Compliments of Elasticcamel via Flickr

Many times we treat our mind as if it were a random number generator. We ruminate on what floats to the surface from the murky depths of our past, instead of focusing on the “here and now.” I’m reminded of transparent plastic hoppers used to select the winning lottery ticket. Locus of control (carried to its logical conclusion) necessitates that you take control of your inner recess.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “happiness is a choice.” Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl explains this was brought to his attention through involuntary incarceration; in a place where everything “of value” was removed, he realized that the only thing he could truly control was his reaction. Our thought process is the basic building block of our subsequent behavior – it’s the most influential card we have to play.

When we choose our reaction based on the mercurial behavior of others, we give them our power – we let them take the controls of our thinking. What if we instead chose to be as happy as possible regardless of the circumstance? From Frankl: “The consciousness of one’s inner value is anchored in higher, more spiritual things, and cannot be shaken by camp life.”

A proactive attitude of peace is polar opposite of allowing yourself to be batted about by those around you. Your perceptual filter is key – do I see people as a threat, or do I choose to take the high road? Do I carelessly formulate negative thought, or do I cherry pick the most appropriate response? Choose to keep your hand on the controls instead of carelessly giving them away. The power of positive thinking starts with a conscious decision in each moment.

Projection of positive expectation is palpable – drawing other people to you, instead of keeping them at arm’s length. Breathnach’s Gratitude Journal is an attempt to recalibrate our typical pattern to one that’s less dreary. [I think in fact that putting this process on autopilot may be partly responsible for anxiety and depression]. Conversely, reacting is a choice to be unconscious. Tolle urges us to “…break out of inherited collective mind patterns that have kept humans in bondage for centuries.” The dilemma in any given moment is whether we allow others to disturb our peace (responding to the ripple effect they’ve created) or whether we remain steadfast in our desire to seek the best possible result.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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