About Gita Matlock

Gita Matlock Equine-Guided Life Coach http://www.herdspirit.com Gita is an equine-guided life coach and co-founder of Herd Spirit, an organization that offers equine-guided workshops and retreats for accelerated growth among leaders and communities around the world. Gita is a healer through her insights, empathy, and ability to facilitate change. She earned a bachelor's degree in international studies from Pepperdine University and a masters degree in nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco. She is also a certified meditation and yoga teacher. Before opening her equine-guided coaching practice, Gita traveled extensively and held leadership positions with national and international nonprofit organizations. She was born, raised, and now resides with her husband, two children, and small herd of horses at Ananda Village, the first of eight cooperative Kriya Yoga communities founded by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Practicing Patience

“Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far.” Swahili Proverb   Eleven months into this pandemic, we are all being pushed to practice a high degree of patience. Patience as we wait to see our loved ones safely. Patience as our business growth is stymied. Patience as we await our turn for a vaccine. Whatever is currently on hold in your life, I suspect you too have suffered moments of anxiety or frustration over the time spent waiting. The lesson of patience and learning to surrender to “right timing” has come front and center for me too. These recent years have been a string of lessons in the value of patience. I knew in my heart that a change was needed years before Herd Spirit manifested in my life. Those years were marked with many successes and many failures in the practice of patience. When we are able to wait for the time to ripen, all manner of blessings unfold before us. When we push, we often end up exhausted and nowhere nearer the goal. Sometimes, we even roll backward. Patience does not mean doing nothing. That is a misconception that results in even greater levels of frustration and anxiety. Patience, instead, is an act of faith that requires a great deal of effort to practice. It is active, not passive, making it the direct balm to our suffering if we can learn to use it. Patience is practiced as a cycle that looks something like this:   We begin with reflection, noticing where we hold tension in the body, what thoughts are causing us to suffer, what situation we believe needs to change? Next, we breathe deeply. We pause and practice releasing tension in the body, returning our mind to a state of receptivity, where superconscious solutions are found. Receptivity is marked by an inner state of calmness. (If you’re curious whether you are calm right now, check out this Calmness Inventory, put together by the author of Calm Compassionate Children, Usha Dermond, and made available by Conscious Families.) When we’re in that balanced frame of mind, we take a step forward. We do what is in front of us to do. This may not look like solving the problem at all. What is before us may be a pile of dishes, it may be a report for work, it may be caring for a loved one. What’s important is that we take the step before us with an open heart. Here we pause and breathe again. Before bringing any thought into the equation, it’s essential to return the body to a resting state. Then we return to reflection. We check in with body, mind, and heart to see if the action we took was the right one. If we reflect that during our activity, we remain mindful and receptive, we know we’re on the right path. We rinse and repeat indefinitely. Patience is not simply waiting for the “universe” to answer [...]

