Ask the Author: Question & Response
I am a very confused girl. I am in 8th standard. I have many choices but I don’t know which one to choose. I am good at tennis. I have even been chosen for a tournament. But I want to join NCC. All my parents, teachers and friends are confusing me. And this always happens with me. I am not even sure what I will become in the future. Now what should I do?
– Radhika, Chhattisgarh, India
My friend, “a confused girl” is simply the result of a confused mind. At first, the previous statement might sound like bad news, but here, we look to undo the illusionary thinking of mainstream society. If the thinking of mainstream society was actually accurate, wouldn’t this planet and the people on it be more peaceful and happy?
Confusion is not a result of what is happening in the outer world, but a result of how we deal with experiences within our inner world, our minds. This is good news, because if we had to fight against the hundreds of thousands of thoughts and illusions that bother us about the outer world, this world would be a very tiring and difficult place. And it is a tiring and difficult place for those who believe in society’s illusionary thought system.
Within your mind, simply figure out what brings you peace of mind and joy, then expand these thoughts into your everyday experiences. This will bring more peace and clarity to your mind. The more peaceful your mind is, the more peacefully you will interact with the world. Try the following suggestions:
1. Work on yourself first. Buy a journal to write in. Take time during your day to go to your room, close the door, and just breathe, think and write in your journal. If something happened that bothered you, write about the situation, why it bothered you, and how you could have reacted more peacefully to it. When I meet or interact with anyone, even if I perceive a person is acting in an unloving manner, I remind myself: “This is God’s child in front of me.” If I find myself judging someone, I quickly catch myself, and in my mind, I say: “God, you have sent your son or daughter to me. This is your gift to me. Thank you for the gift.” Then, I silently thank the person for his or her participation in my lesson plan. This internal dialog helps bring clarity and peace to my interaction.
2. Understand your choices. Place the thinking of the world aside. The ego will teach you that you have “many choices,” thus confusing and frustrating you. The Godself would remind you that you have two choices in each and every situation: what brings you happiness and peace, and what doesn’t. These are your two choices. In your journal, write down what brings you happiness and peace, and what doesn’t. Steadily, work toward choosing actions and reactions that bring more peace and happiness into your life, and work toward letting go of the actions and reactions that don’t. When you understand that in each and every moment you have two choices, conflict and confusion are reduced.
3. Respect the boundaries that your parents set. Young people, like it or not, need boundaries. Boundaries are a healthy thing to have as you develop and strengthen your heart and mind. Thus listen to your parents. They have your best interests at heart. Be very open, honest and up front with them. Show them that you are trying to behave in a mature manner. Tell them if you’re feeling good or not doing certain activities. If they want you to try something, be mature about it. Try it for a while and see how you truly feel about it. Write down how that activity makes you feel. Truly understand why you like or don’t like the activity. After awhile, if you feel the activity is not for you, explain to your parents that you have really thought about it. Read to them what you have written, and ask them to support you in your decision. Have possible solutions to the issue already written down, and invite them to work with you on creating the best solution. Having an open and honest relationship with your parents, where you show maturity and respect, will help you develop a more positive relationship with them. That, in turn, will bring more peace and clarity into your life.
4. Develop and strengthen your spirit. Develop inner strength. In the USA, there is a saying that I often use internally that asks, “What would Jesus do?” Jesus is a guide I use in my daily decision making. Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, find the self-actualized person, entity or spirit that you have the most respect for, and have him, her or it be your personal guide in helping you make daily decisions. If nothing comes to mind, think about how a spiritually enlightened person might behave in your situation. I sometimes ask myself: “What would Jesus do in this situation?” and “How would Jesus see this person?” Acting and reacting from your highest moral point helps you to have peace with regard to whatever decisions you make.
