I have been an exercise enthusiast for over 25 years. The most difficult exercise I have ever done is learning to train my brain.
I have learned to direct and pay strict attention to my thoughts with purposeful intentions.
This is by far the most challenging exercise to which I have applied myself. And unlike any marathon, spin or yoga class there is no real start or finish. It is lifting this mental muscle day in and day out, seconds leading to minutes and eventually developing into days.
I made this commitment to brain training after reading numerous books and paying attention to some great modern thinkers. It has been a focused, ongoing exercise and practice, and I have been my own witness to the incredible results. I became very clear in how I intended my life to look, and paid close attention to what I expected. I made lists, and revised them numerous times, of exactly what I wanted. Then I started to become quiet through meditation and breathing, and listened to my inner guidance. At times I was directed to choose a different path than where I thought I should be going.
The practice of sitting in meditation and becoming very clear in your mind and listening to your intuition is the first step toward magical thinking. Then you visualize everything you want and how you feel while now having everything on your list. This is huge work! Our monkey minds pull us in so many directions and distract us constantly. Many days I called it quits because I could not quiet the distractions.
Starting any new exercise or physical regime is incredibly challenging. I remember my first spin class, my first yoga class; feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted, yet at the same time exhilarated. This is how I felt about training my brain. At times I wanted to give up and go back to my junk food mind of random thoughts and interests and quit this magical thinking. However, I also wanted to create my own magnificent life, and I knew that the only person who was going to make that happen was me. I was no longer interested in mediocrity.
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is one key word: EXTRA! I knew I had to put in the extra thought, time, attention and intentions if I wanted to have an amazing life.
The universe wants us to succeed and achieve, and once I believed this and felt realigned with my purpose, my intentions became clear and I worked very hard on this brain training. I worked this muscle as often as I could. Not only sitting quietly, but while driving, while waiting in a checkout for coffee or groceries. At the airport, on planes and during spare moments, if I felt my thoughts drift I started to wrangle them back to my clear intention. As I say so often to my students in class: We get what we think about all day long - so pay attention to those thoughts.
These thoughts are so powerful and magnetic. Our mental magnet is at work all the time, and when used purposefully it will change your life in ways that you choose. This is magical thinking. You can have what you want - if you choose to train your brain to think about these thoughts often.
You have to see clearly and feel what you want and completely believe with positive energy that the magnet is working. I felt like I had waved a magic wand when I started to notice some of the miracles, or what felt like miracles started to happen in my life. When you start to feel the magic working, the incentive to use this exercise more often becomes easy. Just like physical exercise, we start to crave it because it makes us feel so much better! The endorphins of this brain training started to kick in and there is no way that I will ever stop this practice. And like any practice or habit, the longer you do it the better you become. I created a habit, and now I feel strange if I am not engaged in magical thinking. You have to see and believe in order to achieve!
Most recently I was very moved by a book about this subject: Into The Magic Shop by neurosurgeon James Doty. I enjoyed his clear perspective as a neurosurgeon and how we can actually change our brain plasticity with our thoughts. Doty states, "Attention is powerful. It is proven to change our brains, creating more grey matter in the very areas that help us learn, perform, and make dreams come true." Amazing proof! I knew it all along.