2021-02-26T14:25:32-08:00By |

Grateful Body: How to Find an Open Heart in Troubled Times

Many of us know the power of gratitude to change our lives. When we’re reminded to practice gratitude, most of us find ourselves filled with love and peace. As we bring to mind all that we are thankful for in our lives, we feel waves of positive feelings.   In America, we even dedicate our most precious national holiday to this practice: Thanksgiving. Gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have, it brings us into presence and opens our hearts. But, what if all we are grateful for is stripped away? What if we find ourselves filled with longing, fear, or anger as we peer at the unjust world around us?   Even the most conscientious practice of gratitude can fall short when we focus gratitude on the things outside ourselves. We are grateful for our family, health, wealth, peace, and friendships. Then one day, perhaps in the midst of a pandemic, all is unceremoniously taken from us. Our family is ill, our job is lost, our nation’s shortcomings are thrown in our face. What then can we be grateful for? How then can we find our way back to an open and loving heart? How can we take up the fight if we are paralyzed by loss or anger?   The answer comes when we practice gratitude for our inner gifts. The gift of our own calmness, kindness, and love. As the world around us churns in violent upheaval, we can return to love through this deeper practice of gratitude. Practice gratitude for the qualities in yourself that you value most. Your kindness, your love, your ability to empathize with the pain of others.   From that place of gratitude, we can take up the fight for truth and justice from a posture of strength. When we anchor our gratitude in our soul’s higher qualities, we find ourselves more able to step into our power and purpose.   I work with horses in my spiritual equine coaching practice. Clients come and learn about themselves, their inner truths, challenges, and gifts, through the eyes of the horse. Horses invite us to enter the present moment, to be grateful for what is, and find peace through living in our truth. In my practice, one of my horses gave a client a beautiful gratitude practice that I will share with you now. Grateful Body Stand with feet hip width apart, shoulders relaxing down the back, and heart open. Inhale deeply into the belly, ribcage, then upper chest. Exhale deeply in the opposite direction: upper chest, ribcage, then belly. Now, focus on each body part, beginning with your toes. As you focus on each body part, bring to mind something within that you are grateful for. Work your way from toes to legs to trunk to chest to arms to fingers to neck to head. At each body part, visualize that inner quality of yourself that you are thankful for. If you run out [...]

2021-01-11T14:41:28-08:00By |

Quarantine Apathy: 3 Tools for Overcoming Despair During Isolation

As the rain pours and the evening draws to a close, I am swallowed by a prevailing sense of apathy that has grown for weeks in quarantine. At first, this feeling crept into my ambition. It sucked away my longing for a successful career serving humanity. Next, it slipped into my desire for affection. I found myself unmotivated to care for my body. Then it slid into my relationship with my spiritual path. I began to recoil at all outward forms of spirituality. Tonight, it edged into the fledgling pages of my book. Doubts assail me about my ability to write for healing. This apathy is like the Nothing from the Never Ending Story. It blows in as a storm and destroys everything in its path. I am gripped with fear that this Nothing will leave me empty, that I have lost my way and will never find home. In the midst of this anguish, from the power of words, a quiet voice calls out. She says that this too shall pass. She reminds me that this Nothing is merely clearing a path for Something. She says, "pray and be still." The fear releases its grip a little. I remember that rain brings renewal in her wake. Doubt and depression spring from uncertainty and we are a world unraveled. That voice, she is my soul. She whispers, "Be still and know that I am God." I will wait for the change to come. These waves of apathy are to be expected. The remedies we try are many and have varying effectiveness. When overcome by these moments, if we can cling to our inner knowing that this too shall pass, we can avoid some of the pitfalls that cause others to stumble. We can avoid the remedies that break us further. The soothing balms of drugs, alcohol, and emotional avoidance that spiral us further toward depression can be avoided.   Here are 3 tools for being still during these cresting waves of apathy: 1. Rest well and listen When we feel Nothing, it is our mind and body crying for rest. Allow yourself the grace to sink. Sink into the couch, the chair, the bed. Listen to something beautiful as you do this and your mind will lift upward, even as your body sinks down.   2. Reconnect with nature In nature, we feel our place and purpose most clear. Walk in the healing embrace of nature’s beauty. Walk slowly and without a destination. Let your movement be restful and drink in your surroundings.   3. Breathe deeply We are trained to breathe from our chest. As women, even more so, for breathing from our belly causes it to momentarily expand, God forbid! But to breathe deeply is to begin the process of healing. Place your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your side ribcage. Now, slowly and with concentration breathe in through your nose. Fill first your belly (actually your diaphragm, [...]

