the power of the mind
March 21, 2018 By Billy
I’d like to share with you the ‘Power of the Mind’ chapter from my book, ‘Infinity Health Manual‘. For me, it’s the content that really is the most valuable. Let me share why…
First, it’s interesting to contemplate that among the greatest reasons for keeping your body healthy is to best take care of your brain. In turn, your healthy brain reciprocates by taking better care of your body. It’s the brain that tells the body how to function and tells the organs what to do. The neurological system truly is a core of our health. All that I talk about in the ‘Infinity Health Manual’ is correlated with the idea that everything works better with a healthy neurological system.
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And let’s also consider that a healthy neurological system supports a healthy mind, naturally including a greater sense of peace and happiness, among other things such as our memory and mental acuity. It makes us nicer, too! And better able to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Essentially, the brain is the seat of the mind—your very self. Let a strong, healthy mind be a motivating factor behind keeping a healthy body. Sturdy connection between these internal facets is an invaluable perspective to bear in mind.
As for what defines a healthy mind, let me say that I’m presenting my thoughts here with a lot of humility. I don’t pretend to have all of life’s answers. I see my perspective on life and the universe as just a tiny drop of water in an endless ocean of knowledge. There are many brilliant philosophical minds that have pondered the mysteries of life going back thousands of years. Yours included! No question you have a unique message about reality, making you an irreplaceable wealth of knowledge.
For me, it was when I was in the midst of my brain condition, which I explain in the Introduction of the Infinity Health Manual. During this time I found myself contemplating life, and what’s behind it, as never before. Nothing focuses the mind quite like the sudden realization of life’s brevity. There was one specific year within my healing journey in which I struggled especially hard with my condition. Significant bleeding in my brain caused many more seizures. Even the entire left side of my body would go numb. The whole experience dramatically shifted my attention. Mostly, it shifted my attention away from all the smaller day-to-day worries like work, money, running errands, where I needed to be, etc. In a sense, my condition was, ironically, stress-reducing!
Breathing and Meditation
During this period, I spent much more of my time outdoors in stillness and quiet. One thing that played an especially large role for me with gaining a deeper peace of mind was the practice of improving my breathing. The extraordinary healing and restorative powers of oxygen can be easy to forget. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. It’s something we all instinctively know, yet underestimate. I highly recommend taking some time each day, preferably early, to sit quietly and practice your breathing. Make it a part of your daily lifestyle. Purposeful breathing has the effect of training your body to breathe correctly, even in times of stress. Under stress, breathing becomes relatively shallow. Nevertheless, your brain is like a muscle, with muscle memory. Practice on a daily basis and your brain will respond. You’ll breathe better all day long, helping you maintain a more peaceful, less-stressful frame of mind—and stronger body, too. And let’s look at it from a purely physiological standpoint. Oxygen is the most essential life-support we know. We can go for days without water. Without food, a few weeks. Without oxygen, we can only go for a minute or two. Upping our intake of this vital element has an influence on our health and life-force unlike anything else. Deep breathing has even been proven to lower blood pressure! That’s a big deal and very much worth our attention. (It’s interesting to ponder the idea that the subtler things in life like the air we breathe, things that can’t be seen, heard, or felt, are yet among the most profound. I take this as a brilliant message from the universe.)
A tip to significantly increase effectiveness of this practice: relax your lower abdomen and gently let it expand out as you inhale— we’re talking the belly rather than the chest. Then fill your chest after your belly. Think of it as filling your lungs from the bottom up. This is commonly referred to as diaphragmatic breathing. You can actually increase the volume of your lung space by fifty percent with this simple technique! And now you’re using your diaphragm to breathe, like the body naturally did before the commonality of modern day stress.
