Mental intrigues & Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

“The most important decision we ever make is whether we live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe.” Albert Einstein.

Could it be that living an uplifting life is as simple as projecting our minds in the direction of that uplifting life?

There’s ample encouragement out there for positive thinking, using affirmations and generally creating the life you want by thinking good thoughts, right? However, to make that positivity and those affirmations believable (meaning you believing you when you say your affirmation) we need to understand the workings of the mind.

Quite simply, unchecked, the mind is like a lawless megalomaniac. Full of desire. Demanding immediate satisfaction. To support it’s cause, it makes things up, convinces you that something is real and then abandons you once it changes perspective.

The mind is a magnificent vehicle for thought processing. We can see the mind as a giant, endless labyrinth of thoughts drawn from feelings, memories and fantasies. Yogi Bhajan refers to this labyrinth of thoughts as ‘mental intrigues’. The intrigue being a thought that leads you down a path and into a whole world of possibilities that may or may not be real.

Once we accept that our thoughts are not a reflection of who we essentially are and more a result of a labyrinthine, unchecked mix of all we have seen and heard, we can let go of resenting unhelpful thoughts and start practicing non-attachment to those thoughts.


Marianne Williamson gave a wonderful metaphor for shifting perspective and projecting a more positive outlook: “Sometimes you get rid of a tape by taping over it.”  You can play a tape over and over and dissect it (as in working out the hows and whys) or you can tape over it with something else (projecting more helpful thoughts into the mix).

Here is a technique to practice, drawn from the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy technique (ACT)

A = Accept your thoughts and feelings – allow them to be there but don’t attach to them.

C = Connect to your values – does this thought help me be more ‘love’, ‘courageous’, ‘confident’ / move me closer to my goal?

T = Take effective action. – project your mind toward your goal (love, confidence, peace, feeling unrattled). Or physically take action that leads you towards that goal. Do something in accordance to your values. Move towards what you want.

The mind does not control you unless you let it. Don’t fight with the mind. Let it do its thing. But use your essential intelligence to pick and choose how you utilise it. Use the mind for all it offers. Use it wisely.

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