2020-09-23T16:49:39-07:00By |

Death in a Time of Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has brought our mortality into stark relief. Whether we are among those most vulnerable or not, death seems to be all around us. This is disturbing for even the most hearty among us. I was reflecting today how death and birth have so many parallels. Both can be beautiful and Divine, but are also unpredictable, painful, and supremely human. Both come with change akin to alchemy and require an inordinate amount of administrativia. Here in America, we don’t do either very well. We birth in notoriously inequitable hospitals, as if our pregnancies are an illness (not a judgement, I had both my babies in the hospital). The resulting outcomes for moms and babies are the worst among all developed nations. And the end of life? Well, we tuck away our elders in their final years, rather than build robust systems to age in place. We spend tens of thousands to prolong our lives by mere months at the cost of quality connections with loved ones and a peaceful exit. Here at Ananda, the meditation and yoga community where I live, we do our best to exit with grace. We spend a lot of time practicing death through our daily practice of meditation, introspection, and right attitudes. A dear friend died this week after a many-year battle with terminal illness. And while the grief is as piercing as it ever is, he left with immense grace by his ability to surrender through the process. We’re all blessed by it and by his friendship. Today, as thousands lie in hospital beds alone, my heart breaks. I wish we as a culture did death better. It wouldn’t fix this situation, but it might bring greater peace to those who are dying right now. If only we spoke of death more, honored the death process, prepared ourselves for what was in store. We may hold different beliefs about what happens after we die, but the process of death is universal. First, there is the body. It is dying, which means that it is difficult, likely painful. If we spend more time learning to breathe acceptance into the painful parts, might this be less scary? If we experienced pain as a natural part of life, rather than avoiding it at all cost, might we be better prepared? Next, there is the mind. Could we spend more time preparing the mind to be strong and able to remain calm, even under mortal threat? Neuroscience suggests yes. The brain retains plasticity for our entire lives. There is a sizable body of research that demonstrates that meditation strengthens the prefrontal cortex of the brain, while it simultaneously reduces the activity of the limbic system. In other words, you can train your brain to maintain greater calm and reduce its reactive impulses. Finally, there is the Soul. This is supremely personal and many Americans spend a great deal of time on this, while others dismiss it entirely. I love that about [...]

2020-04-24T18:01:20-07:00By |

5 Ways to Social Distance for the Long Haul

This global pandemic is surreal. Each moment brings with it waves of feeling that are so disparate and so unpredictable that their best parallel is Kubler Ross’ 5 stages of grief. And yet, it’s not grief exactly either. Among the waves of acceptance, anger, denial, bargaining, and depression, there are also many moments of joy and even forgetfulness. So much has changed, but our bodies and minds are adapting. This may not be true for those who find themselves quarantined in unfamiliar places, nor for those who are suffering in broken homes, nor those living in the urban epicenters of the pandemic. But for those of us in rural communities, or whose work was previously remote and merely continues to be, the surrealness can sometimes come from the moments of familiarity in the midst of global upheaval. Peering out the window onto my garden, tucked away in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, I catch myself relaxing in utter forgetfulness. When I come to, I move to gratitude that this is my problem; my challenge is to remain vigilant when the forest around me gives me no sign of danger. The first glimmers of hope are upon us; the curve appears to be flattening. Soon, even those in the epicenters may face my reality: a world that feels safe from COVID-19, but is actually not yet. To help those of us already living in a false sense of security and those who may enter it soon, here are five ways to remain vigilant yet fearless for the long haul: Use habit as your superpower. We are currently normalizing to a pandemic world. In doing so, we are already building new habits like wearing masks and washing hands for 20 seconds. To avoid letting these new habits die too soon, reinforce them creatively. Make masks that you find amusing or beautiful, keep song lyrics posted above your sinks, leave Lysol by your front door for packages. The easier and more creative you can make these new habits, the more likely you’ll be to maintain them. Find your why. Perhaps your “why” is a loved one who is more vulnerable to complications. Perhaps it’s the medical community who are begging for your cooperation to save their lives. Perhaps it’s a desire to show your children the value of self-sacrifice. Whatever your “why” may be, it is the most essential component to social distance success. Remain informed. News “fasts” are good, but it’s important to tune into what is happening in your community, country, and world in the ways that you can tolerate right now. Particularly when you feel your “why” slipping or your complacency growing. This pandemic is unfolding at different rates in different cities and nations, so yours may be calm, but the storm is raging somewhere and it’s wise to remember that from time to time. Practice calmness. Calmness is essential, even if we need to remain informed and vigilant. Our bodies need to [...]

