in charge of our emotions so are able to express what we feel openly and honestly.
This sixth practice is probably the hardest one to master. It requires that you accept your own imperfection and that of others. Of the two, accepting your own imperfections may be the harder. Often, we have difficulty accepting the imperfections of others because we are so busy defending ourselves. We are frequently desperate to prove ourselves and in doing so we become critical of others. If you are to have an evenness of mind, you have to make peace with your own limitations.
Mind Management Mastery is not about bullying yourself. It is not about getting a whole new set of unrealistic expectations to whip yourself with, generating more stress in your life. It is imperative to the success of the course that you go through this process gently, with kindness – and a touch of humour. Take charge of your emotions in a kind but firm way. You are imperfect, you are muddling through like the rest of us, so give yourself a break. Mind Management Mastery is the work of a life-time. Doing this course will show you a path that you can follow, one that is extraordinarily powerful and incredibly worthwhile but it is predicated by a need to practice kindness towards yourself.
Just for today I will take charge of my emotions.