When I was in my first year of college, I attained my personal freedom. It’s not the kind of freedom you might assume I’d attain while away in my first year of college, no. This was mental freedom. Freedom of the mind. Let me explain… When I went away to college, I was in a vulnerable state and lacked mindfulness. I let stress get the best of my high school years and I diagnosed myself with anxiety. Doctors put me on a medication that I lied and told my mom I was still taking when I was away at college. The truth was, this medication didn’t help me. Yes, it may have helped clear my mind, but it didn’t stimulate mindfulness or make me more aware of the good that was happening in my life. It simply dulled the bad to where I felt as though I was merely existing. This isn’t to say that anxiety medication doesn’t help millions of human beings, because it does. It just didn’t help me.
What did help me, and ultimately changed my life, was a professor who taught me mindfulness. The class was “Stress Management” and it was the last time this professor would personally teach this course. He went on to teach the course to other professors who would then teach the course to their students. Although I believe that the content of the course was so insanely vital, it was the professor who opened my mind, and made me want to listen in the first place. His passion and persistence, his patience and determination. He truly wanted us to have the wisdom and positive way of life that he knew possible.
Each day I’d walk into his class, our first assignment was to write down three positive things that happened to us that day. Simple, right? Following this silent task was a 5-10 minute meditation, which typically consisted of me trying to silence my mind and send my thoughts away to rest. For the first few days, I struggled to find positive things that had happened to me each day. But soon enough, I was reeling with positive moments to write down.
It wasn’t that more positive things were happening to me, it was that I was shifting my focus and making myself more aware of those many bountiful moments of my life. The course taught me that not only can you null the pain of life away, but that it is in fact possible to control your mind completely. Becoming aware of your thoughts and your feelings, and simply listening to ones self, rather than reacting in any way. I am writing this because I believe that there is no “right” way to do life. You must only experiment on your own, according to your energy and your love and your beliefs. The more you focus on the good, the more good you will see. Yes, it will be hard at first when we as society are so trained to be awakened to the bad, but YOU are ultimately in control of YOUR life. Create your own positive reality.