Mind Shift


“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach, American author.

Everest

The morning of Saturday, 25th April dawned at the base camp of the Mount Everest expedition like any other. Just before noon, Sherpa Bahadur was attempting to establish contact with the expedition team up on the slope when he was non-plussed to see the snow covered ground shift and rise like a living apparition. The last thing he remembered was an ear-splitting sound and being swept away by the shifting ground under his feet.

nepal-earthquake-avalanche-ap855095418230
For days and weeks earlier, unknown to the Sherpa and his expedition mates, two pieces of the cracked Earth’s crust below, had been moving and pressing against each other, like they have been wont to do periodically for millions of years. The heat and the churning currents of the molten rocks underneath was leading to the crust crumbling and buckling with intense pressure points being created. Something had to give. And that is what happened on that fateful Saturday. As the pressure propelled the molten rocks below the crust to shift and move like a jumble of conveyor belts in disrepair, it manifested as a powerful earthquake of 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale all over the Himalayan regions of Nepal and North India.

Witnesses later reported that the shifting avalanche began on Mount Kumori, a 7,000-meter high mountain just a few kilometers from Everest, gathered strength as it totally engulfed the base camp in the lower reaches of Everest.

For Sherpa Bahadur, a survivor of this immense natural tragedy, the shift of Earth’s tectonic plates led to a mind shift in terms of a change of focus and perception. What really mattered in terms of his relationships with his missing colleagues, the memories of all the great times they had had as they had planned for and painstakingly executed the expedition together came crowding into the mind. The pettiness of behaviours, the jealousies, the selfishness, all part of the way he had wound up being, seemed to recede. Standing amidst the destruction, carnage and sorrow, he found himself surprisingly engulfed by a peace of mind and an inner awareness of commitment.

Little did he realise it in that moment but Sherpa Bahadur had come through a Crucible event. A transformative experience that had given him an altered sense of identity and purpose. As he set about initiating efforts to rescue his missing team members, folks around him could not help but notice his strength of purpose and the nobility of his selflessness.

A crucible experience is a trial and test, a shifting of the ‘tectonic plates’ of our mind, opening us up to entirely new ways of being, of thinking and acting. As we do this, we can turn our life completely.

Steve Chandler, the author of “Shift your mind: shift the world”, says, ‘When the mind is open, it will shift. When that happens all of life becomes, momentarily, light as a feather. Light as a breeze. Beautiful! You go up to the next level of consciousness, and creativity, energy, vibration ó whatever you want, you’ve got it.’

So what is that mind shift Steve is talking about and what could one do to make it happen?

Well for a starter, we need to bring in a heightened awareness of our way of being. Only with such awareness can we hope to achieve some of the mind shifts given below.

MindShift

* A Gratitude Mind Shift: ‘Do you carry that nagging feeling that somehow you have less than the other guy? Could you shift your way of being to see all that you have as a blessing?’

* A Self-Creation Mind Shift: ‘Do you find yourself blaming others and the circumstances when faced with a problem? Could you shift your way of being to seek opportunities for self creation and development when confronted with pain or difficulties?’

* Being Cause in the matter Mind Shift: ‘Do you find yourself resisting or denying problems when they arise in your life? Could you shift your way of being to acknowledge that somehow, somewhere your choices and actions might have caused these?’

* A Self-Trust Mind Shift: ‘Do you find yourself doubting your own self and seeking answers from others? Could you shift your way of being to trust your own intuition and wisdom?’

* Being committed to something bigger than yourself mind shift: ‘Do you find yourself embroiled within your own self-serving pettiness and fears? Could you shift your way of being to embrace a cause bigger than yourself and choose to be fully alive and engaged to that?’

* An Initiative-Taking Mind Shift: ‘Do you find yourself waiting for someone else to take the lead? Could you shift your way of being to be the creator, the fire starter?’

* A Present Moment Mind Shift: ‘Do you see yourself being held back by your past? Could you shift your way of being to drop that story that is holding you back so that you could recreate yourself every day?’

