Thought Coaching: developing insights to drop out of my mind and into my body
I’ve recently been having some life coaching with a lovely lady called Mandy Spray. I’d probably describe it better as ‘thought coaching’ because it’s actually more about a psychological understanding, based on something called the ‘Three Principles.’
In a way, I’m not sure where to begin with explaining this understanding as it’s almost a new way of life, but what I can say is that it’s created some great insight. The unusual thing about it is that it is mainly conveyed through every-day conversation but “a different kind of conversation” to “make sense of life” as Mandy explains it. It’s not something that is lectured, or taught, but experienced in the moment, and instilled through repeated discussion of how these principles apply.
So, a few months ago I set off with an open mind (not quite as open as I’d hoped, because it was also – I was told – filled with around 80,000 thoughts, apparently!) and I arrived for my first day session with Mandy, at the glorious Regent’s Park (though she also does sessions via Skype which are great too!). It was a lovely sunny day and all we really did was walk around chatting. The universe clearly knew we were there and gave us some great metaphors for life by alternating clouds and rain with glorious sunshine: the weather really did remind us of the how the storms of life can be easily and instantaneously changeable and mixed with beaming sunshine and it was a nice introduction to the principles.
The Three Principles
The ‘principles’ behind this coaching, which aren’t new, but are innately inbuilt and always ours (until we ‘forgot about our magic’ as Mandy reminds me), are based on the work of Sydney Banks. He said that we have three things:
- Mind – our innate intelligence
- Consciousness – our innate awareness
- Thought – the power which allows us to generate perception of our reality
So, ultimately, these things are innate and already perfect. We already have wisdom within us, innately. Our power of thought, though, fluctuates moment to moment. Unfortunately, most of us forget this and believe our thoughts to be true and when we get stuck in this, we can believe our thoughts – even our feelings are created by thought! So, all we need to do is stop trying to figure out our thoughts (after all, there are 80,000 of them a day, so no wonder it’s so exhausting when you’re stuck in your head!); instead, just realise simply that “it just IS thought” – and the second you realise this, you can let it go, trust, and come back into the moment!
Of course, that might sound ever-so-slightly obvious and oversimplified from me, and there’s absolutely no way I can explain it like Mandy does – she’s an amazingly lovely lady with great insights! Which brings me to my next bit of learning…
Dropping Out of My Head: Finding Stillness
Once you’ve identified that ‘thoughts’ are exactly that – just ‘thoughts’ that shift and change like the weather (and like life itself) – you begin to develop insights. I, of course, being very analytical, was extremely excited about this, and of course naturally wanted to start thinking about everything in great detail, but what Mandy actually reminded me was that we get most clarity when we are still in our thoughts. Our brains start to whir away naturally to try and work out solutions to a problem but, if we let go of the problem, the solution usually finds us! How many times have you known this to be true? I’ve been working with Mandy for a little while now, and I’m definitely noticing that this way of being is coming to me more naturally. It’s like once you understand the principles behind thought, you let your ‘natural over-thinking about everything’ all fall away.
As an example, I might be thinking so much about finding a solution to a problem, that I start off with the thought “what can I do about this problem?” and I might throw out the following:
“Oh, here’s a solution – I could do X”.
Great! Until I then think another new thought:
“Oh, hang on, there’s also Y or Z. Oh, which option is better.”
Uh-oh, now we have a choice. Furthermore, if you’re anything like me, the conversation might continue a little like this:
“Really, you think you can do X,Y,Z? Ha, I’d like to see you try.”
Hmm, not so helpful. It might continue:
“Of course I can, oh no, wait, but there was that time you tried this and it didn’t go so well, you’re not capable, maybe you should give up, or just try another option. Oh but I can’t think of another option, I must work harder. Nope, still can’t think of another option, I’m a complete failure.”
What. A. Story! And this is what we do, you see – these stories we tell ourselves are all just thought in the moment. Is it helpful? No, not at all – because 1) I seem to have forgotten my innate magic and capabilities, and 2) I’m just crowding myself with unhelpful thoughts that I believe to be true, but in another moment I might not believe! Sometimes we even recognise this as us having ‘low self-esteem’ and we might then label ourselves and get further worked up beating ourselves up about that. This isn’t helpful either: we aren’t broken!
What it actually is, is just me having ‘low esteemed THINKING in that moment’ – it doesn’t mean I’ll always have low self-esteem, because a lot of the time I’m a whole and confident being. It might just be that I’m believing a story I’ve been telling myself my whole life, but isn’t actually true! So, really, what I need to say to myself in this moment is:
“Aha, Nicole, you’re just having faulty thinking about this in this moment. That’s ok, it’ll pass.”
This is what we call INSIGHT. We might even have insight about where it comes from:
“Oh, remember when you tried something new when you were younger and you felt like a failure, this is just your thoughts reminding you of that!”
Recognising all of this allows us to let it go – or feel the feelings we’re feeling, if we need to, and then let it go! And, guess what, in another moment, solution X – the first one I thought of – will seem like a great option – or, by this time, my mind is so spacious and open from freeing it of all those unhelpful thoughts that something else much more creative might fill the gap! I might get to that clarity just by leaving some room in my thoughts for something productive to enter. It is in the stillness that you can drop out of your head, and back into your body.
By this, I mean, I can drop out of my head and actually be in the present moment, aware of my physical being, as well as my thoughts and my emotions – my soul feels lighter. Working with Mandy has enabled me to have a ‘different kind of conversation’ – perhaps a more compassionate and understanding one – with myself that makes me feel a lot more balanced in my wellbeing.
Does that make sense? If not, I highly recommend working with Mandy… You can read more on her website here: http://www.mandyspray.com/
Nicole Barton – Wellbeing Writer
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