Right Thinking & Awakening the Mind

Right Thinking & Awakening the Mind

Where you focus your attention, your energy will flow in that direction or you may know this saying better as: ‘Energy follows thought’. These days, staying focused on any thought is no small achievement. We live in a time of emotional and mental instability and no sooner do we attempt to complete one project another one pulls us in different direction. The world is full of things clamouring for our attention; even setting the sound and haptics of our smart phones is a full-time endeavour. And as if that is not enough as we watch the news on TV there is a ticker tape of breaking news distracting our thoughts from what the anchorman is showing or telling us on the screen.

Technological Advances

Each and every day we sit back dissatisfied and stressed as very little seems to be accomplished to our full satisfaction. It seems the key to getting things done is being able to concentrate for more than a few seconds on one object. We have to relearn how to concentrate our thoughts without the modern-day distractions that keep us busy doing nothing. The great technological advances which have made instant communication and global connection possible are a wonder and very useful and convenient for business and communication. But there is a flip side, these wonderful technological advances keep us so busy we fail to keep our attention on one thing for longer than a few minutes as we rush to answer another email or post on Facebook. It takes a very special person not to become overwhelmed by the demands and distractions that are presented to each and every one of us throughout the day.

Mindfulness & Meditation

One of the ways to train the mind is through the ancient practice of Mindfulness. This meditation practice has become increasingly popular in our culture and is used to help focus the mind on the present moment.  It assists an individual to develop a one pointedness of attention that stops the distractions and white noise of the external world.

More and more people are turning to meditation to bring calm, focus and even productivity into their lives. It’s as if people are appreciating, they have a mind and if they can use that mind correctly, they will be a lot happier than they are now.  Certainly, with the mind in control and not the chaotic emotions we do seems to be happier and more balanced people.

Mindfulness advocates that no daily is task is too menial to not have our undivided attention.  With everything we do we use the mind to keep us present and in the moment. If we are daydreaming and allowing the mind to go off on its own journey of thoughts and fantasies we will get nowhere.  Keeping the mind focused takes will power but it gets easier the more you do it. It is not hard to learn to control the mind, we just have to choose to take back control. With the mind back in control, our attention is not divided, and we can achieve all the things we choose to achieve each day. No matter how clever we are, we have to make choices and one of those choices may be to take back control of the mind. This is quite a relevant choice as each and every day we create thoughts by thinking. Now the trick is, we have to decide what we want to think about. Otherwise nothing will get done and our thoughts remain a distracted mess of chaotic emotional and mental reactions.

Right Thinking

Right thinking is not just about accomplishments and doing a good job in the home and office. Right thinking is clear thinking, based on right values and a sense of good will. Right thinking is not clouded with criticism, doubt, worry or fear. Very simply, right thinking raises us up; wrong thinking brings us down. And we are not just pulling ourselves down with wrong thinking, usually we managed to drag everyone else into the pit with us. Who would want to do that to their friends, colleagues or family?   As we focus on right thinking, we help others rise up as they are influenced by our right thinking and decide to think clearly and more compassionately.

As a human being it is a great responsibility to recognise and appreciate that energy follows thought. If the energy behind the thought is negative, then we are having a negative affect not just on our own psyche but also on the people within our environment.

Thoughts are things and with each thought, and indeed each word, we are building, creating something. Thoughts are creative because energy follows thought and on the mental plane something is created and will grow if fed. Once it is created, it leads and conducts energy according to its qualities of right or wrong thinking. Our whole system (mental, emotional and physical bodies) respond to these energies. The nature of the thoughts we have determines the kind of energy that builds our life.

This reminds me of that story about the wolf you feed.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,

“The one you feed.”

Pause for a moment and consider the thoughts you have about yourself. What wolf are you feeding? Are you raising ourselves up or pulling yourself down?

What Do We Want to Build?

The next consideration is; what do we want to build? What do we want to create? And how do we do that? Whether it’s something personal, political, social, or spiritual, we can create a great and wonderful vision and a plan, and we have the ability to hold onto it.  But it may require effort and only we can choose whether we have the right stuff to ensure right thoughts are the ethos we live by.

And of course, as we look to the world there seems to be so many problems that are overwhelming in their magnitude and complexity. We may become disheartened and think what’s the point, what can my little-self do to change things, the world is a mess I may as well join it.