That crucible experience that Sherpa Bahadur had on the lower slopes of Mount Everest on that fateful day was really about a very fundamental realization. Which is this. All that we perceive and take for granted, who we know our self to be, what we assume to be true about us, others and the world in general, is not the only reality. It is this realization that allows us to achieve heightened awareness and transform ‘the way we have wound up being’, allowing us to enter a new world. It is this realization that allows us to open our mind (and heart!) to the Shifts we have spoken of.

My invitation to you, dear reader, is this. Today, right now, pick one of the above Mind Shifts that most resonates with you. Gently place it inside your psyche and begin living it. Come on, give it a try! As you open your mind to embrace, you might be astonished with the results.

In Learning……… Shakti Ghosal

Post script: The post alludes to the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal. However Sherpa Bahadur is a fictional character and has no bearing to any living person. I however have no doubt that in reality there are innumerable individuals out there, who faced with a crucible experience arising out of the earthquake, have risen to the occasion with their untiring efforts. I offer this post as an acknowledgement and homage to all such brave and selfless individuals who have been working tirelessly on the ground to support the shattered communities.

Acknowledgements:

1) ‘Crucibles of Leadership’ by Warren G. Bennis & Robert J. Thomas, Harvard Business Review,
September 2002.
2) ‘Shift your Mind: Shift the World’ by Steve Chandler, Robert Reed publishers, February 2010.

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27 thoughts on “Mind Shift

  1. Shakti … At the start of our school year in 2014, I decided to do the equivalent of a ‘gratitude mind shift.’ I followed the example of another teacher, who at one time taught at our middle school, and wrote daily ‘Classroom Positives.’ This shifted my focus and helped remind me of the good things that happen in my classroom every day. Some days, I’ve joked, that required me to unearth a sliver of something good that day. The end result was I was much happier this past year.

    I applaud your call for each of us to find a way to select a mind shift to focus on.
    Judy

    • Dear Judy,

      That is a lovely example of a ‘gratitude mindshift’. Indeed merely reminding ourselves in the moment about all the ‘positives’ in our situation can lead to a significant shift in the occurring of the situation for us. And as the occurring shifts, so do our thoughts and performance.

      Thank you for bringing your experience into the discussions here. I appreciate.

      Shakti

  2. So much depth and wisdom to your post Shakti. You write the narrative so beautifully. I found this section particularly engaging, ‘For days and weeks earlier, unknown to the Sherpa and his expedition mates, two pieces of the cracked Earth’s crust below, had been moving and pressing against each other, like they have been wont to do periodically for millions of years.’ Thank you for shining a light on mind shifts and how these come about in your clever and elegant post.

    • Hi,

      Thank you for your kind words and acknowledgement. I am glad you like the narrative on the Nepal earthquake.

      My objective of course was to use that as a basis to support folks to practise needed mind-shifts. I remain committed to support people in that.

      Cheers, appreciate your visit and the taking the time to comment.

      Shakti

    • Hi Indah,

      Glad to know you liked it. I also remain curious to know how some aspect of the post might support you in your life. Do let me know if you found one.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  3. Dear Shakti
    Loved your post and thoughts my friend.. I can relate to Sherpa Bahadur mind shift, In that moment all else fell away and were not important.. Only the focus of rescue was forefront upon his mind…
    Similarly my sister told me when she was confronted with breast cancer, a shift took place in her mind.. And her focus was taken off the worry of the petty things in life as she shifted her mind to get well for her young families sake. She did, she beat the odds.. And since that day her outlook on life also took a dramatic shift..

    If I had to take any of the above Mine would be ‘The Present moment mind shift’

    Personally I know I have clung on too tight to wounds and past hurts which have affected my present behaviours.. I know we say without the past we would not be who we are today.. True.. for the past moulds us into shape, and also affects our thinking, attitudes, etc…
    I am only just learning to stop and relax, take time out for me.. If I were to look deeper back into my childhood, I was the eldest of 5 siblings so I was often ‘put in charge’ and given responsibilities, Also I always ‘took the blame’ … And so if I really dig deep within I can also see where I have placed Blame, and used it to evoke various emotions which culminated within my mind breaking down within its own nervous rebellion of overload, way back in the 90’s.. As several emotional events hit me all at once.