During this practice breathe through your nose. This by nature is the body’s preferred way to breathe. The nasal pathway filters and balances the moisture of the air, optimizing it for maximum absorption in the lungs. Note: if your nose is often blocked, then lay off wheat and dairy for a couple weeks. Try to keep your living environment as low-dust as possible. If this doesn’t help then get an allergy test. And experiment with a neti-pot which has proven to be an effective remedy in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia. As for the pace of your breath, relax and let your body breathe at the rate it wishes. This is part of your body’s wisdom and you can trust it. There are many breathing exercises which can offer great meditative value, but this is the one that really does the trick for training the body and is beneficial for anyone to practice. This is essentially going straight to the finish line and breathing exactly the way the body is meant to.
Take note of how you’re breathing right now, and give this a shot for just a minute. In doing this, you’ll not only be saturating your bloodstream with valuable oxygen, you’ll be mobilizing stale blood from organs and expelling built-up carbon dioxide from the body. You’ll also be retraining yourself for proper breathing, resynchronizing this vital process. You’ll end up breathing more oxygen throughout the day, making this one of the best things you can do for yourself. And it’s one that’s easy to get into the habit of doing. For me, it’s become a very joyous part of my day. I suggest devoting at least ten minutes daily to this practice.
The setting with this plays a significant role. Create a quiet environment free of stimulation, although some soft background music is okay. Just be sure it’s up-lifting. I almost always couple this practice with time outdoors, typically early in the morning. Nature is a powerful force for the mind. Sit tall and hold your spine erect. Seated in a chair is fine but on the ground is better. Sitting on a cushion so your pelvis is higher off the ground than the knees will be helpful for maintaining a good posture. If sitting this way feels uncomfortable, try it for a few days and it will quickly feel more natural. After all, this is the way we were born to sit. As for what to think about, that’s up to you, but the aim is to keep it positive. Even better is to allow the mind to relax and be still. This happens naturally when focusing on abdominal breathing.
Remember in the chapter about digestion I explained how the majority of the body’s serotonin resides in the gut. It’s the reason that the notion of “using your gut instinct” has some legitimate truth to it and is also why this practice is largely about tuning in to a different layer of our consciousness from the thinking mind. I do believe this strengthens the intuitive senses, such as when to go right and when to go left. The value of this is tremendous. Focusing on your breath is part of what helps you get ‘there’.(We’ll delve further into this topic in my next book, ‘Be your Healer’.)
A gentle smile throughout this practice helps enrich the mood of the experience. You may not have moments of ecstatic revelation (although you may!), but you will be training your mind and body to become better fit to receive positive inspiration throughout the day. I’ve taken to keeping a journal for thoughts that come to me through my quiet moments. Occasionally I read through old journals, and often I’m surprised by the valuable content I had written even years before. It seems to help make such material more familiar in my everyday thought.
During times of practiced stillness, I work to contemplate the things I’m grateful for. Gratitude is a practice of rewriting a better script in the consciousness. I liken gratitude to a breeze on a flame inside us. In my daily journal I record at least two things that I am feeling grateful for. I recommend doing this. It’s a proven means of making us happier. I also see it as a way of clearing the cobwebs to connect with a more steadfast sense of appreciation that life is truly brilliant. And like everything else, a feeling of gratitude is something that can become stronger, especially when making it part of a daily practice.
There’s another meditative technique of simply standing tall. All it involves is standing with your feet at shoulder width, spine erect, shoulders back, and chin up with your gaze fixed on the horizon. And, as with a sitting meditation, wear a light smile. Your hands can be positioned however you prefer, but I like placing my hands on my hips. It’s somewhat of a “superhero” posture. Let’s call it “the poise of power.” If this stance doesn’t match your mood then it’s a good reason to do it. It’s essentially taking the concept of “fake it till you make it” up a level to “practice it till you become it.” Modern psychology has proven that the body performs as a compass for the mind. From a metaphysical sense, healthful postures can serve as an antenna for the mind. This is part of the philosophy behind yoga. The word yoga means “unify.” Ancient yoga came from the philosophy that holding specific postures opens the way for the consciousness to connect with and receive divine energies. And such influences as lengthening of hamstrings were, to the yogis, just side-effects, as great as they are.