Changing Ourself Not the World

However, we are not talking about changing the world we are talking about changing ourselves. Like each brick that creates the building, if we work at right thoughts, we ensure our particular brick is strong and secure. Our part of the tower will be safe. We will continue to influence the surrounding bricks with our right thinking. Eventually more and more bricks become safe as their quality is good and eventually, we have a solid tower that will stand for centuries because it has been created with the right stuff and is of good quality.

Are we prepared to work towards those solutions? Are we prepared to attempt to do what can be done with our own way of thinking? Are we able to think clearly and critical? Can we think in a detached way and with discernment? Are we willing to support other people, with our thoughts and speech? Will we work with them? There is so much to be done on the personal level. But the good news is this work we do at a personal level is already changing the world for the better.

We need to reclaim our thoughts and eradicate the criticism, fear and judgements that cloud our vision and minds.  We do that through focusing our intention on right thinking and awakening the mind to clear thoughts that are free of judgment. We do not need to meditate to do this, although meditation is a good training ground.

No-one else can do this for us, it requires our daily effort and endeavour to change ourselves. “This will not be accomplished by someone else, somewhere else, nor by any one leader or nation.”[i]

People believe the problems are too great and they ask, “What can we do?” The answer is simple, start thinking right thoughts and training the mind and the heart to think rightly. This is something we all can do, and we really must do if we want to live in a better world or more importantly leave a habitable world for our children and the generations that follow.

I will close with the wonderful words of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

The idea for this article came from the Lucis Trust global Triangles Meditation program to heal the world.

[i] Talk given by Alex Ratcliffe: Right Thinking: August 7, 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.lucistrust.org/blog_triangles

Battle for Hong Kong’s Psychological Wellbeing

Battle for Hong Kong’s Psychological Wellbeing

I live in Hong Kong (HK), and I love it here. My home is in a great area surrounded by hills. I enjoy the friendliness of the people, the buzz of the city and the hiking that is available throughout the territory. As a result, the recent HK protests have disturbed my harmony. But, I am not alone; many citizens are disturbed by what is going on. These are troubling times for all Hongkongers.  As a counsellor and psychotherapist, I am interested in the psychological damage being done to the people of HK as I consider how it can be minimised at an individual level.

Psychological Damage

This article is not about who is right or wrong in the ‘Battle for Hong Kong’ but about the emotional & mental damage being done to its people as a whole and at an individual level.  What can be done about the ensuing psychological damage?

Perhaps stopping to reflect and work out what we are feeling about these HK protests may be a good place to start. We have all protested in our lives against parents, authority and our peers, and we have been affected by the emotional fallout. But why have we been so affected, and why are some people more affected than others? Indeed, how can we minimise the emotional fallout, so we don’t do ourselves or our environment permanent damage?

I’m going to approach this subject in 2 ways:

  1. The larger subject of HK
  2. The smaller subject of the individual.

Who is Protesting?

There are people, mostly the younger generation, who are taking part in every protest and their intent is mainly peaceful. Families have been part of the protests but, in the main, it is the younger generation fuelling the protest effort. There are also many people who are avoiding the protest areas and not getting involved.

Social scientists have always been intrigued by the reason that people protest.[i] What is why one person takes part in a protest march whilst others stay away?  And taking it to a more intimate level, why is it that some family members rebel against, for example, parental control whilst others are never labelled as the ‘problem child’.

Are the young students taking part in the HK protests the problem children or are they the saviours of democracy? Your answer will depend on how you perceive the situation in HK.

HK is a resilient place and for those of us that live here the protests have created an invisible divide between those physically taking part and those others who are not involved and continue to get on with their daily lives. Outside the areas of protest, the city has carried on with ‘business as usual’. However, the mental stress that is caused by any protests affects the population as a whole. Even although we may not be holding hands copying the 1989 Baltic Way peaceful demonstration or walking through the streets of Kowloon, Causeway Bay or Central, we are affected by what is happening. There has been a reported increase in depression amongst Hongkongers.