    These 3 things have when I seriously look back had a great influence upon my life.. As I worked to climb the latter, becoming ‘In charge’ and always ready to accept blame, or the responsibility when things went wrong ( thinking to my production textile days in training and quality control ) But would go out of my way to find solutions to problems, and help others over difficulties, as I knew how it felt to be judged, which would gain me respect along the journey.. All things inter-related as we learn and grow, as we ‘Shift’ our perceptions and awareness’s as we gain knowledge along our journey through life.

    Again my friend you bring to your posts in-depth insights into our perceived way of thinking.. And as ever you have made me dig ever deeper into my own thoughts..
    Blessings to you and yours Shakti
    Sue

    • Dear Sue,

      As always, that is a great comment. Thank you for bringing in some of your personal thoughts and perceptions here.

      Indeed, the mind shift needed to shift away from personal hurts and imagined slights is a huge one. On some days I start believing that at long last, I seem to be winning that fight. And then the very next moment, a situation occurs, someone says something or writes a mail and I can see all those imagined hurts, slights and how I would enjoy’hitting back’ come flooding back in my mind with renewed vigour.

      I can only say that I now hold the realisation that the Mind-shift, just as so many other things in my life are mountains with no top… so I am conditioning myself to enjoy the climb!

      Thank you once again and God Bless!

      Shakti

      • We are all of us Shakti learning with each step we place.. The joy they say is all in the journey to our final destination.. And that mountain I feel we never have a summit while ever we can expand our awareness :-).. To reach a peak.. is to limit oneself.. 🙂 ;-D

    • Hi,

      Sorry, I somehow missed seeing your comment and responding to it. That’s not me!

      Thank you for your kind words. I remain curious to know whether you tried some of the mind-shift options, and if so, how did they work for you. If I may be of any further support, do let me know.

      Regards

      Shakti

  4. I love your description, your story of a ‘crucible experience.’ What images light up my mind when pondering that word! Phoenix, ashes, tectonic shifting.

    As far back as I can remember, I have been open to anything and everything, and yet looking back, I was cemented shut with unnamed fears. In retrospect, that was conditioning, it was not the essence of my nature. I walked around with perpetually knitted brows, the corners of my mouth turned down in concentration.

    Now I smile. A lot. The liberation brought about by embracing it all as god has relieved a tremendous burden of trying to set things right, even in my own small way. It allows the universe to unfold before my grateful eyes, bit by bit, day by day. It opens me to encounters; to recognizing there are many sides to stories, even those I believe I have understood.

    Thanks, Shakti, for another wonderful post! Aloha.

    • Dear Bela,

      Loved the images as you pondered over the concept of ‘Crucible experience’. Indeed the Phoenix as it rises out of the ashes, does so as another Avatar. And as the tectonic shift takes place. the current order fundamentally shifts to another. Both are great examples.

      The Crucible experience is really a trial and a test, a point of deep reflection that forces one to question who he is really and really matters for him. It requires one to examine one’s values, question one’s assumption and hone one’s judgement. And invariably a person emerges from the crucible stronger, more sure of himself and his purpose- changed in some fundamental way.

      One of the most common types of crucible is the experience of prejudice. This can be particularly traumatic since it forces the person to confront a distorted picture of himself or herself (the picture presented by the person displaying prejudice) and can unleash reactions of anger, bewilderment and even withdrawal. However this prejudice crucible can be a clarifying experience allowing the individual to gain a clearer picture of who he is, the role he plays and his place in the world.

      However, there do exist alternative ways to shift our awareness of the world and consequently our way of being. Reading your comment seems to indicate you may be an example of that. I would acknowledge you for that.