As part of your meditative practice, I feel the need to emphasize once again the benefit of spending at least some of this time in beautiful places outdoors, the setting being a significant element for our state of mind. Mountains, oceans, canyons, and sunsets. They’re restorative for the consciousness. They can support us in ways nothing else can. If you live in an urban environment, make time for a weekend drive out into the country to enjoy the natural elements. And visit your local park. Often!… Take a blanket, your journal, and a thermos of chai, known for millennia to be an ancient elixir of the soul. It’s restorative for the human spirit, and is, in my opinion, among the best therapies, especially with that hot drink in hand.
Make some time in your life for the meditative moments of quiet. I’m confident you will gain something from it. Our minds weren’t designed to spend their time caught up in today’s busy world. In a culture of unhealthy products and entertainment, it’s a challenge to not fall victim to the spells of mass-distraction that modern media can put upon us. For the sake of protecting our consciousness from weakening stimulation, let’s steer clear of the propaganda that brings us down or lures us into anything unhealthy. Rather, let’s dedicate some time each day to non-stimulation and self-reflection. In the stillness, there’s a special magic to be found that cleanses the mind and resets our attraction toward the better things in life.
A Larger Perspective
I believe that deep in the mind we all have an intuitive knowing that there’s an unwavering excellence to the universe and our place in it. We can see perfection from the micro scale of the atom, up to the grand cosmic scale of the stars and galaxies. I see us as the link where the two meet. We’re a part of it. We’re in this universe, and this universe is in us. Today, the thread of perfection inside us can often be easy to forget, making a good reason for taking the time to step back and quietly contemplate our place in the cosmos. I’ve found that working to maintain this perspective gives a sense of being connected with a greater source of life. Why not call it a metaphysical sense?
Naturally, the question arises: could there be a consciousness behind it all? An invisible hand involved with everything that we do? A God? This is something that I approach with deep humility. In the past, my faith has wavered as my boat has been rocked over the years. It’s a question that I pray about daily. My wish with all of this is very much to have a clearer sense of a Great Spirit. What a wonderful path of discovery to be on together.
Of course if you feel called, choose a spiritual practice—yoga, qigong, shamanism, or a religion— something that resonates with your soul, and go deep with it. Honestly, I’m partially reluctant to be emphasize religion since many of them argue with each other, the irony being that they are all trying to get to the same place. But any religion that influences its people to become nicer and more understanding toward everyone, regardless of ethnicity or religion, has my deepest appreciation. The main criteria to search for are finding a path that reveals to you a deeper sense of your strength and joy, and a genuine wish for the same in others.
Nevertheless, I believe that already we ourselves have undiscovered metaphysical powers, some that can override the seeming limitations of the physical world. We are so much more than seemingly limited minds and bodies. The fabric of reality has proven to be malleable depending on the activity behind the eyes of the beholder. I work to view life in the context of participation with the unlimited. The fact is, we are derivatives of an imperishable universe of limitless possibility. Faith within this frame of thought can be an antidote for developing a deeper sense of faith in ourselves. It can be a means of dissipating the veils of self-doubt and fear, making us better able to see our lives rich with capability and magic. This sense is the part of ourselves that is also able to help us during times of fear, grieving, heartbreak, illness, pain, and other trials in life. This is not to say we can bandage all of life’s problems with light. Nor is it always easy to find these powers in ourselves. For me, a sense of this selfhood can become out of reach during the toughest moments. This is where the love from friends and family can demonstrate its healing powers. For the same reason, we’re here for our friends and family. But also deep inside there is a place we can be held in repose that can carry us along the journey of healing and restoration. The view that I work to maintain during these periods of feeling stretched and cracked, is that ripples from the challenge travel out to then be received down the road in life as accumulated wisdom and power. It’s then that our problems become relatively smaller as our strength becomes greater.