Time Magazine

Time Magazine recently had as its cover page title “The Battle for Hong Kong” suitably supported by a fascinating picture of a street in Hong Kong which was filled with tear gas. It was a very dramatic image and one that must surely have caused an emotional reaction from all people who walked past the news-stand in Central, HK where the photograph was displayed. It certainly gave me an emotional ‘jolt’ when I saw it.

Hong Kong is generally considered an untroubled and friendly city so to have images like this one openly displayed, and on social media and the internet, must have a negative effect on its people. And the tensions that are growing between the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy groups within families, businesses, peer groups and friends is also taking its toll.

So why has one peaceful protest in HK led to months of protests and violence? A protest is a statement expressing disapproval about something. It can lead to violence and deep division if it is not negotiated correctly. And correct negotiations cannot happen between people who are completely entrenched with their thoughts and feelings. How we perceive situations and our environment will influence the statements we want to make in our lives.

The Perceived World

Social Psychologists believe that people live in a perceived world and their responses to their environment are a result of how they perceive and interpret it.[ii] For example, mainland China regards Hong Kong as a province of China and do not agree with the protests and are becoming more agitated with what is happening. Indeed, a former HK legislator said in the Time magazine report that: “We have to look at Hong Kong as a part of the People’s Republic of China, which happens to be governed by the Communist Party. That’s a reality check that many people seem not to want to deal with.” However, the students of HK perceive HK as a separate entity from China and want more independence from the mainland. Each group believe they are correct, hence the current situation and period of unrest.

Let’s bring it closer to home. How many parents have argued with their children about what they perceive to be acceptable behaviour and what is not acceptable? How many families are divided and no longer communicating as a result of divergent perceptions? Do social contexts influence the thoughts, feelings and actions of people to the extent that protesting through riots (collective action), violence, tears and stamping of feet (individual reaction) seem the only recourse for some?

Why do People Protest?

Before I continue, I think it would help our understanding if we had a little background information about why people protest. Over the decades the subject has been researched, and it is quite interesting to discover the common attributes of all protesters. This will also give us a clue about our individual protests and why we hold onto the associated negative emotions.

These HK protests are not the territory’s first. In 1989 1.5 million people took part in a protest in support for the participants of the Tiananmen Square protests. Within the smaller subject of individual protests, there has been such an increase in individual protests that family & couples’ therapy is now a growing branch of counselling and psychotherapy. This has resulted from internal family discord with one family member protesting about another.

Research by van Stekelenburg and Klandermans provides a theoretical and empirical overview of the psychology of protests which highlights common attributes.[iii] There are many reasons or triggers that cause people to protest, but only 3 will be highlighted:

Grievance – the perception that one is not receiving what one deserves. People get quite upset when they believe they are not being treated correctly. Respect and trust are key components to alleviating grievance. Violating a person’s principles leads to moral outrage and, in these situations, it is not the outcome that matters but the feeling of justice and how one is treated.

Identity – our understanding of who we are and who other people are. Our identity could be described as our place in society or the family. The place could refer to age, gender, ethnicity etc. Every person has a personal identity as well as a social identity. Having a strong personal identity means we are more likely to protest at any loss of that identity. However, if our social identity has dominance, we are more likely to join in group protests rather than individual endeavours.

Emotions – our emotions function as accelerators which propel us into action or amplifiers which make us have stronger emotions about a subject. Both interact and determine how we protest.

Grievance, identity and emotions are listed as 3 separate triggers, but they interact and cross-over in daily life. The people of HK have a grievance with the government, they are fearful of losing their identity and the emotional accelerators and amplifiers are fuelling the protests. The reason for their protests fits the criteria of research. I don’t need to cite an example for the smaller subject of each individual and what happens in our lives when we want to make a protest. Think about a situation at home or at work when you have had a grievance and the above triggers will be present.

And, now we know a little bit about the theory of protests, what can we do to lessen the emotional fallout.

Minimise the Emotional Fallout

In HK it is reassuring to note that some non-government-organisations (NGOs) are providing emotional support and the Red Cross has set up a confidential psychological support helpline. The emotional fallout in HK will be lasting and who knows what the result for Hongkongers and their future will be. The Battle for Hong Kong is not over, and there will be many more emotional casualties and depressed individuals. In the big picture or larger subject, the government and NGOs are the best ones to deal with what is happening.

