I’m just finishing reading, with my book club, Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself“. It challenged me to renew my mind and transform my way of being!
Dr. Joe’s book is a deep dive into neuroscience, quantum relationships, the Divine, and how to truly draw change to yourself by becoming aligned with what you are asking for.
We are told to be transformed by the renewing of our minds – and this is exactly the exercises that Dr. Joe takes you through!
Break the habits of your usual way of feeling, of thinking and of acting in the world, in order to experience a new way of showing up – be transformed by the renewing of your midn!
I believe miracles change and transform us. But so many times I fall into the trap of waiting for a miracle to happen for me, without doing my part! The hard school of knocks teaches that blessings flow more freely to me when I focus my energy, attention and effort on the outcome.
If you want to walk on water – you will have to get out of the boat!
Sometimes, the effort required is spiritual focus, but most times there is a physical or material aspect of expressing our faith as more than just prayer.
This applies to our transformation journey and the renewing of our minds as it does to other miracles we await!
Awareness: the first step of transformation & renewal
The first step in renewing your mind is awareness: what needs to change?
Dr. Joe offers some very practical examples of where to start. Start with the emotions that keep you stuck and on repeat. Particularly those feelings you cannot control. These are feelings triggered by situations and circumstances, perhaps by relationships and interactions.
Focus on the feelings that remind you how human you are and how much you still need to transform.
Personally, I don’t believe any emotions are “bad” or should even be labelled as “negative”. Nonetheless, some feelings are not helpful helpful when they control us and take over our reactions. These feelings can run amok and ruin the show.
When this is the case, we need to break the habits and be transformed and renew our minds!
Why do we need awareness?
Let me give you a quick example:
Sit down and take a few deep breaths. Remember a moment that you were truly happy and joyful. In your mind, rebuild the memory with as many details as you can.
Notice how you begin to feel in your body and emotionally as you focus your thoughts and mind on this memory.
Now, remember something that made you mad or sad or upset you. Build with as many details as you can remember the entire scene – who was there, where and when was it, and what happened as it unfolded. Notice how you now feel in your body.
Notice how your emotions have changed, as you’ve changed the focus of your thoughts.
Our thoughts influence our emotions and our emotions influence our thoughts!
Becoming aware of feelings & emotions
The emotions that typically control our habitual responses are:
- bitterness or resentment
I don’t know about you, but for most of these I was taught I “shouldn’t” feel this way. To a large extent, then, I would ignore and push down these feelings, rather than acknowledging them.
I would say a prayer, and ask God to take the feeling away… as if I were powerless. God needed to take it away – that’s what salvation was, right? There was nothing I could do about it!
As I’ve matured and grown, I’ve realised that this was very irresponsible of me.
While there is a surrendering and handing over to the Divine: there is also an essential part of ownership and responsibility. We play an important role in the transformation & renewing of our mind.
Awareness is accepting that we are feeling this emotion and that it is interfering with in our spiritual transformation. It separates us from ourselves, from others and from God.
I feel… and when I feel this way I start thinking about…
Awareness of my patterns of thought
The second step of breaking the habits and pattern is to notice how our feelings drive our thoughts (and also noticing how our thoughts drive our feelings).
Consider what pattern or loop of emotion/thought you regularly get stuck in. Notice how the emotion feels in your body as well as the typical thoughts that go along with it.
Perhaps you are feeling victimised and that you don’t have control. Your thoughts might be
- Why do things like this always happen to me?
- What did I do to deserve being treated this way?
- How come I always get the short end of the stick?
- When am I going to catch a break?
Or perhaps you feel fearful and anxious. Your thoughts might be catastrophizing and awfulizing, making up the stories of everything in the future that could go wrong.
You might feel guilt or shame, in which case you keep replaying a loop in your mind of what you did wrong in the past.
Take a little time to sit in silence and ask Spirit to speak to you about what is the emotion and thought pattern that you need to break.
Awareness: the feelings-thoughts-feelings loop
There is a reason that we stay stuck in this loop of thoughts and emotions – it’s what we are used to. What we know. And no matter how “bad” it is for us, we may be afraid of what is on the other side of change!
This is a comfortable and safe place – no matter how uncomfortable it is or how much we want to transform!
Ego keeps us in the same loops. Spirit moves us in a spiral of growth – small steps forward in growth and change.
We are each called to be more – to be transformed and renewed.
Desiring change and transformation
We cannot change the past and we have no control over the future. The only moment in which you can transform and renew your mind is this moment.
You can make a daily habit of transformation and renewal, but there will be a practice and discipline required of you.
Being in this moment.
Each and every day.
Wanting to change isn’t enough
Desiring change is not enough. Praying and asking God to change you is not enough – unless you are willing to let go of the way you were.
There’s a reason that after each healing Jesus would say “Go, and sin no more“.
Break the habit of who you used to be and start to live from this new place of having been transformed by the renewing of your mind, feeling a new way, and doing things differently. It’s not just the external – the actions. It’s the inner work: feelings and thoughts.
Willingness to change: surrender to the Divine
Part of the willingness to change is surrender. There is a part that you do… and there is a part where you have to simply have faith that the transformation is happening no matter that you cannot see it.
In 2018 I started a practice of silence. Of just sitting and focusing on my breath – being present – for 20-30 minutes each day.
In 2020, in the midst of the chaos, a friend pointed out to me that I was unflappable… and I realised that I had a peace that I could not explain or understand!
