Soul Sculpting Project: Destination: Peace of Mind

Soul Sculpting Project: Destination: PeacOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAe of Mind

Today we’ll use two legs to step towards our destination.

First Leg: Creating peace in our body.

It’s an old story, God took some dust from the ground and formed it into a person, Adam. Then God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life. (Genesis 2:7)

So we breathe and this breath is a built-in pharmacy for us.

Usually our breath is involuntary, we don’t have to think to make it happen, but breath is also voluntary. We can intentionally change our breath and tap into our built-in pharmacy.

Numerous research studies shows that Intentional Breathing Methods can:

Lower:

  • Inflammation, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety, depression, pain, negative effects of stress, sleep difficulties, heartburn.

Help us manage:

  • Emotions, addictions, panic attacks, post traumatic stress, brain waves, our sympathetic (action) system and our parasympathetic (at ease) system.

Increase:

  • Athletic and mental performance, energy, memory, blood flow, digestion, attention, lung function, positive mood.

Today we will enlist breath to promote peace of mind. The method we will use is deep/full breathing. We can test it out right now.

Take a full inhale that expands not only your chest but also expands your abdomen. A belly breath. Now exhale your breath, perhaps taking a bit longer than the inhale.

This slow, deep breathing stimulates our parasympathetic system to do its job of calming us down.

There is a Warning Label here: If your method of breathing causes hyperventilation or discomfort in other ways, then you are not aiding peace of mind. Relax your diaphragm and experiment with your breathing to create a more natural balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

You might want to try out a couple more full deep breaths right now to get your parasympathetic – calming system in full gear. This will establish the first a good leg to stand on as we move towards our destination: Peace of Mind.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Second Leg: Taking charge of our racing, ruminating mind.

Our amazing minds are built to think. This thinking, however can become like a gas pedal stuck to the floor and we feel like our mind is racing out of our control. How do we free the pedal and take control?

Sometimes our minds get stuck with thoughts that are not helpful or true. Yet our bodies believe the stories our minds tell, whether they are true or not.

How can we think helpful and true thoughts?

Often our thinking is involuntary, our mind is thinking with no felt effort on our part, but thinking is also voluntary. We can intentionally change our thoughts.

How can we take control of our thoughts and create thoughts that are helpful and true?

Intentional Repetitive Thought

  1. Find/create a short phrase that feels true and helpful.
  2. Introduce our mind to this phrase and ask our mind to repeat it, again and again.

Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, worthy of praise, – think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 paraphrase)

In Christian historic and current practice Scripture is a common source for this phrase.

Samples phrases for Destination: Peace of Mind:
  • Be Still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
  • My peace I give to you. (Jesus speaking) (John 14:27)
  • Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. (Colossians 3:15)
  • My soul finds rest in God alone. (Psalm 62:1)
  • God is Love. (John 4:8)

Now we have two legs to stand on.

  • Leg #1 Intentional Breath-slow and deep
  • Leg #2 Intentional Repetitive Thought

Now we put the two together and start walking.

Combining prayer or Scripture with breath is an historic and a current Christian practice.

John Climacus (AD 579-649) encouraged students to “Draw in inseparably with your breathing a phrase,” of scripture.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In his third method of praying, Ignatius of Loyola (AD 1491-1556) instructed, “with each breath taken in or expelled one should pray mentally, saying a word of the Our Father or any other prayer which is recited.”

Using breath to create a rhythm for reciting significant scriptures continues to be used in current Christian practice.

Soul Sculpting Project: Destination: Peace of Mind

  1. Select a phrase that is helpful and true.
  2. Take a slow, deep, belly breath.
  3. Mentally repeat your selected phrase with each breath.
  4. Continue this process for as long as it feels helpful on your path towards peace.Tip: If your phrase is long you may want to divide it in two for a better fit with breath.

Enjoy your journey towards Destination: Peace of Mind.    

You are welcome to join with fellow Soul Sculptors in our public Soul Sculpting Group on facebook.

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