The Greatest Element
The programming of the heart knows the greatest treasure in life to be love. It’s the iridescent diamond of the Universe—all the way from true romance to the love for family and friends. After all, it’s from where we all have come. Extending love toward others (strangers included), through acts and words of kindness is what makes us happier and stronger. It makes those others happier and stronger, too. Loving affection is an unparalleled remedy for both the giver and receiver. More love in our community can begin with us. Improving our cultivation of genuine, non-egotist love is a lifelong journey we are all on together. Have faith in yourself that you can and will walk this path. Love’s extraordinary powers make it the ultimate medicine for the human spirit of which you are a vital part. I believe that there will be a day when the willfulness to harm will be wiped away from our planet by this very force, including every bullet to battleship, to make way for greater expression of our enlightened nature. I dare say this time is not distant. May the world come home to this place in its consciousness. Our genes are programmed to know that kindness unveils a magical very special joy unlike anything else.
Carrying forward in our day-to-day lives from the perspective of service and looking out for one another brings a sense of satisfaction unlike anything else. Also within this frame of thought comes a refined sense of our unique abilities of how to make the world a better place, as well as the powers around us from which we are becoming more fit to receive. Essentially, the universe is looking to express its power and intelligence by means of you. And you are one of a kind that can support humanity in ways that no one else can.
While we’re on this subject, think about just who it is you’re spending your time with. Do they make you happy or bring you down? And are you making them happy? Cultivate a lifestyle that for much of the time surrounds yourself with positive people you truly enjoy. But have patience with others that you come across in life that aren’t quite there. Remember that we all get stressed out from time to time and if you find yourself on the receiving end of someone’s negativity, it might just be that they’re having a bad hair day. Do your best to not take it personally. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Let that be you.
Remedy of Forgiveness
This is an act of kindness that helps you as much as the person you need to forgive. We’ve all experienced grudges to be profoundly unhealthy. Thankfully, we’re built with the capacity to forgive. It’s the expertise of the heart. And hey, don’t forget to forgive yourself, too. It’s not healthy to go around being your own worst critic. How we think about ourselves and life on earth is equally, if not more, important than diet (the good news is the two work hand in hand).
This brings up the topic of self-esteem. We all have our challenging periods of criticizing our own weaknesses. But negative thoughts about ourselves do not have to loom over our consciousness. Viewing thoughts of self-criticism and worry as passing clouds is a practice. A reality to be considered is that it’s the weak places in us that are also where we have the greatest potential to grow. The big questions to ask ourselves are: “What are my strengths?” (Having trouble of thinking of any? Ask a friend.) And “How can my strengths support the weaknesses?” The answers to these questions can help clear the way for a new view of your previously underestimated positive qualities. And here is another concept to practice—choose to make happiness a cause in life rather than waiting for it as an effect. The idea is to view happiness as a substance rather than a state of mind that comes and goes. Taking ownership of peace, joy, wisdom, and power is a natural ability of the human spirit and is something I work for every day.
I also work to remember that periods of feeling weak or down are only temporary, and the growing that takes place throughout these times has the potential to yield a tremendous esteem-building sense of achievement. It’s the nature of personal growth—a course of action that never ends. Building self-esteem and casting aside shame and similar types of stagnation is a life journey we are all on together. Thankfully, for all of us, the feeble myth of an undeserved guilt is a dying paradigm. Rather we are living a way of life dedicated to clearing the cobwebs and establishing a stronger identity with a steadfast sense of joy to be a more permanent trait of our consciousness, rather than a temporary state of the mind—both for our own wellbeing as well as for the wellbeing of those whom we influence. Lastly, I can assure you that incorporating the everyday healthful lifestyle information that I discuss throughout the Infinity Health Manual plays a tremendous role in how we feel about ourselves, our joy, and our mental wellbeing, and our overall sense of success. And vice-versa! A healthy mind supports living a more intelligible way of life. The wellbeing between mind and body is a brilliant synergy and will only come to be more impressive.
