Before seeing the word, "breathing," you probably weren't thinking about it; and you probably weren't thinking about your own breathing - even though you were doing it. Breathing is one of those things we do unconsciously - whether we are asleep, or not. And, though most people never consider it until they experience a problem or some difficulty, breathing and thinking are closely related. Thinking is just like breathing; you are always doing it to some degree - even while you sleep. And this is important because, though breathing gives us life, it is our thinking that creates and shapes our experience of life. And, just as you can control your own breathing to a certain extent, you can learn to control your own thinking to a certain extent, as well - giving you greater creative control over your life.
Think about your breathing for a minute. Before you were thinking about it, you were thinking about something else; but you were still breathing. You were breathing "unconsciously," just like you do in your sleep. Now, you are conscious of your breathing; you know you are breathing, but it is still happening automatically. You aren't really controlling your breathing now any more than when you were not conscious of it a moment ago. But you can take control of it - for a time, anyway. And, if you want to be a swimmer, a martial artist, or a singer, then you'll have to learn an even greater level of breathing control than the average person.
Take a minute and try this: Breathe in while you count to four; hold that breath for a count of four; breathe out for a count of four; and hold that for a count of four before repeating the whole process a couple times. If you did that, you were consciously controlling your breathing mechanism; which is quite different than simply breathing or even being aware of your breathing. There are many levels of awareness and involvement in the breathing process; and thinking is the same way. Just as if you wanted to become a singer, you would have to practice your breathing; if you want to consciously create your own life, you'll have to learn to gain a greater degree of control over your own thinking.
As with your breathing, your mental processes are continuous - you are either conscious or unconscious of them. Now, you are aware of your thinking; and you may even be thinking about thinking. But you aren't consciously focusing your thoughts on one specific outcome that you truly want to happen. To become consciously aware of your thoughts, and direct them with your own attention and focus, is to be in conscious control of your thought processes. Everyone thinks, just as everyone breathes; but not everyone practices breathing exercises - and not everyone practices clear, effective thought.
You may think this doesn't matter; but the fact is nothing could matter more to any of us. Our thoughts are creative - whether we choose to guide them or not. If we do not take responsibility for what we allow our thoughts to become, or guide us to do, then we are creating by default; or worse, we are following the desires and agendas of others - those who tell us what to think rather than teach us HOW to think. Think about it. Do you do what you do during the day because you want to, or because you have to? Whose ideas are you executing with your time and energy? Who taught you what was important to you?
All religions teach the importance of thought; and what is prayer if not thought? Jesus said, "As a man thinketh, so it is done to him," Buddha said, "Man is formed and molded by his thoughts," and Gandhi said, "Man often becomes what he thinks himself to be." The teaching attributed to Jesus also appears in the Old Testament and in practically every other religion on the planet. It's the thought that counts; and there's more than one way to think. What are you thinking about, and how are you thinking about it? The fruits of your life will give you some indication of what and how you're thinking.
Our thoughts guide us to our destiny and shape our experience; but we shape and guide our thoughts. Are you using the most effective modes of thought to communicate your fondest wishes? Are your thoughts producing happiness and guiding you toward fulfillment? If not, consider the odds that all the great religious teachers are liars and conspirators, and then weigh them against the odds that you were never really taught a lot about the mind and the various modes of thought and thinking. In other words, consider the chance that prayer is still taught - in one form or another - in all religions and spiritual traditions because it does work, and you just haven't attained "Christ-like" mastery of your thoughts yet. Practice paying more attention to both your breathing and your thinking; improving these two things is the secret to a long, happy life of your own choosing and design.
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Pete Koerner is a clinical hypnotherapist, and the author of The Belief Formula: The Secret to Unlocking the Power of Prayer. The Belief Formula is a look at how you can use ancient wisdom and modern scientific awareness to learn how to use your mind to reclaim your health and create the life of your dreams.
For a Free Report on Making The Belief Formula Work for You, visit: http://www.TheBeliefFormula.com