2020-04-13T17:01:25-07:00By |

Can We Change?

For the last two years this question has returned to me again and again: can we really change? What can we change about ourselves and what do we need to accept? There is the beautiful truth-ism commonly cited by AA groups: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference," by Reinhold Neibuhr.  There are aspects of my personality that seem to change with time and experience, while others remain fixed. Still others seem to change and then change back in the blink of an eye. The latter experience, my regression into former attitudes and behaviors, is most confounding. Recently, I read Dr. Carol Dweck’s thoughtful book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Her work is a wonderful exploration around what we can change, given the right attitude. In her research, Dr. Dweck cites instance after instance where the outcome of any given situation hinges on the mindset of the person or people involved. In business, she has found the mindset of leadership sets the stage for the entire corporate body. At home, the mindset approach of parents sets up children for success or failure again and again. In athletics, it is not the innate ability as much as the mindset of the athlete that results in lasting success. And what is a growth mindset? It is the attitude that your success or failure does not define you. It is the belief that there is always room for improvement, no matter how much you achieve. It is knowing that perfection on earth is impossible, but improvement is inevitable with hard work. This is the spiritual path, this is what we do every day when we sit to meditate. This is the attitude we adopt when we realize that Self-realization awaits every one of us, given enough time and experience.   So what of our daily set backs? What do we do when we feel ourselves sliding into ego, again and again? Whether it’s the psychological approach of Dr. Dweck or the spiritual approach of great Masters, the remedy is the same: become aware of your shortcomings, but do not dwell on them. Stand up, dust yourself off, and try again and again. You will inevitably reach new heights if you are compassionate with yourself and willing to do the work.   For me, I crave participating on a global stage. In my career, I don’t want to run the local charity, I want to work with the United Nations. I want to help change the world in meaningful ways. It’s a desire that I cannot seem to shake, try as I might to focus on my own spiritual development and the development of my children as the most effective ways to change the world. I just keep returning, again and again, to a pull toward a bigger arena. Is this ego? Is this an unchangeable aspect of myself? [...]

2019-10-07T17:34:38-07:00By |

Am I Psychic?

Meditation, especially a robust daily practice, will open a world of intuitive knowing beyond your wildest imaginations. In my early days of daily meditation, it became apparent that the practice was opening up an inner sense of “knowing” that went far beyond a mere “hunch” and landed squarely in a new dimension. I did not notice this shift all at once. It was a gradual, day by day, unfolding. At least, that is, until one particular moment in my life that changed everything. It was 4:00 a.m. on a San Francisco morning in July of 2011. Daybreak was still hours away and I had been deep in slumber. Suddenly, I awoke with a jolt like a bolt of electricity through my body. I sat up and experienced a wave of intuitive perception. In that moment, I knew that my (then) husband had been unfaithful to me, with whom, and when. There was absolutely no question in my mind, heart, or soul that the information that had just struck me was truth. Upright in bed, alone, and in the dark, I fumbled for the bedside lamp and found on the table next to me an amethyst pendulum that belonged to him. My mind chuckled that his own divination tool was about to confirm my moment of intuition. I picked it up and asked the question. Not once. Not twice. But four times. The pendulum dutifully responded with confirmation that my intuition was correct. By 7:00 a.m. I was on the phone with the man in question and he confirmed my moment of psychic perception. It was the moment that dissolved that imperfect union and opened a new door for my spiritual growth and personal journey to continue, unabated. Since that day, hundreds of less dramatic moments of intuitive knowing have come and gone. The more deeply I meditate, the more I can rely on the truth in such moments. I test them in the cold light of day and they often hold up. Does this mean that I am psychic? I don’t believe so. I believe that this is the fruit of daily meditation on the Divine light within myself. The more in tune with that spark, the more I can count on the calm knowing that is a byproduct of such communion. When my husband Badri asked me to marry him, after just five weeks of courtship, I said yes against all outward reason. Why? My daily meditation practice and smaller tests of intuition had given me the confidence to trust my gut. I knew that I was not ready to marry him in that moment, but that I would be by September (it was then January of 2012). I also knew that he was the one for me without a doubt. Why September? I had no idea, but it turned out that the day we married (September 23, 2012) was the first day that the state of California would permit it. I had no [...]