Awe is a state of mind that can have great value when maintained in daily thought. Marveling at the expanse of reality, the universe, and our place in it can provide a powerful state of mind, and there are ways to stir it up. One of my favorite ways is to ponder, especially outside at night while gazing at the stars, the unimaginable vastness of the universe. Consider that the nearest star, Proximus Centauri, is four light-years away. This means that it takes four years for light from this star to reach us. And light travels at 700 million miles per hour. Here’s a mathematical way to put that into perspective (and to me this one never gets old): the fastest humans have ever traveled is 25,000 miles per hour in a space shuttle entering our atmosphere…. That’s fast! If we were to travel that fast towards Proximus Centauri, it would take 112,000 years to get there. Now think about this: the farthest stars we’ve identified are over fifty million light years away! Want more to ponder? Think of what’s beyond those stars. Now compare such miracles of reality to our very selves. Fundamentally we are time-traveling emanations from the beginning of the universe, alive and infused with majesty, order, and intelligence. Awe—I consider it an invaluable state of mind that we can readily stir into action. It’s a capacity that arouses receptors in our consciousness for the mystical and magical. And it’s to be discovered by you.
The Magic of Dance
On the quest to connect with ourselves, the universe, and the moment, there’s a tried and true practice that goes back to the ancients: dance. Dance is a significant part of cultures all around the world, from the distant reaches, going back many thousands of years. To these cultures, dance was, and is, an invaluable part of life. It’s in the human genes,… yours included, whether you know it or not.
In much of the Western world, the scope of dance has become narrow and limited with the theme often being of noisy, unnatural nightclubs and bars. Even music festivals—lined with booths doling out burgers, processed sugar, and alcohol—aren’t exactly nurturing, relative to what’s possible. But there’s a revival of late towards more meaningful dance—dance that takes place in outdoor settings in untainted, natural, beautiful environments, within a real sense of community, much like it was for millennia.
I’d like to share that I’m a part of this new-old tradition. I’ve become involved in StarTribe (www.StarTribe.org), an organization that provides very special outdoor dance gatherings in northern New Mexico. These events have become quite an attraction. The setting is amazing and a big part of the experience high on a desert mesa, next to the Rio Grande Gorge and in view of the southern Rocky Mountains. Thousands of people have participated in these events, and for the real spirit of dance. There’s something especially moving and powerful about an entire community of people coming together to participate, and you are warmly invited!
Attendees often report feeling a sense of deeper awareness, a clearer view of who they are, a special joy, and a feeling of that awe. I view dance as a martial art of the consciousness, as it has unquestionably helped defend my mind from stress and negativity. It’s certainly a mood elevator. In a metaphysical sense, dance is participation with harmony in the Universe. Maybe this is why civilizations all over the world have dance as part of their culture. It’s ancient and its benefit is proven. Plus dance is exercise! Ecstatic movement gets the heart rate up for sure. I’ve made dance a significant part of my life and I can’t recommend it highly enough. After all, since we were children, we’ve been singing the “hokie-pokie” is “what’s it all about.” Wisdom sometimes has creative ways of making itself known.
Humor is a medicine. Learn to laugh—especially at yourself. Remember to use the gift of humor in your everyday life. The work is to maintain a thread of humor somewhere in your thought. Use it in your dialog with the intention to lift up the atmosphere around you. And like everything else you practice, your ability to do so will become stronger.
Studies show that people who have pets live longer! They provide a sense of purpose. And even more. When it comes to unconditional love and forgiveness, my golden retriever, Arbear has been among my few greatest teachers. And dogs in particular give you one more reason to go for a walk, which for you equals more exercise and sunshine!
