Although our body is constantly transforming and renewing itself, our minds have a tendency to stay stuck in repetitive thought patterns, like grooves carved out in the brain, or samskaras, as they're called in yogic texts.
Often, these thoughts are self-defeating, negative, or anxiety-producing. For many, this becomes the mind's “default” setting which then sets the stage for chronic, psychosomatic conditions to creep in--such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), low back pain, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Toxic thinking also hugely impacts our personal relationships and the ability to achieve our goals.
So how do we get out of default mode?
Start by becoming aware. Notice your thoughts as soon as they arise, especially the emotionally-charged ones. You’ll start to see patterns and situations that trigger these thoughts. Don’t analyze or judge, just observe.
An example of observing a thought would be to think to yourself, “I'm having a thought that I’m not good enough,” or “I'm having a thought that I shouldn't have to go through this."
Then immediately come back to the here and now—feel your breath as it flows in and out of your body, feel the inner energy field of your body. (you know innately how to do this—don’t overthink it!)
Stay here for ten breaths. If you can't do ten, start with five. That’s it.
By doing this, you’re getting back in touch with the body’s intelligence--that same intelligence that regenerates and renews you automatically.
Over time, you'll begin to notice that a large portion of your thoughts are conditioned responses to stimuli, nothing more. They are not grounded in reality. This knowledge will come to you on its own if you stick with the practice. And the practice can literally change your life. Those negative samskaras will begin to shift, slowly but surely.
And you can finally get out of your own way.
Try it. As many times as you can, every day.
I will too.