2019-07-26T14:29:59-07:00By |

How Yoga Can Help an Empath

I am an empath. Sometimes I wish I weren’t, but most of the time it is one of my greatest gifts.   Empathy is, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” – dictionary.com Unlike its sister term “sympathy”, feeling sorrow for another, empathy means to experience the feelings of another, from the inside. As you can imagine, going inside the experience of another being is often very unpleasant. When the object of your empathy is experiencing sorrow, you experience sorrow. When she is elated, you are elated. The teachings and techniques of yoga are meant to bring us closer to perfect union with the omnipresent consciousness that underlies all things. In a way, this is perfect empathy. The difference between yoga and empathy is that the former seeks to unite with the pure divine consciousness that all things are made from, bliss, while the latter seeks to unite with the experience of the person, place, or thing in question. But, empathy is a tool for the yogi and one that is naturally cultivated through the practice of meditation. Toward the end of my teacher Swami Kriyananda’s life, many noted the heightened sensitivity he showed toward the suffering of others. Mostly, he choked on tears of joy, but suffering too made itself known in his face. The great yoga master Paramhansa Yogananda once exclaimed, “Can you not feel its pain?!” when a disciple was carelessly moving a potted tree as he prepared to plant it in the Lake Shrine gardens. As we meditate, we experience increasingly subtle energies in our body. It should be no surprise that the result is often a heightened sensitivity to the world around us when we step off the yoga mat. In my new job at March of Dimes, I’m listening to stories of tragedy and loss a lot. Stories of injustice and the extreme suffering of losing a baby or mother. If you are black or brown in the United States, you are at high risk of experiencing complications in pregnancy and childbirth for a myriad of reasons, all of them avoidable and rooted in inequity. The stories break the heart of an empath. So, how does an empath cope? How do we develop these keen sensitivities in meditation and still move in the world with joy? Here is what works for me: Lean into the pain. For Siddhartha, the young Buddha, the pain of seeing aging, disease, and death propelled him on his spiritual search. Do not shy away from the pain you experience if you are an empath. Lean into it and you will find, after the waves of suffering subside, that it awakens your latent desire for truth. Release self-righteousness. The great trap in suffering is to give into the idea that you are right and someone else is wrong. That feeds separation consciousness, which leads only toward more suffering. Dr. Peter described it best in a talk last summer when he explained that [...]

2019-03-13T17:32:05-07:00By |

A Spoonful of Sugar: How to Transform Work Into Play

Chit chatting this morning over the water cooler, a colleague said to me, “We spend the first ten years of our lives having fun. It’s all responsibilities from there.” I was taken aback. Really? Is that true? I walked away wondering why I could not relate to the comment. What is it that I’m doing that makes work and responsibilities so fun? In pondering the question, I recognized several very meaningful ways to approach work that have the power to transform it from responsibility to play.   1. Be curious. My children love Curious George. If you too have watched or read any of his tales, you know that Curious George gets into a LOT of trouble. He starts with a question and it leads him into a wild adventure of sorts. It always ends well, but not before making tremendous errors that cause the characters in his story to panic. Be like George, not like his friends. When you approach life with curiosity and a willingness to explore, no matter what the consequences, you will find yourself always growing. Whatever you do, don’t be like George’s friends; don’t let your failures get you down. Get up and find solutions.   2. Find purpose. In every sector, in every business, there is a purpose of some sort. A service being offered that people want, a benefit to someone or some group in some way. Align your work with your own sense of purpose. If you can, seek out sectors or companies with missions that enliven you. There is an ocean of possibilities, never let yourself feel trapped. If you do feel stuck, take small steps that will lead you down a new and different path. Notice what you love and begin to cultivate that passion. Patiently, knock on doors until the right one opens.   3. Notice energy. No matter how inspiring the mission you work for is, you will inevitably bump into other human beings or situations that test you. The key to working with people or projects is to step back and notice energy, rather than words or deeds. Become the observer of things and people. The practices of mindfulness are all about this. The more you can observe the energy behind a behavior or even behind a project, rather than react, the more you learn to navigate interpersonal challenges skillfully and move projects forward.   4. Seek solutions. When you identify a problem, spend as little time as possible on it. Once you have clarity about the problem, focus on the solutions. Here’s an example: you have a new business process to implement and a timeline to keep. But, thanks to resistance from staff and technical mistakes, the project is well behind schedule. Take a pause. Notice the resistance of staff and ask the question, “why?” Perhaps it is fear of change? Perhaps it’s a lack of aptitude? And what about the technical failures? Take each concern, people and things, and consider [...]

