The skills you need to live a meaningful life (can be learned from one book)
I was just meditating and found myself stuck in certain feelings and thoughts that regularly come to visit me. Then suddenly, I realized that this was just a story created by my mind. This was a highly unusual thing to happen to me, for even though it sounds like a simple and obvious realization, I had been thinking those thoughts and feeling those feelings for a few years without recognizing that they were not „the truth“!
This is in part a result of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) which I have started practicing over the past few weeks. I read Dr. Steven C. Hayes‘ new book „A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters“, which does not only contain a theory of how the mind works, but most importantly, the most effective exercises the author has developed over the last few decades to help people overcome mental and emotional problems and live their lives according to their deepest values.
His main point and the main point of ACT is that in order to be happy, we need not change our thoughts end emotions (i.e. the content of our mind), but rather develop a new relationship to them. By working through the exercises in the book and applying them on a daily basis (I am still struggling with that because either there are too many exercises, or I am too perfectionistic in doing them; but I do do some of them every day), you learn to look at your mind and feelings from the outside, neutrally and with acceptance. This is what made it possible for me to recognize that I was stuck in an old story, and to get out of it – not by telling myself that I shouldn‘t feel and think this way, but by recognizing that my view of my situation was not the only possible view, and that I may have more options (to act, think and feel) than I knew.
That is what I think of when, after an energy work session, a client asks me: „How many more sessions until I‘m healed/happy/problem-free?“. I reply by recommending this book. As much as energy work has helped me and others, it is not the same as having the skills to get in a more productive relationship with your mind. Having these skills – even though I am just a beginner – is extremely empowering and therefore worth the time, money and energy I had to invest to develop them. His approach has been extremely valuable to me, so I highly recommend that you get and work through Dr. Hayes‘ book.
The book/audio book: Steven C. Hayes, PhD: A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters.
Photo by: Florencia Viadana