Taming the flame: How to live in the now

“Taming the mind is not about controlling your thoughts, it’s about seeing the illusory nature of thoughts until you feel distance from them and no longer react in a habitual way.”

The quote above came from an interview with best-selling author Dan Millman whose book inspired the movie “The Peaceful Warrior“.

Now here’s a man who has spent decades practising life. Not just doing, going through the actions of existence. He actually aims to practise, and get better, at everything he does, all the time. 

His experiences travelling, counselling, reading and training have enabled him to gain perspective on life and on humanity which he has synthesised in a way that is meaningful to us all. 

His idea above about taming the mind- essentially, mindfulness- is one that has practical applications in classrooms. https://ateacherislikeacandle.wordpress.com/2020/07/23/happy-candles-can-change-the-world/

Too often, children focus on their feelings and emotions as though they are wrong or they are all-consuming, and simultaneously they remove focus from what they actually can control- their actions and behaviour. 


 Mind Full v. Mindful by Heidi Forbes Öste on Flickr under CC BY 2.0

Some fantastic training in peer mediation is called “Bridge Builders” by Jocelyne Chirnside of Empowering Life Skills. One of the core learnings of this course is that feelings are natural (let them be, and see them pass) but your behaviour is up to you.

Dan, similarly, proposed a path to happiness as such: when you feel anger, act with kindness, when you feel fear, act with courage, when you feel hatred, act with love. 

He also quoted Mark Twain “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened” to emphasise the futility of focusing on anything but the present moment. 

Teach kids to use the remote control that they only they hold, for their brain, and to “change the channel” when thoughts arise that are unhelpful.

Give them a purpose, keep them busy, don’t feed their anxieties by modelling catastrophising.

Don’t bemoan ageing- far too many people, taken to soon, were denied this privilege.

Remember, there’s a reason the title of right now is synonymous with a gift.

And if you want to change your past? Then make the present super fantastic, because very soon, it will be your past.

Think about what stories you would want to reminisce about on your deathbed, think about the legacy you want to leave behindhttps://ateacherislikeacandle.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/your-candle-burned-out-long-before-your-legend-ever-did/, and make them happen.


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One comment

  1. Emotions can become all consuming and reacting based on how we feel e.g. lashing out because we feel angry is not useful. Focusing on what we want to achieve and the action we can take in the now is when we become truly effective.

    Liked by 1 person

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