Neatness is an important part of maintaining a healthy mind. I’ve found that un-cluttering my mind and creating a sense of clarity sometimes starts with un-cluttering my home. To a degree, they are intertwined. And I like to add simple things around the house that emphasize positive energy. I have a number of small picture frames visible throughout my living space with little nuggets of wisdom and mini-prayers. The classic, “Be still and listen” is one that I have sitting on my kitchen counter. “I am a master of my consciousness,” “You are wonderful,” “Gratitude works magic,” and “Your life is a treasure,” are a few more examples. Get creative and write your own. Little reminders such as these will have great value. And flowers! Studies have proven that flowers can have a physiological influence on the nervous system due to pigments that are unique to a real flower only. These are colors that cannot be fully replicated to have the same effect as the flower itself. We all know the mood enhancing nature of flowers. The fact is, flowers help improve our mental and emotional health. I love contemplating the possible reasons behind it. I suggest always having them in your home.
Stress is commonly thought of as the boss riding us hard to meet deadlines. But stress is essentially anything that puts strain on the mind or body. This includes many things such as lack of sleep, anxiety, poor diet, anger, sadness, and guilt—essentially anything that makes the mind or body feel less at ease. The reality is that this is all naturally part of life to a degree.
Stress releases hormones that, short term, aren’t such a big deal, as the body knows how to remedy this. But on a regular basis they create as much wear and tear as junk food. And ultimately stress can make the mind and body weaker. In general, stress is proven to be the primary source of all illness. Prevention of illness is what I talk about in the chapter about Healing. I talk about how the first thing stress weakens is the immune system, the body’s capability of restoring itself. Removing stress so the neurological and immune system can function better is what we’re going for.
The idea is how we handle stress, like taking action to remove the common stressful circumstances that come up in our daily life. Another vitally important part of reducing the effects of stress is exercise, and more than most people realize. Here’s why: stress produces adrenaline. Adrenaline unused leaves the body weaker and the mind irritable and more vulnerable to low moods. So the idea is to “exorcise” the adrenaline, booting it out of the body to leave everything stronger at the end, including your natural ability to cope with stress in the future. This is what makes exercise an essential thing for a long life of true well-being. We talk all about this in my chapter on Exercise. The big picture here is to live a life that reduces the stressors and incorporates restorative anti-stress elements such as a healthy diet, time in the outdoors, exercise, esteem-building activities, and spending time with joyous companions. A positive shift of perspective comes with it. The sense of burden of navigating through the daily ‘to-do’s’ will naturally lighten as the mind becomes stronger.
As we talked about, the mind and the body go hand in hand. A happy body supports a happy mind. Take care of your body so that it can better take care of your mind, and take care of your mind so that it can better take care of your body. You’ll be a healthier, happier person. Start thinking of success and prosperity in life in terms of a healthy mind and body. I know we don’t like to think of our psychological health being limited by the quality of our lifestyle, but it can be. Do I necessarily think you need to eat healthy to be successful? No. But the mind and body are deeply connected and will empower one another if you make way for it. Besides, soda and fast food weren’t around during the days of the ancient mystics and leaders. I’m curious what they would have to say about it, although I have a hunch.
Bottom line: enhanced well-being will be reflected in all facets of your life—energy, longevity, memory, relationships, stress management, general happiness, and more. Let this motivate the full realization of your potential. And what potential is that? Well, when it comes to the power of the mind, the potential is still being uncovered. This is a big question, worthy of contemplation, and imagination too. How about we really ponder it together. What’s behind our eyes really is a whole universe. And in merely scratching the surface of the inside universe, science can’t say exactly what is possible and what the limits might be. Bars are lifted every day as we reveal new intelligence and innate abilities that are discovered within us. Let’s call it a responsibility, meaning responding by fulfilling a way of life relative to what we know will reveal our greatest yet to be. I sense, as you probably do, that collectively, the momentum is building. It’s a journey greatly magnified because of the simple reason that we’re in this together. Could a new era be born? Could we be on the brink of overriding the notion of impossibility? Let’s nurture ourselves (and inspire those around us to do the same) to become great thinkers with ever-strengthening hearts, and use our superhuman (hero) powers to see just where we can steer this mighty earth-ship – with the Great Spirit filling our sails!
Thank you so much for reading the ‘Power of the Mind’ chapter from the Infinity Health Manual!
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Yours truly and at your service always,
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