Being that May is Mental Health Awareness month, I found it fitting to write about how to quiet your mind. It is said that we process more than 60,000 thoughts a day with more than 90% of them being repetitive. After reading a book that has expanded my awareness, I have to share my biggest takeaways with you so that you can also learn how to quiet your mind.
I recently read a book that has shifted my consciousness. I’m always looking for books that expand the way I view life and this book did just that. In this post I’m going to be sharing concepts from the book, “Quiet Mind Epic Life” by Matthew Ferry. Ferry is a Master Life Coach and Spiritual Teacher who has coached top performing people for over 20 years. Continue reading to discover the takeaways from his book that will help you quiet your mind too.
You are not your thoughts
Ferry teaches that you are not your thoughts. You don’t have “control” over your mind. So when you release those beliefs, things can begin to change. “You are the one listening to the talking in your head. You are NOT the one doing the talking.” By adopting this belief that you are simply the witness to your thoughts, you can begin to release the pressure of trying to change them (and the self judgment of having the same negative thoughts replaying in your head).
The way he explained it is by speaking about the human body. Think about it, your body functions on its own without your input. It breathes, digests food, heals on its own, etc. That’s exactly how Ferry wants you to think about your mind. Your mind is part of your biology too. So next time you want to revert back to changing the way you think, take a step back and remember that your mind is doing its thing, separate from you.
Seeing the mind as a survival mechanism
Going along with the previous takeaway, Ferry explains how the mind is wired for survival. This helped back in the day when we needed to literally stay alive in the wild. The circumstances of humanity have advanced but unfortunately, our minds still work the same. Your mind is simply trying to keep you safe. It doesn’t know the difference between being in literal danger of getting attacked or, say, speaking in front of a group of people without messing up.
Because the mind simply wants to keep you safe, it talks you out of trying new things. It convinces you to keep doing the familiar comfortable thing instead of taking action on things that matter to you. It distracts you from your pursuits in order to keep you from experiencing “threatening” feelings. Some of the feelings it wants to protect you from are the following: fear, worry, anxiety, doubt, agony, loneliness, humiliation and defeat just to name a few. Developing a sense of awareness to all this is key when learning how to quiet your mind.
Hidden motives to survive
Now that you are familiar with the mind acting out of survival, here are some of the hidden motives to survive. Before I share them with you though, Ferry explained how these motives have been programmed into human consciousness for millennia. Again, they worked back when humanity’s circumstances were different but now they hold us back. Some of the hidden motives to survive are the following: greed, victim, humble, pride, and laziness. So for example, the motive of greed shows up when you start feeling lack, believing that there won’t be enough to go around. (And especially when you start to believe that there isn’t enough for you).
Ferry goes on to share that these motives are what drive 90% of our decisions. All of the choices you’ve made throughout your life have been affected by a hidden motive to survive. He also states that you have one that is more prevalent than the rest in your life. (I think mine is humble which he defines as “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. Making yourself less than.”)
After learning about the way the mind operates, Ferry explains how to reframe or “recontextualize” your thoughts. He defines recontextualization as “the skill of describing conditions and circumstances in a way that creates an empowering reality for you.” It helps to realize that life is what you say it is. It also truly helps when you realize that we place labels on everything. “The mind labels on autopilot and then lives like the labels are what life is.” For example, you may have had a negative experience with a dog when you were little and now you’ve continued believing that all dogs are the same.
My favorite part of the book was when Ferry shared a bunch of recontextualization statements that he tested on different people for over two decades using applied kinesiology. Applied kinesiology is a form of muscle testing that shows what strengthens the body. He kept reminding us that the statements that tested strong don’t mean they are true. They simply make the human body strong.
The following statements tested strong:
- Human beings choose to come to Earth
- The purpose of a soul incarnating on Earth as a human being is to have an experience
- Human beings choose their geographical location on Earth before they are born
- Human beings choose their parents before they are born
- The soul arranges a select few negative experiences before incarnating as a human being on Earth
- The vast majority of souls that incarnate as a human on Earth have a dominant desire for negative experiences
The following statements tested weak:
- People only have one human lifetime, and that’s the end of their existence.
- Human beings do not choose anything regarding their birth
- A soul incarnates on Earth in a human body to learn lessons
- The world needs to be saved
- People need to be healed
- A human being’s death is completely random
Honestly by reading those statements (there’s many more in the book), it alleviated my mind alone. When I faced a challenging moment one day and my mind began spiraling, I paused and chose to simply view the moment without judgements. I felt the feelings that came up and then wondered if this was something my soul possibly selected before I was born.
That’s how this book can help you too. It can help you quiet your mind. By raising your awareness and practicing observing your thoughts first and foremost, you’ll begin to distinguish if they are helpful or not. It helps to question them after. Is it true? Where did this thought come from? What do I want? etc. Then ask which hidden motive to survive that specific thought falls under. And finally create a new context for yourself. You are capable of experiencing more peace for yourself.
One final thought I have on how to quiet your mind is to remember that everyone is simply doing the best they can with what they know. Everyone has their own conditioning and stories they have learned throughout their life experience. “No one signed up for your accountability program” as Ferry reminds us. The way you view life does not determine it as true for everyone else. Another quick final thought it to be kind to yourself!
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