In relation to the smaller subject of the individual and their need to protest, the solution to minimising the emotional fallout is relatively simple. It requires each one of us to stop being so emotional, to learn to think and even question what we are doing and why we are doing it.  If we have any sense, we realise that we cannot blame others all the time for our perceived grievances. We have to accept responsibility for what we do. Every actor in a show contributes to the whole production.

Ask yourself this question and then stop and ponder the answer: “As an individual what have I done to minimise the emotional distress caused by protests in my life?” You don’t have to be in HK to ask yourself this question. The protests in your life may have been about a personal grievance, identity or emotional crises or as the recipient of a person protesting about your behaviour.

There is no doubt that past protests, which are usually associated with hurts and grievances, can be like the groove of an old record when the needle gets stuck. The individual gets stuck in their tracks and is unable to move forward, which invariably leads to misery and unhappiness. It would be great if we could just reboot the brain like a computer or wipe the hard-drive and start again.

Changing Perceptions

Human beings have the bad luck to be psychologically a combination of all of our yesterdays. In order to move forward, we have to look back. If we can reflect on what has already happened with an attitude of detachment, we might be open to perceiving it differently. And, hopefully, not in a way associated with grievance and resulting in protests.  The solution is simple and really why do we want to complicate things when they are messy enough? All it takes is for each one of us to be willing to accept that our initial perception of any incident may not be 100% correct. This should allow the clarity to make an unbiased assessment of our reaction to the event. This is not about right or wrong or to allocate blame. But, the shift in perception would help a more empathic perspective to emerge towards ourselves and the others involved. The world would be a more peaceful place.

This may take some time. We may find there are some things we just cannot get over. But we might be able to have a more understanding perspective that prevents the protests of the past or present intruding in our life. Sometimes moving ourself out of the groove, so the music can play on, requires some truthful and deep self-reflection. Hiding what we are really feeling eventually leads to emotional dysregulation which results in negative psychological and physiological health outcomes.


Emotional regulation, or emotional self-regulation, influences our emotional responses. It requires us to look at and be aware of our internal emotional states, including both our reactions and our automatic physical responses. This requires us to become self-aware. We have to have an honest look at the ‘yesterday’ with no judgement of right or wrong and, if required, we may need to change our perceptions.

As Carl Jung, the renowned psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, said: “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

The secret to understanding the reason for our protests, and why we hold on to the accompanying negative emotions, does not lie out there in the streets of HK. It lies within ourself. How we perceive events will be pivotal in determining the motive behind our action or inaction. Being crystallised in our thoughts will keep the needle stuck in the groove with the grievance, identity and emotions becoming more entrenched. This leads to a dead-end.

In order for the music to continue, our perceptions have to change as we allow more balanced and empathic feelings to determine what we do. Then the negotiations can begin with a better understanding that allows for a solution to be found in the Battle for Hong Kong’s Psychological Wellbeing.

I live in HK and I love it here. I hope and trust that the simple concept of moving away from entrenched and crystallised thinking will enter the hearts and minds of all people as we allow new ideas and thoughts to shift our perceptions and bring back the harmony and peace, we all long for ……  wherever we may live.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”— Mary Engelbreit

[i] van Stekelenburg, J., & Klandermans, B. (2013). The social psychology of protest. Current Sociology61(5–6), 886–905. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392113479314

[ii] Stekelenburg, Jacquelien & Klandermans, Bert. (2013). The Social Psychology of Protest. Current Sociology. 61. 886-905. 10.1177/0011392113479314.

[iii] van Stekelenburg, J., & Klandermans, B. (2013). The social psychology of protest. Current Sociology61(5–6), 886–905. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392113479314

Global Triangles Meditation

Global Triangles Meditation

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Native American

Global Triangles Meditation

An Earth Healing Grid of Light
The global triangles meditation for earth healing is a very simple meditation that only takes a few minutes. Linked with two other people you form a triangle of light. You then connect to the global network of triangles as you visualise a lighted grid surrounding the entire planet giving healing to the earth, humanity, the animal and plant kingdoms.

It’s Easy to Do
You don’t have to be meditating at the same time as the others in your triangle group, as the power of thought is used in this meditation. Also, doing the meditation together is not required. As long as you do the meditation once a day, preferably in the morning, you will help bring about major changes for the earth and all its energy forms.

