The Mind Is Everything

Ashley Johns helps you to harness the power of your mind. Change your life, find happiness, and take control of your future.

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Buddha

Food May Be The Cause of UnhappinessEven 2500 years ago, one man and his followers believed undeniably that the mind conquers all.  I once took an Eastern Civilization class where I found myself connected to the Buddha’s ideas and ways of living.  I had always known that when I was sad, it was because I was allowing myself to be sad and when I was happy it was because I was responding to something that made me happy.  It has always been easier to be happy than to be sad or troubled.  I think that’s true for all of us.

Buddha believed every living being has the same basic wish - to avoid suffering.  As we have evolved as humans, it seems we have gone in the direction of seeking happiness in external sources, rather than looking inward.  We look to our high status jobs, money, dream houses, fancy cars, pretty clothes, cool friends, big trips, good food and ever-striving beautiful appearances as a means of being happy.  These things are material and temporary.

We believe things such as food and money bring us happiness but most often, they are the cause of our unhappiness.  One of our main interests as humans is food.  The food we eat is also the principal cause of our mental and physical unhappiness, our ill health and suffering.

I have to wonder, when did we lose touch with finding and knowing our inner happiness?  How did we grow into a society of striving for perfection, wanting everything now and believing happiness comes from acquiring more and feeling less?  It’s no longer about being better than your neighbor, it’s about striving to be better than everyone.  What do all of these things have in common?  They are all selfish desires; selfish being the operative word.

I believe most people probably have to think very hard about what true happiness should mean because we have grown so accustomed to this false way of thinking, that has created a false life.  But this is how we live and this is what we know.  We can’t choose to live in another time where people embraced being selfless over selfish and where being happy with oneself meant being a good person to yourself and to others.  The truth is, we are living in today’s society that is completely opposite of this.  The only world we can run to for answers is our own mind.  Even here we have lost sight of the power of this complex organ.  We are what seems to be so “out of touch” with the truest and simplest form of happiness, your state of mind.

As a result of this way of thinking, when we encounter difficult situations, when things go wrong in our life and when we are unhappy with what our life has unfolded to be, we tend to regard the situation itself as the problem.  In reality, whatever problems we experience, come from the side of the mind.  We each choose to respond to every situation in the manner we choose to.  This can be a negative or positive response.  If we were to respond to difficult situations with a positive mindset, they would not be problems for us, instead, we may even come to regard them as opportunities for growth and development.  Problems, on the other hand, arise when we respond to situations or difficulties in a negative state of mind.

The point: If we want to be free from problems and anything that holds us back from being who we truly want to be, we must learn to control our mind.  Everything starts in the mind.  Everything ends in the mind.  Everything in between, well, is in the mind.

To be Free of Problems Control Your Mind

In the matter of health and fitness, this struggle is what I find separates those that succeed from those that withdraw.  It is so easy to stay in the same ways we’ve known for so long.  Open the bag, reach in, stuff it in your mouth, taste the cheese crunch, do it all over again.  In fact, do it until you can’t eat any more.  This is a mindset, a habit and an addiction and that’s why it’s so hard to break out of it and easy to stay in it.

How hard is it to change your lifestyle in the area of health and fitness.  It has become one of the most, if not the most, challenging area to control in the life of an American.  Obesity and health issues are only rising year by year.  It has been reported that 1 out of 2 children born after 2010 will have diabetes.  When I heard that I thought, wow.   It makes sense to me though.  The choices we have been making year by year have added up to a nation of rising health issues and more and more deaths each year, than ever before, due to these health issues.  We have more and more technology each year but then why aren’t things changing.  It’s because we aren’t changing.  I ask myself, could we be the prevention of this rather than the cause.  The answer: only if we change.  That means changing our mind.

Changing my eating and fitness habits is the most challenging thing I have ever had to do.  Because of that, it has made my gain the most rewarding of all rewards I have received in my life.  I had many setbacks in my journey of losing weight.  It was hard to get in the gym with all the other people who were more experienced, to change my way of eating, to give up all those great foods I became so accustomed to enjoying, to experience plateaus and have to fight with my patience but I never let myself quit.  That was the difference this time from any other time I had tried to lose weight but failed.  I realized at this time that my mind had grown and strengthened, significantly.  I was able to do the thing I wouldn’t have been able to do a year before.  I did this by deciding to change and by taking it baby step by baby step.

"A jug fills drop by drop." - Buddha

I recently watched a National Geographic special on Sumo Wrestling where I learned the Yokozuna of Sumo was the wrestler who has reached the rank of grand champion.  There are more than one, but the Yokozuna they followed in this video, Yokozuna Asashōryū, left his mark on me.  He was a big man with a gentle personality.  He talked about the sport of Sumo and how balance and knowing your opponent’s weaknesses are integral to winning.  He said of the sport of Sumo, “winning is the goal.”  He went on to say that, to win, you must use your skills but mostly your mind.  I could not help but relate his beliefs and motivations with his sport to the attitude I have created in getting better in diet and fitness.

