I love gardening, working the soil, planting tiny seeds and watching them grow. A few weeks ago, while pulling crab from kale, I found myself thinking about my clients and their concerns about bone health. I became fascinated thinking about the extent to which mental and emotional stress robs us of both happiness and bone health. Entertaining this thought, a “Garden-life” The metaphor came to mind. The metaphor was simple and applies to backyards as well as mental landscapes. The metaphor is, “Nourish the desired and eliminate the unwanted.”
Two weeks later, after attending Acharya Shunya’s animation ceremony. Taller roars like a goddess, I was inspired to write these 6 tips to weed your mental garden. They are simple “Acharya Shunya-inspired” self-awareness practices that you and I can employ to create inner peace and a mind that works for us, not against us. (In case you haven’t heard of her work yet, Acharya Shunya is a prominent spiritual leader of our time, a best-selling author, Vedic scholar, and the first female guardian of a 2,000-year-old lineage of Vedic wisdom. I had the great fortune of recently interviewing her at the Omega Institute. You can learn more about her work and how you can enjoy this wisdom-filled video interview at the end of this blog).
Here’s how the story goes and here are her 6 empowering tips to create the bone strength and destiny you want:
Every spring, six of my friends and I plant a beautiful garden in the backyard. While none of us are expert gardeners, we enjoy watching life blossom and thinking of ways to nourish this new life with fertilizer, water, sunlight, and our love. We also keep an eye on weeds, as unwanted visitors could easily take over the entire garden if not kept at bay. The more we take care of our garden, the more beautiful and fruitful it becomes.
The metaphor of life in the garden
What I realized was that in our minds we plant “seeds” with every thought, every belief, every desire and intention. These “seeds” can be positive, life-sustaining thoughts that contain an energy of appreciation, happiness, contentment, or even love. Or the thought may contain an energy of negativity, guilt, anger, worry, and even fear. In our mental landscape we fertilize these “thought seeds” through the attention we give them. Whether we are aware of it or not, what we put our attention on becomes stronger in our daily lives and in our mental garden.
Just as we produce a more abundant and beautiful garden by limiting weeds, with awareness we can control the unwanted “mental weeds” that take up space and transmit their vibration throughout our mental landscape.
And what exactly are “mental weeds”?
“Mental weeds” are repeated thoughts and beliefs that invade and disturb the natural feelings of tranquility, peace and happiness in our mental landscape. These weeds are voluntary, negative, disruptive mental pop-ups that include anxiety, doubt, anger, worry, and fear. It is well documented that the mental and emotional negativity of these “thought weeds” is a contributing factor to many chronic degenerative diseases, including osteoporosis (as detailed in the Best Bone Solution Course and my blog, How bone responds to danger).
This mind-body-bone connection is well established. The Bible, for example, states that “A cheerful heart is a good remedy, but a sad spirit dries up the bones.(Proverbs 17:22) Even more amazing is the 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic wisdom that Acharya shared with me. In our discussion, she mentioned that Another word for “health” in ancient Vedic texts was “happiness.” The culmination of all this was at the end of our interview when Acharya Shunya applauded me for detecting that bone-damaging worry and fear. She recounted the fact that ancient Vedic texts mention that Bone is the strongest material in the body, the strongest, but the only thing that can erode it is negativity. Thinking about those pearls of wisdom fueled my motivation to level up my mental and emotional gardening!
6 tips to weed your mental garden
Inspired by the Vedic scholar, Acharya Shunya
- Take inventory of your thoughts.
- Experiment with paying attention to a thought and notice the “feeling” of the thought. Was the thought associated with a feeling of well-being or even satisfaction? Or were you critical of others or yourself? Was it demeaning to you or anyone else? Was it a good feeling?
- Ask yourself, “Is this a thought or belief that I want to carry forward and let influence my daily life?” Or can I let this article go?
- Be aware, remind yourself, that the thoughts you repeat over and over again become the strongest weed.
- Do some mental cleaning.
- Remember, you are not your thoughts. You witness your mental wanderings.
- With practice you can create a small distance between you and your thoughts.
- You can become a witness to your thoughts. You can realize yourself as the consciousness behind your thoughts.
- As a witness, you consciously choose which thoughts you want to be strengthened and which thoughts you want to let go.
- Remember once again that what you put your attention on will become stronger in your life.
- Eliminate associated thoughts and feelings that you would rather not have in your life anymore.
- Plus, you don’t need to hold on to every thought – you have plenty to spare.
- In fact, you have about 90 thousand thoughts a day, most of which also passed through your mental landscape yesterday.
- As spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle suggests, it is good practice not to take your thoughts so seriously.
- Meditate on the wisdom of this ancient Vedic observation that Acharya taught me:
- Every action leads to habit.
- Every habit leads to character.
- And the character leads to the destination.
- As she suggests, don’t leave room in your beautiful mind for a single purposeless thought.
- Make your mind your servant, not your master.
- When your mind is confused or overshadowed by worry, stop what you are doing.
- Take several deep breaths into your abdomen and focus your attention on what it feels like to inhale and exhale.
- Creating even a little space between you and your worrying thought calms the mind.
- Then ask yourself, “Can I recognize this thought and the associated feeling and then let it go?”
- Or do I need to do a reality check to verify if what I’m thinking is really so?
- Or is it time to gather my sovereign power and address the situation?
- Be kind and gentle with yourself and others.
- Remember that it is the nature of the mind to move quickly, just as it is the nature of the monkey to jump from branch to branch.
- You can’t control your monkey mind all the time.
- Your sovereign self, however, can witness the thoughts and you realize that you are not your mind.
- You can create a gap between your thoughts and emotions and your deeper self.
- Resting repeatedly in this gap, you then gently sow the seeds of your desires and imagine the mental landscape you desire.
- When you wake up each morning, check your mental/emotional tone..
- Where has your mind wandered during the night? What are your feelings?
- If I wake up cheerful and happy, I thank the great goddess for the restful sleep.
- If I wake up less optimistic, I immediately call on one of my inspiring spiritual teachers, consciously setting a higher vibration.
- You could start by asking yourself what vibrational tone do I want for the day?
- Consciously decide the tone you want to wear throughout the day.
- And then ask, what can I do to move my energy field in that direction?
- The activities to set the tone are many and it’s up to you to choose. Possibilities include meditation, prayer, reading or listening to uplifting speakers, wisdom teachings or sacred scriptures, taking a sunrise walk, yoga on the mat, music, chanting. The tone setting possibilities are endless. Have fun and find out what works best for you.
In closing, let me suggest that this is easier than you think. As Acharya reminded me, the constitution/organization of the physical body takes some time to change; The bone fragility score is not changed overnight. But the constitution/organization of the mind can change in an instant. By changing your mind, you change your life, immediately!
So, let’s all get to it! Do the work, start designing a mind that serves your bones and your greatness! I’ll be there by your side.
Acharya Shunya Website: awake.com
Acharya Shunya’s books:
- Ayurvedic lifestyle wisdom: A complete recipe to optimize your health, prevent disease and live with vitality and joy. Rings true, 2017.
- Sovereign I: Reclaim your inner joy and freedom with the empowering wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Rings true, 2020.
- Roar like a goddess: Every woman’s guide to becoming powerful, prosperous and peaceful without complexes, Rings true, 2022.