Karl Clancy: 'All our stresses are born in our minds and carried by our bodies'

The Everyday Mystic column in The Nationalist

Karl Clancy


Karl Clancy



Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

The Everyday Mystic, Karl Clancy

How do we make the leap from wanting to break cycles of negative thinking or negative outcomes in life?

How can we think ourselves happy? Can we really do that and if so, what’s the process?

Well, it all begins with realising that nothing happens unless we make it happen.

What I mean by that is that we see things as either good or bad, we see opportunities or obstacles and how we have been taught to see life, either by parents, teachers, media or ourselves and our experiences and their outcomes, greatly influences this.

All our stresses are born in our minds and carried by our bodies!

I like to say that we carry stress like luggage, using our shoulders and neck.

We actually imagine stresses into being, whether as memories of the past or expectations of the future.

Whatever the mind holds to be true becomes true as “perception is reality”.

This is all well and good until we find ourselves focusing on the negatives, that animal response we talked about before, the one that looks at what could go wrong to keep us safe or what went wrong before that makes us fear what could go wrong now.

It’s quite the vicious circle and so easy to fall into that trap.

Our ability to see positives depends a lot on how much negativity we carry, how well we have trained ourselves to listen to the negative voice in our heads and the way we see the world based on that negative bias, so to be positive we have to learn to retrain our negative thoughts into positives.

When we do our mind cultivates positive thoughts, promoting positive outcomes and leading us to a positive life view.

We really can think ourselves into happiness, not that it’s that easy to do, it’s a constant practice to choose the positives.

Even to see the positives can be difficult but even if the only positive in a situation is the lesson learned then take that as the positive and move on.

We have to make it a habit, not just to see life as neither half full nor half empty but full of potential and possibilities instead.

Then we learn to choose the options that are best, not just for ourselves but for everyone! That’s how we raise everyone’s positivity, by learning that the wellbeing of all is my wellbeing too.

After all, we are one human race.

When we get this habit down we can use the energy we save not concentrating on negatives to “be more present”.

What does that even mean? We can’t really focus on that until we clear the negative clutter.

Then we can focus on what it means, which is just being acutely aware of yourself.

Seeing your thoughts, your emotions and your environment and interactions as if you were watching yourself thinking, feeling and doing, is what being fully present is about.

This practice allows you to see everything as if it wasn’t actually you, as if you were a passenger in your mind, letting you in turn just pause and not think, detaching from daily life to just sit and chill!

That’s the idea behind meditation and it’s also the simplest way to describe your purpose on this earth, just to be, to experience life and living with no concentration on the past or future, having no needs or wants right now, in this moment.

That’s what “being” means.

That’s our basic purpose and then there’s our specific purpose, the one we give ourselves, and that’s something completely different.

It’s the focus we bring to “doing’” so that we can measure “being”. It’s “being” in action and it can take the form of any activity that we can imagine, to which we give our whole awareness and focus, be it gardening or taking a walk or going to the gym.

The main point to remember is to work on being really aware of the details in the moment without overthinking them and trying not to think at all, just go with the flow!

This purpose lets us meditate actively when it’s used for our benefit but we also have to be careful not to devote ourselves so much to anything that we become lost in it and become slaves instead.

Take the example of someone for whom their job is their world, their passion and their purpose.

When they retire we find that they fade because they defined their “being” with “doing” and in giving up doing the job they loved so much they lost their purpose in life.

The same can be said of someone who takes up a new interest, a new challenge or a new pursuit of any kind.

The passion for the new knowledge and feelings can make us blinkered to everything else and lose balance and perspective by becoming completely immersed and forgetting to be aware of everything else too.

So we can see that it’s important to nurture positive thoughts and positivity in general, in ourselves and in how we deal with others and with the world at large, to clear our minds and leave ourselves open to all of life’s potential.

Just be careful that when you do that you aren’t just creating a space for you to build a prison of purpose, because your first purpose is just to be, your second purpose is to see how you can grow positively to become the very best possible you and your third purpose is to want that and work toward creating a world that fosters that for you and for everyone else.

You can listen to Clonmel’s The Everyday Mystic on Spotify.