Peace of mind is the highest goal of Life-centered thinking. Thus, it is best if all decisions are based on the intention to create a calm and tranquil mind.
Life-centered thinking approaches decision-making from an entirely different angle than the ego; instead of making decisions based on fears, Life-centered thinking bases decisions on trust in our inner wisdom and the knowledge that there are lessons to be learned in each and every moment.
Many prominent researchers are finding a direct relationship between our state of mind and our health. For example, research at Stanford University demonstrates that gaining peace of mind (by way of forgiveness) leads to increased physical vitality, hope, greater self-efficacy, and enhanced optimism. Additional research suggests that with a tranquil mind, we physiologically send messages to our bodies that allow healing to occur.
From Suicide Attempt to Success in Life and Business...
About twenty years ago, I had a patient, Charlie, who came to me following a very serious suicide attempt. Charlie believed his money problems and deteriorating health from diabetes would never change.
Charlie and I worked together for a little more than a year, and during that time, though his diabetes still affected his life, his response to his illness completely shifted. He began volunteering, fund-raising, and working with the American Diabetes Association and found that he was a surprisingly creative and effective fund-raiser. I lost contact with him for about ten years, then recently ran into him. He had his lovely wife and two teenage children with him, and I later found out he was a millionaire many times over.
"You know," he told me, "The only decision I really make anymore is between my old way of thinking, where I did not believe I had any opportunity in life, and my new way of thinking, where I always ask for opportunity with sincerity. And I humbly ask for the strength and courage to make the most of what Life brings, even when it looks like more of a challenge than an opportunity. Then, I have gratitude, and I ask Life for more opportunity.
"The amazing thing is, Life just keeps giving me more opportunity. I used to think my illness was a curse; now I see it as a gift in all it taught me. I would never be where I am now without what happened."
Charlie reminded me of a key truth about Life-centered decision-making:
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When peace of mind and looking for opportunity in every situation are our single goal, all decisions become a means of reaching this goal.
Seven Core Principles to Guide Our Decision-Making
When we are committed to Life-centered thinking, the following seven ideas will guide our decision-making:
1. Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. All that is of value can only increase when shared.
Regardless of the condition of our bodies, giving and receiving love can be our central goal and focus. When I was recovering from a severe bacterial infection that took me close to death, I discovered that with a balance of giving and receiving, we are healed
2. Regardless of my physical condition, I am a whole, complete, and loving person. If I choose, my health challenge can teach me lessons that will bring more, never less, into my life.
At one point, my body became ravaged from my disease... I was barely able to walk. It was during this time that I was guided to begin the ultimate endeavor: choosing to find the truth of who I am beyond my physical form. Now, I still strive to be in shape, but I never lose sight of the ultimate lesson: I am not a body. I am free. I am as Life created me.
3. The present moment always offers the choice: Do I want what peace of mind offers, or do I want what fear offers?
After getting repeated bad news from doctors, I was afraid, no question about it. Yet at some point, I began to look at the fear, to question its origins. I said to myself, "I don't have to take my fear as gospel. There is a quieter voice in me that says with certainty 'None of this really has an effect on the truth of who you are. None of this has the ability to stop you from giving and receiving love."
4. Through compassion for all life, my suffering is reduced.
As I took the primary focus off of myself and my body and focused instead on extending compassion, quite miraculous things happened. Extending compassion, rather than expending energy on suffering and preoccupation with the body, creates healing.
5. True health comes from the ability to love yourself and others unconditionally, regardless of the obstacles you see.
As I began to see beyond all the obstacles I believed existed because of my health challenge, I found much more peace of mind. To be healthy is to be unwavering in our commitment to seeing the opportunity to love each and every moment.
6. Your inner teacher, the quiet voice within, goes beyond all guilt and shame and whispers the truth. You need only to choose to listen.
I now know that there are two distinctly different voices that I can listen to: the voice of my ego or the voice of Life. As we turn to Life, our inner teacher, we are better able to respond to what is happening now and better able to see the path ahead.
7. No physical condition can stop you from making gains on your spiritual path.
I found that everything can be fodder for my spiritual growth, and within this truth, we can live a life of gratitude rather than worrying about what may or may not happen.
Though at times I still get trapped in the ego's fear-based way of making decisions, I have committed myself to Life-centered decision-making. So I consistently practice quieting the endless chatter of the ego and its fear-based thinking in order to allow myself to hear the wisdom of Life.
©2012 by Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hampton Roads Publishing Co. Inc.
Dist. by Red Wheel/Weiser, Inc. www.redwheelweiser.com
How to Say Yes When Your Body Says No: Discover the Silver Lining in Life's Toughest Health Challenges
by Lee L. Jampolsky.
Psychologist Lee Jampolsky examines how people become overwhelmed, and often unable to cope during a health challenge. He shares his personal health challenges, from spending months in a body cast as a young man to going deaf from an autoimmune disease. He shows how learning to alter one's thoughts and beliefs about health is the key to physical well-being. How to Say Yes When Your Body Says No is filled with meditations and exercises to develop an attitude of openness and healing, no matter what physical and emotional challenges we face.
About the Author
Dr. Lee Jampolsky is a recognized leader in the field of psychology and human potential and has served on the medical staff and faculty of respected hospitals and graduate schools, and has consulted with CEOs of businesses of all sizes. Dr. Jampolsky has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Visit him at www.drleejampolsky.com.