      As always, you have come in with a great comment.

      Shakti

      • Thanks, Shakti! Yes, my husband was a jeweler for awhile, years ago. When I think of the crucible, I also think of burning away firescale on gold as well. Aloha!

      • That’s a lovely perspective dear Bela!

        Neuroscience reveals that 80% of how a situation occurs for us is already part of elaborate models in our minds in the form of our Worldview and Frames and reference. These effectively put us “on rails” and do not allow us to ‘think out of the box’. A Crucible Experience can lead to fundamental changes in our mental models, allowing new thinking possibilities. In that sense it does burn away the ‘firescale on the gold as well’ as you say.

        Once again, thank you for bring in this new visualisation for me. I can see that you are a visual person!

        Shakti

  5. It’s an uplifting story where Sherpa Bahadur move beyond human ego to enjoy life to the hilt and embrace his friends. The quake makes me realize that it’s pointless to hold on to ego and love our folks.

    • Hi Vishal,

      Indeed, it is events like the an Earthquake which can fundamentally shift our world view and the sense of priorities that we hold.

      Thank you for your kind acknowledgement of the story. I appreciate.

      Shakti

  6. Thank you for this wonderful blend of dramatised philosophy, together with such very helpful pragmatic advice Shakti. I recognised the sense that you describe of a certain power of character, or clarity of will, that sometimes descends upon us. My choice of words there is deliberate, for it does not feel as if a well-spring floods the mind from within, rather more that it comes from outside of what we think of as ourselves, and perhaps this is why it is not identified with emotively?

    • Hi Hariod,

      Thank you and that is a wonderfully powerful thought that you have brought into this space.

      Yes, it is a certain shift in the way we start seeing and relating to events. As also our core attachment to them and the priorities we need to set up for ourselves as we set about dealing with them.

      To me these are some of the essential skills that allows an individual to find meaning from a debilitating experience.
      1.Ability to engage others in a shared meaning. In other words, the vision of a created future which addresses the concerns of all those who are involved and into which future everyone comes to live into by taking appropriate actions in the present.
      2.A distinctive and compelling voice. In other words using the power of language.
      3.Adaptive capacity- the ability to transcend adversity with all its attendant stresses and emerge stronger from that experience. This is comprised of two primary qualities. Viz. (1) Ability to grasp context which requires to weigh in different factors, how different constituents might perceive the situation to putting in the situation in a perspective and (2) Hardiness which is the perseverance and toughness that enables a person to emerge from a devastating circumstance without losing hope.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  7. Hi Shakti….Good one again 🙂 I can hear the wheels in my brain turning quickly. It is so frustrating that these radical mind shifts always seem to come about with near death experiences! Which ever soul finally figures out a way to replicate the process without almost dying will be a multi billionaire. I totally agree with all the suggestions you wrote down, there is just one problem however. It seems next to impossible to force those mind shifts to take place. As the old saying goes “easier said than done”. I so wish that were not the case. If you have discovered easier ways to bring these shifts about, please write part two of this tale and fill me in on what I am missing. Thanks for your thoughts…I’ve been contemplating the same things lately. Great minds think alike I guess. 🙂 Have a great week and be well my friend…Blessings…VK

    • Hi VK,

      Thank you for the so very thoughtful comment you have brought in. Yes, you are right when you say that radical mind shifts are linked to life altering ( and sometimes threatening!) crucible events.

      I agree , we cannot force these mind shifts to take place. But should we hold a passion about a particular way of being, we can then lower our mental ‘draw bridges’ and allow the related mind shift in. In my post, I have showcased a few of the important mind shifts that we may be seeking. The access could be through sincerely answering the related questions there and see what opens up.

      While I have not thought of writing another post on this, should you seek more clarity, I would be happy to support through email.

      I truly appreciate your presence VK.

      Shakti

      • Thanks Shakti….I’ll do some inner searching on your questions and see what unfolds…I have found it is not an easy process to get to this place of radical mind shifts…Still trying 🙂 VK

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