Global Triangles Meditation Group
Make the change happen and help the planet by being a part of the Global Triangles Meditation Group.

Contact Me
Email: liz@amindset.hk and I will arrange for two other people to create your Global Triangles Meditation Group. Or if you can form your own Triangle group, all I need are names and email addresses so I can register your Triangle with the Global networks  based in London, New York and Geneva.

Triangle Meditation

Quieten yourself and link with thought and purpose to your fellow triangle members.
Using the creative imagination, visualise the energies of light and goodwill circulating from point to point of your group triangle(s).
Then direct the flow of energy from your group triangle(s) into a worldwide network of triangles which is surrounding the planet. Your triangle(s) is a part of this worldwide network of triangles.
As you direct the energy into the worldwide network say the Great Invocation as you visualise light and love surrounding the planet and filling the heart and minds of all human beings.
Close the meditation.

The Great Invocation – Adapted
From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into human minds.
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into human hearts.
May the Coming One return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide all little human wills –
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the centre which we call the human race
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.

Adapted from the Lucis Trust

To find out more about Triangles

Spirituality in Higher Education

Spirituality in Higher Education

In 2003, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) did a study based on spirituality & higher education and how it can help students. The research involved 112,000 American college freshmen, then a follow-up survey of more than 14,000 of the students after they completed their junior year at scores of colleges and universities nationwide.

Spirituality in Higher Education

Religion vs Spirituality

It was identified in the study that before they arrived at college many young students struggled with religious beliefs, which were further questioned during their time at college. Many young people rejected the dogma of ritualistic traditional religions but embraced the concepts of spirituality.  They embraced the spiritual doctrines of a group community and working to improve the community and showing empathy towards other people.

Better Grades

A surprise finding was that the students who were more spiritual tended to perform better academically, they developed stronger leadership skills and were generally happier and enjoyed their time at college. It was not surprising that the research uncovered that students studying the arts were more likely to embrace spirituality than the ones that studied the sciences. It also identified that partying and an over exposure to television and video games inhibited spiritual growth.

Positives & Negatives

There were many positives but there was also the drawback that some students felt quite unsettled by the experience. They had difficulty when their whole religious belief structure was questioned and even negated by the spiritual philosophy. However, overall the study seemed to indicate the positive aspect of students investigating spiritual processes whilst they studied. It enabled them to learn to be in the present moment and not worry so much about exams and the future. The students reported feeling less stressed at a time when they were very busy juggling exam schedules, future ambitions and peer pressure.

Ground Breaking Research

This UCLA project was called “Spirituality in Higher Education” and it is ground-breaking research. It is probably the first time that a mainstream educational faciltity has embraced the prospect that education is not just about factual tuition. Instead, learning is a process of developing the mind and allowing the imagination and the creativity of those imaginations to run free whilst also applying logical analytical thinking to the assessment of an idea or concept. Whether it was through meditation, yoga, self-reflection, philosophical study the students felt different and better for the introduction of this spiritual syllabus.

Humanity: Physical and Emotional Crisis

Humanity: Physical and Emotional Crisis

What is happening to the world at this time is not just because of human causation. We are being affected by happenings beyond our present understanding and that is why we sometimes feel like a ping pong ball, being tossed here there and everywhere, feeling out of control and scared. Humanity is going through a crisis at a physical and emotional level. As individuals, during this present period, any unresolved karmic issues will present stronger and more painful than ever before.  What was a slight headache in the past will now be a migraine. Before, what was a little emotional happening will now cause psychological devastation. Hearts will be broken and so will minds.


Mental Health

This may explain the high rate of suicides and the deteriorating mental health that humanity is experiencing.  This will continue as long as we bury our head in the sand and ignore the bigger picture and the force or Rays that are coming from the universe during this transitional period in earth’s history.


The Rays and the Triangles

When you understand how these Rays affect the 3 energy centres in your head, which form the upper triangle, and the 3 energy centres below the heart, which form the lower triangle, you will be able to work effectively to minimise their effect. You will not stop the crisis that is happening, but you will be better equipped to manage it.

More information on this subject can be found in the Alice Baily book: Esoteric Astrology.

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