I was content to trust and surrender what was out of my control to the Divine.
I couldn’t tell you WHEN that happened. I simply adopted the daily practice and trusted the process. The peace in my heart appeared when I needed it the most.
Transforming the Heart
Once you have become aware of what you are leaving behind, allow your heart to sit with what you want and desire to feel.
- Perhaps you want the peace that passeth all understanding.
- Maybe you desire to be filled with Divine Love.
- Or you might just want to trust and surrender.
When you get your new heart and are driven by a new emotion – what would you like that to be?
For example, one of the emotions that I was working on was fear. And I wanted to transform that into trust and courage. Another emotion that I have worked on is shame, and I wanted to transform that into love and acceptance.
What do I desire?
Allow yourself to sit in the silence and listen to your heart.
When you are connected to Source in the silence, what does the Creator want for you?
Discovering my Divine Purpose
An even bigger question that you might be willing to sit with is “What is my Divine Purpose?”. Where does your heart feel lead when it is completely connected with Spirit?
The answer might take some time (days, weeks or even months) to clarify.
Choosing peace & joy:
No matter what you decide, ultimately, you want to quieten your emotions and the ego mind, so that you can sit in silence with Spirit.
It is here that you will be open to receiving what the Creator has for you. The final outcome of whatever transformation and renewing of your mind will be a deep inner peace and a contentment that supersedes any situation of what is happening to you.
Transforming my mind:
Once you have decided on the new emotion you want to feel, notice what kind of thoughts you have when you feel this way. Imagine, for example, that you were feeling fear and you choose that now you want to feel courage.
Consider the last time you felt courageous, and notice what you were thinking about. Where did your thoughts center when you felt courageous?
What do I choose to focus on?
We are reminded time and time again in the Bible “think on these things”. As you will have noticed, there’s a reason why we focus our thoughts on these things: by focusing our thoughts, we can focus our emotions.
But, it’s not an ostensible thinking on these things – from a place of self-righteousness or judgement.
The ony person who you are transforming by the renewing of your mind is yourself!
So, keep the thoughts and focus real!
When you think on “what is true” – consider the reality of what you are facing and notice your perspective and the stories you have told yourself in the past about the situation. Ask yourself “is this true?” and if it is not, then consider other perspectives of what might be true.
For example, perhaps someone looks at you funny. Your first thought might be: “they don’t like me”. Is this true? Perhaps they were looking away from something else and merely happened to glance in your direction and didn’t actually even see you (like when someone is looking off into the distance).
Keep it real.
Affirmations of faith:
I love using affirmations, spoken out loud. But they need to resonate with me on a deep level. When I say them, I notice how I respond to them: am I doubting them? How could I reword them in a such a way that they are true for me at this time?
So, many times, instead of saying “I am ….” I will say “I am learning to be …”. This is true and I can affirm it without question! Eventually, I will reach a point where I an truthfully say “I am…” and it will no longer raise within me resistance.
I am also much more carefully now what I choose to read and where I choose to invest my time. GIGO = garbage in, garbage out.
Finally, I look closely at my gifts and strengths – these were given to me with purpose! I affirm these gifts and strengths, and focus on using them and allowing them to help me on my way. It’s not that I ignore my weaknesses – but each of us has been given gifts to help us on this journey.
Imagining and envisioning a new way:
Finally, I invite you to begin to envision and imagine yourself reacting to situations in a new way. We are creatures of habit.
Each day, take a moment to envision and see yourself walking in faith and responding from a place of a transformed and renewed mind. Believe that as you practice this, practicing responding in new ways each day, that you will be transformed and renewed.
It is an act of faith to work on this transformation each and every day without seeing the end result immediately.
Renewing my mind:
As you learn to refocus your mind, your emotions will also change to match these thoughts.
Rewriting neural pathways
Neuroscience teaches us that we can teach an old dog new tricks – our brains are constantly learning new pathways. They become shortcuts (the path of least resistance) when we use them repeatedly.
The more often you choose to go down a particular thought path, the easier it becomes to repeat this, especially in situations of stress or when you “aren’t thinking”.
The time for learning a new habit – rewriting your thoughts – is daily. When you are in the midst of chaos and a situation that would normally set you off, you will have a brief moment in which you become aware that you have a choice: and the choice that you make at that moment will also have a huge impact on how your brains and your emotions learn!
Will you choose to do things as you have always done them?
Or will you choose the new path – the transformation because you have renewed your mind?
We are promised that we will be given new hearts and that Divine law will be written in our minds.
I hold this to be true.
But I am also aware that I have to be open to the transformation happening – I have a role to play in ensuring that I don’t fall back into my old habitual ways of thinking and feeling.
My heart will remain soft, vulnerable and tender inasmuch as I am willing to keep it vulnerable and tender. How will I choose to respond when life throws me a curveball?
Will I remain open and teachable?
How will I know that I have truly been transformed by the renewing of my mind?
Am I choosing each day to focus on being open to the Divine – in remaining in awe and wonder of Creation?
Do I choose silence each day or do I keep myself so busy that I don’t listen and see? God is never going to talk to me about transforming and renewing someone else’s mind or changing their behaviour: the small, still voice will always be gently chastening me about what needs to change and align in my life!
Is my delight in this relationship with Spirit?
I will love God with all my heart, mind and soul
Can I say that I am filled with Divine Love?
This is the ultimate test… the holy grail of where I aspire to be and grow into.
Are my thoughts and emotions completely aligned with this love?