5. Strengthen your body. Physical activities are very good for you, whether it’s tennis or any other exercise. Try different activities to find out what you like to do. What brings you the most satisfaction and joy? I’m not saying find out what your teachers or friends want you to do. I’m saying find out what you like and want to do. Also, research which foods are good for your body and which are not. Food has more of an effect on your mind and body than you might realize. Analyze how you feel after eating certain foods. Eating healthy foods and exercising helps bring clarity to the mind.
6. Become aware of the true power of forgiveness. Understand that you have the final say on whether you will judge and condemn a brother or sister, imprisoning and carrying them within your mind, or forgiving them and setting yourself free. Pay attention to what happens within you when you choose to judge a brother or sister. Pay attention to how this effort weighs you down as you’re forced to carry these actions within you. In addition, pay attention to what happens within you when you choose to forgive a brother or sister. Notice how it lightens your load and sets you free. No matter what your brothers and sisters do, you have the final say on how you choose to react to their actions. You have the final decision to judge or forgive them. You have the final choice to imprison them within your mind (thus adding confusion and chaos to your life), or forgive them (thus releasing you from carrying the burden and setting yourself and them free).
7. Look to strengthen your mind. Research meditation techniques that help you learn how to focus your mind. Learn how powerful and useful the breath is in releasing stress. In any stressful situation, when you feel yourself tensing up, take a deep breath. Surrender the tension from your body into that deep breath and then blow the tension out. Do this a few times, each time, breathing out the tension. Then, for a few deep breaths, visualize God’s love and white light around you, and breathe this love and light in. This effort might only take 30 seconds, but it can save you hours or even days of hurt, pain and regret.
8. Include heart-centered prayers before going to bed at night. By heart-centered, I mean speak to your spiritual guide(s), not so much through recited prayers, but through your heart. Ask for assistance from them. Ask them to help you bring focus and clarity into your life. Thank them for their assistance. Try not to eat for a few hours before going to bed. If you go to bed with a full stomach, your body will have to focus more on digestion than on healing and re-energizing. If you are interested, try this a couple of nights to truly understand it. If you go to bed with a full stomach, you’ll likely have a harder time falling asleep. You may twist and turn more during the night, and you’ll wake up with a full, sluggish feeling in the morning. If you go to bed with an empty stomach, you’ll likely sleep more comfortably and you’ll wake up with a lighter feeling and more energy. Invite God, or whatever higher power you believe in, to hold you in His or Her arms while you sleep. Trust that you are loved and cared for, even while you sleep.
9. Pay close attention to your internal dialog. How and what you say to yourself will either lift you up or bring you down. If you don’t learn how to love and respect yourself, then others will not treat you in a loving, respectful manner. If you put yourself down through negative self-talk, you will be more accepting of others putting you down. Positive internal dialog helps build your self-esteem. Negative self-talk breaks down your self-esteem. If you notice yourself talking or thinking in a negative manner toward yourself, stop and say: “I will not mistreat myself. I deserve to be loving, compassionate and understanding with myself as I grow and develop into a more loving, understanding and compassionate being.”
10. Be a positive example to others. Do not concern yourself with being a leader or a follower. Simply rediscover your Source, your true foundation, your Godself, that all-encompassing love, that in truth, you and all your brothers and sisters are. You and your brothers and sisters are the physical manifestation of God on Earth. You are love and only love. Simply extend who you are into the world, and allow your family, colleagues and friends to be touched and embraced by your truth. By focusing on yourself, on making yourself stronger and more balanced physically, mentally and spiritually, you will bring clarity, peace of mind and joy not only to yourself, but also to those with whom you interact.
11. Choose to live in the present. Do not concern yourself with what you will become in the future. Focus on the now, the present moment, for it is in the now where your destiny is created. Find peace of mind, joy and fulfillment in the now, and your future will simply become an extension of this practice. Peace of mind, joy and fulfillment are what you truly desire, and what your parents, teachers and friends desire for you.
Work on yourself by strengthening yourself physically, mentally and spiritually, and enjoy the clarity and peace that will come with your effort.
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