Then he said something that really triggered a response in my mind.  He said, “when I approach the ring, I am not thinking of losing or how my opponent looks and what he could be thinking, I’m thinking that I’ve already won.”  He went on to say, “I find the way to take my opponent down, I find his weakness and I take him down.  This is about winning and being the best and that’s how I envision myself.”

This is a powerful mind.

If only we can all take on this mindset, how would our lives change?

When we are unhappy with one facet of our life, it usually spills onto other facets, creating a domino effect of unhappiness and negativity.  Sometimes things are out of our control, but the one thing that is in our control is the power to change our health, our bodies and most importantly, our mind.

Ah, but how to gain control of your mind.  I believe there is a time for each of us where a turning point is the only option.  Maybe you hit rock bottom or someone else inspires you.  For me, I got to the biggest I would let myself get; I couldn’t be anymore unhappy or I would have withered quickly.  There is only one time YOU will be ready.  When you decide you are ready to move forward, YOU will do it.

"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path." - Buddha

When you do, your body will progress, as mine did.  When you do, your health will prosper, as mine did.  When you do, your mind will strengthen, as mine did.  When you do, your life will change, as mine did.

Join over 500k subscribers who receive weekly workouts, diet plans, videos and expert guides from Muscle & Strength.

5 STARS
19 VOTES
RATE THIS
About The Author
After 26 years of living unhealthy and eating whatever I wanted it was time to make a change. I lost 37 pounds and am now a fitness model and trainer.

10 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 01/09/2015 - 12:32
Toni

This article was truly inspiring, it helped me look at my own challenges with weight lose in a different light. Especially "a jug fills drop by drop"...thank you for this.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 06/19/2013 - 15:37
soccerist

Great article, and very motivating to start my day. Great body, Great mind, Great life :)

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/26/2013 - 00:11
Merrick

The fate of America is in the hands of Americans. Specifically taking responsibility for our health. ENOUGH with the bowing down and mindlessly serving of the fast food and processed food gods! They are killing us as a country. But before they do they're ripping money away from where it needs to go. Look up how much money we blow to deal with the obesity, diabetes and cancers in this country, related to what we eat and our eating habits. We'll never solve the debt crisis in the federal budget pouring hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions, down the obesity sinkhole. Look up how much more diabetes and cancers related to poor nutrition are costing in addition. It's staggering! We (American people) need to own up to this. America's problems are in the hands of the American people! So are many of the fixes. Just changing our nutritional intelligence and priorities. Can't say it any more straight than that. BTW: I'm practicing what I'm preaching. I'm 61. I've dropped 58 pounds. I work out regularly and my diet consists of strictly clean meats, vegetables and dairy products. Hell, I'm no better than any one else. I just made a choice. Everyone can make a choice.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 05/25/2013 - 23:52
Merrick

It's not corrupt government, federal (or even personal) overspending, wall street, ineffective politics or poor education that's going to ruin America eventually. It's the people from Maine to California who never choose to take any personal responsibility concerning their own health. Look up how much obesity is costing this country every year, and rising. And diabetes and cancer caused by poor nutritional choices. Bowing to the gods of fast and processed foods. Wake up people! C'mon! That load of money could go A LONG WAY to covering a lot of the financial problems we face. Problems that really we'll probably never get control of because we won't ever be able to find the money. Where's the money going? Being thrown down the sink hole called "health care" that we the people of the USA are creating because we WON'T STOP THIS INSANITY AND CHOOSE A DIFFERENT HEALTH PATH for ourselves, our families, our country!!! Can't say it any more straight than that. What are we going to choose to become? Fat and broke? Or a smart nutritionally responsible nation? We HAVE to choose... NOW!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 10/28/2012 - 03:29
Sanjay

I believe it is in our hand to give good food or bad food to our mind. If we see good movies or good songs then it reacts in same manner or vice versa. It is very good article. Thank u Johns.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/05/2010 - 20:28
andrew

fantastic article! smart and beautiful. two thumbs up

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 07/31/2010 - 21:08
Mike

This article was good. It was an interesting view and I agree with a good amount of it. Very well written, with good words from a beautiful author. Thumbs up!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/27/2010 - 21:05
dhavid

wow man nice!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 02/18/2010 - 20:39
Lucinda

Very thought provoking. Summed up, "The mind is a terrible thing to waste!"

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/11/2010 - 23:18
orlando

The mind is a powerful muscle and great article!!!