2019-01-14T19:29:48-08:00By |

How to Support Others in Times of Loss

Grief is not a linear experience, it is not something that you leave behind. As a wise friend who lost her son in a tragic gun accident once said to me, “You do not move through grief, you move in it.” Grief does not recede like a tide, you never move past it. The goal of its recovery is not to let go, but to gain wisdom from the experience and learn to move in it with grace. Our losses do not need to define us, but they are the building blocks upon which our lives climb higher, our understanding grows deeper, and our compassion expands. Grief strikes us all as surely as death will call us home. At this moment, I write for the dozens who have lost loved ones in the fires that rage across California, for the countless who suffer from gun violence, domestic violence, and who sit beside loved ones in hospitals tonight. How can we support these souls in crisis? What can we say when faced with so much sorrow? On this topic I have failed miserably at times. I have nearly lost friendships for not understanding the depth of sorrow and the way to help. From these failures and from the times when I managed to succeed in helping in some small way, this is what I have learned: Create a safe space for your loved one to cry, to say the terrible things on her mind without judgement, to sit in silence. Try to say as little as possible and create a void for your loved one to fill with whatever needs to come out of her broken heart. Resist the impulse to fix her. Nothing you can say will heal the crushing grief of her heart, so do not expect that your wisdom can somehow heal her. Learn to be present with her pain and offer input only when called upon. Send loving energy to her as she speaks with you. Rather than fill the interaction with your ideas and words, fill it with your loving presence. Imagine a brilliant light surrounding her in love and healing rays. Give without expectation of receiving anything. In relationships, we often hold certain expectations of what our loved one will give in return for our love. When we experience loss, it is not a time to keep score. Let go the expectation that your loved one who is grieving can give back to you. As the grief integrates into her life, as she learns to move in it, you will need to create harmony and balance in your friendship anew. She has changed, as have you. Honor the change and discover the soul friend who now sits before you.   Gita Matlock is an author, spiritual teacher, humanitarian, mother, lifelong yogi, and leader at Ananda, a global organization dedicated to sharing light and uplifting consciousness. To follow her work, visit https://gitamatlock.com

2018-11-13T19:03:17-08:00By |

Meditation for Kids: The Antidote to “Screen Time”

