I seem to talk a lot about thoughts and the mind in my yoga and meditation classes, and will do so today. I do so because, a) it is so important at this time to change our mind, so to speak, and b) It is something I need to learn. We “teachers” (it always feels arrogant to call myself a teacher. We are ALL teachers) often teach what we are trying to learn ourselves. I have been a spiritual teacher of sorts for 20 years, teaching meditation and yoga, but my mind still worries a lot and I often do not practice what I preach.

So, what are you thinking about? How’s your mind and attitude? Are you able to keep your cool, maintain your center, breathe calmly and deeply even in the midst of our daily stresses?

I have heard it said that if you are going to the airport to pick up a friend or loved one, you would focus on finding the one person you are there to pick up. There are thousands of other people at the airport of course, but we should not be distracted by them all and stay focused on who we are there to find. Similarly, most thoughts we have are distractions at the best and often destructions. The vast majority of thought are useless or problematic, and we are wise to stay focused on what is important, the present moment.

All the spiritual masters were not just blowing smoke. Well, some are, I am sure, but many of them knew that there was more to life than birth, death and a lot of striving and suffering in between.

One suggestion is to stop reading the newspapers and watching most of the news. There is tremendous programing in the media to stay afraid, to see enemies everywhere, to believe in scarcity, or as one comedian calls it, Scare City. Living in Scare City is no fun.

I saw a bumper sticker during the heat of the recession a few years ago that said, “I refuse to participate in a recession.” The driver was a very wise person, I am sure. He or she knew that we create our own reality, and that one can step out of the cultural story or write a new one, create a different reality or sing a different song. Inner contentment truly has nothing to do with external circumstances.

Christopher Reeve knew this. As an actor, he played Superman, but after his accident, or more accurately the incident, as I am not sure I believe in accidents, he became an even more impressive super man, staying joyful, powerful and positive while dealing with tremendous physical pain and immobility. He took control of his mind and thoughts. So yes, this is possible.

Know that the mind with its thoughts has been running the show for generations, but this is all the more reason to do our best, one breath at a time. Have compassion for yourself. Thank you busy mind, and use it as an excellent tool. Bring you mind back to now, the present moment, the only moment we have.