There’s a wonderful story about a boy who was born without a right arm. On his ninth birthday he asked his parents if he could join a karate club. They were delighted by the idea and the boy quickly became a regular at the local dojo. The boy wanted to compete in a tournament and asked his master if this was possible. The master said that he could compete if he listened carefully to him and trusted him. The master taught the boy one move and one move only and the boy practiced it diligently.

Soon it was time for the tournament.  The boy won the first round of the tournament and then the next round and the one after that until he found himself winning the entire tournament. He was baffled by this and asked the master how he, a boy with only one arm and only one move, could win a karate tournament against these other boys.  The master smiled and told him there is only one defense against the move the boy learned; the opponent would need to grab him by his right arm.

Here is just one move that you can use to help you create a more peaceful and beautiful life.  

Meet Your Mind
In its natural God-created state, the mind is unconditioned by outside influences and by the human indoctrination that each of us were given as children.  We are not our thoughts. We are not the voice in our head. Instead, we are what notices our thoughts and feelings. We are spiritual beings having a human experienceas Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said. To prove this to yourself, take a moment right now and look into your mind. What are your thoughts?  Since you can observe your thoughts, you cannot possibly be your thoughts.

Your mind can be a creative tool that you use to select those thoughts and ideas that will serve you and others.  Or the mind can be – and for most people it is – a tyrant. Its thoughts control them and make them suffer.  They follow their thoughts blindly and believe them completely. They make up stories according to these thoughts and act as if they were true.

Our minds are always thinking, thinking, thinking.  And as we think, so are we. We have thoughts which lead to feelings and then make choices and decisions, all in reaction to these thoughts.  We think the same ones over and over again and then make the same choices over and over again.  We go through our days on autopilot, never realizing that there is more to us than our conditioned thinking. Most people live out their lives without knowing this.

Your one move to live a better, happier, more fulfilling life is this: become aware of your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. Then your mind will become your tool as it was always meant to be.  And just like the boy in the karate tournament, if you practice diligently, you will awaken to a whole new world (and mind, for that matter.)

Your Inner World
Two years ago I was a presenter at a conference where Byron Katie was the keynote speaker. She has developed 4 questions that can be used to free ourselves from stressful thoughts. This is an effective tool for questioning our thoughts. When we question our thoughts, we are no longer attached to them. To begin, write down your stressful thoughts and then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react when you believe this thought?   Make a list and be specific.
  4. Who would you be without this thought?  Which do you prefer? Life with or without the thought?  

After answering these questions, turn the thought around and experience the opposite of what you believe.

There is only one place where you are the sole authority; your inner world. There is only one thing that you have control over and that is what is going on inside you. You may not be able to change what is happening on the outside, but you always have the power to change what is happening on the inside. This is a liberating realization!  This one move will change your life because it will change your mind. And like the karate champion in our opening story, you will win. Your mind has become your tool and is no longer your tyrant.  

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”   – Isaiah 55: 8-9

Your Mind: Tool or Tyrant? was last modified: December 11th, 2015 by Rev. Nancy Oristaglio