It’s Lupe. You know, the lone-wolf in The Labyrinth. Okay, maybe I’m not a total loner, but I don’t always love hanging out with a lot of people. I’ve got a few great friends, and that works for me. I also have a big family and my siblings can drive me a little crazy, so I need my alone time. When I’m by myself I can listen to my thoughts better.
Have you ever noticed your thoughts inside your mind? You know, like really paid attention to them? Sometimes they can feel like they’re racing through your head at lightning speed, especially when you don’t want them to. Say, for example, you’re trying to take a test and your brain feels like its full of mice running around frantically trying to get through a maze. One mice is thinking, “Help, I’m lost!” Another mice is squeaking, “I’m so stupid, I’m never going to figure this out!” While another one is worrying, “Am I doing this right? Is this the right direction? Wait, maybe it’s this way!”
It can get pretty crowded in your mind, especially when you are stressed out or trying to do too many things at once. That’s where mindfulness comes in as a tool to help you in life. When you are aware of your mind’s thoughts, you can stop allowing them to control you. Shesha talks about quieting the mind through meditation in The Labyrinth, and Aponi shows you how to still the mind to connect to your intuition, but it’s also beneficial to learn how to be in the present moment — wherever you are — with your thoughts.
When your mind is going in a million different directions, it’s not easy to be truly present in the moment. Sometimes we’re thinking about something that’s happened in the past, and maybe we’re also thinking about what might happen in the future. Like, for example, if you’re taking that test your mind might be thinking, “I’ve failed tests before. Remember that math test last week? What if I go to school tomorrow and discover I’ve failed this test? What will my parents say? What will my friends think of me? What if I don’t get into college if I don’t do well on this test?” All of these thoughts are either about the past or the future. Clearing the clutter of these thoughts can help you focus on the present moment.
More often than not, all that mental worry is for nothing. When the mind is clear and focused it is easier to accomplish the tasks of the present moment.
Mindfulness is not just about having a full mind vs. a present mind, it is also about being “mindful” of your actions, words, and thoughts and how they may impact you, other people, and the world around you. For example, it really bugs me when people don’t recycle and buy a lot of stuff they don’t need. It also bothers me when “friends” trash talk about each other.
Just as a careless toss of a candy wrapper out the window can harm an animal who tries to eat it, and pollutes this planet we all share, an unkind word can reach the ears of a person and hurt his or her feelings. Even the words we tell ourselves can cause harm. Think about how you feel when you say these words inside of your head, “I am stupid.” Then, try thinking these words instead, “I am brilliant in my own unique way.” The last statement should make you feel much better about yourself than the other. Being mindful of your actions, words, and thoughts makes your inner and outer world more pleasant places to live in. It’s pretty simple, when you think about it.
P.S. Drop me a note if you have some thoughts or ideas you’d like to share. If you’re under the age of 18, please write your letter with your parent of caregiver. If you have a really great question or comment that I think could help others, I’ll share it in the Warriors of Light newsletter.