Children Can Tap Into Their Inner World and Find a Treasure Trove of Intuition, Happiness, and Peace   Children today are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of media. The average American child consumes a little more than two hours of screen time every. single. day. My kids get limited screen time. I am practical in my idealism and am not a purist about this issue, but it certainly concerns me. I can see their energy plummet after watching something and am often left wondering why I allowed it. In the “old days” TV ads were the family nemesis, transforming children into effective sales reps who used unfair tactics, especially the dramatic super-human-whine to convince their parents. The parents’ best defense was to turn off the boob tube. Alas, this is no longer a viable strategy. Now, media is everywhere, in our purse, our pocket, our car headrest. Ninety-eight percent of American households with children under eight years old have access to a mobile smart device, regardless of income, according to Common Sense Media. If we as parents are addicted; how can our children stand a chance against the lure of the hypnotic blue glow and the endless variety of engrossing entertainment? In an age when media is so pervasive and the numbers of children with depression and ADD/ADHT are skyrocketing, it is essential to provide the antidote to the insanity: meditation. Meditation is the antidote to screen time for many reasons. When we meditate, we use different neural pathways in the brain, which provides a completely different experience. We are able to concentrate, turn off our five senses and discover the more subtle and formative experiences found within. The inner world is a treasure trove of intuition, happiness, peace, and so much more. Unfortunately, it is drowned out by the over stimulation of this culture and time. It is important to introduce meditation with sensitivity and non-attachment to the results. If you want to encourage your children to meditate, the worst thing we can do as parents is impose our well-intentioned desires on them. The best way to get your child curious about meditation is to lead by example. There are many meditation techniques suitable for children. Here are a few of my favorites: Candlelight Meditation Help your child to light a candle and set it in front of her (or him, I just had to pick a pronoun). Invite her to sit up straight with legs crossed (we call it “crisscross apple sauce” at home). Ask her to watch the candle flame with eyes open for at least a few seconds or as long as she can sit calmly. Then, invite her to close her eyes and tell you if she can still see the candle behind her closed eyes. Listen closely to what she describes. Repeat the exercise, opening eyes and watching the candle quietly and then closing the eyes and describing what she sees with eyes closed. You can adapt this for [...]

2018-10-24T15:43:07-07:00By |

Mindfulness Is Just the First Step: How to Change Mental Patterns

A Simple Guide to Developing an Affirmation Practice   I suffer from the mental pattern of spending inordinate amounts of time in thoughts of the future. Not the future thoughts that are helpful for planning your life direction. Instead, I wade through mountains of worries about the uncertainty that is inherent in the unknown future. So I launched into a self initiated “7 Day Now Challenge.” For seven days I wrote “Now” in big bold letters on my hand to remind myself to be present and here is what I learned: 1. There is great power in focusing on something for a finite period of time. Whether it is a 30 day exercise challenge or a 10 day cleanse, creating a bite-size increment of time to develop a new habit has the benefit of making a daunting task attainable. 2. Mindfulness creates a sense of detachment. When we move from being engrossed in our mental chatter to observing it, a sense of ease can move into the space created between the mind and the awareness. This space, this ease, can become a superpower. Enjoy this fabulous explanation video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6T02g5hnT4 3. Observing negative thought patterns does not actually change them. This lesson is revolutionary because it brings to light the innate limitation in mere observation of the mind. 4. To change the negative thought patterns, positive ones must take their place. As Marin Luther King declared so beautifully, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” When we want to affect change in ourselves and in this world, we must invite the light. Replace negative thought patterns with positive ones. This is the practice of affirmations. Satirized by Stewart Smiley on SNL decades ago, positive affirmations are actually a profound practice. Here is a simple guide to developing an affirmation practice: 1. Create an affirmation for yourself. Look at the negative thought pattern you wish to change and turn it upside down. Write a positive statement that is brief, memorable, and in the present tense. For instance, I took this recurring thought, “What if I never achieve anything?” and turned it into this affirmation, “Success is mine. Divine Mother guides my life.” 2. Write your affirmation down and place it around your home. 3. Bring your affirmation into your meditation. At the end of your daily meditation practice, repeat your affirmation three times mentally, or even audibly. If you do not meditate daily, find a quiet moment each day to say your affirmation. In the bathroom, in the kitchen, in your closet, any moment of solitude will do fine for repeating your affirmation. Here are a few of my favorite books filled with ready-made affirmations: Affirmations for Self-healing by Swami Kriyananda Finding Happiness Day-By-Day by Swami Kriyananda Whispers From Eternity by Paramhansa Yogananda https://gitamatlock.com

2018-10-19T11:43:15-07:00By |