Friday, Feb. 17-2023
Grammy-award winning R&B artist Cory Henry released a song in 2022 entitled, “Happy Days.” The chorus of the song invites the listener to sing, “let’s create some happy days.” This chorus speaks to the truth of life. Happy days are created-one choice at a time.
A popular Unity teaching referred to as the law of mind action suggests our thoughts and intentions have creative power. Thoughts, however they may arise, coalesce within our minds and form a force so strong that they influence our perceptions, judgements, and eventually our decisions. If you’re familiar with this sort of teaching then you understand very well that the thoughts and intentions you hold in mind tend to replicate after their own kind. What’s unfair to us as humans is many of these thought processes happen on a subconscious level, right beneath our conscious awareness.
Remember to give yourself grace. The negative traits developed within the personality are no doubt an adaptation to a stressful environment. So you coped as best you could; you did what you had to do to get by- we’ve all been there. With a newly constructed healthy mental attitude and a safe environment, you can begin to choose the type of mental attitude that lifts you up to a more joyous and harmonious state within yourself. With that inner, life-affirmative power, you can organize the circumstances of your day so that the world around you matches your inner law. If you’d like to work with someone to help you do this, there is nothing wrong with asking for the help you need. There are therapists, counselors, and clinicians everywhere. In some cases, a healthy support system of family, friends, and community provides good reinforcement. After all, this is your life we are talking about- working on yourself can be too much at times to do alone.
It is true that intrusive thoughts arise within our minds, perpetuating secondary trauma. Intrusive thoughts are ideas that bombard the mind without an invitation. Secondary trauma is caused by the re-exposure to negative experiences we’ve faced in the past; these thoughts tend to occur in a mental feedback loop. They don’t make us feel good because the sting of the day that went wrong is still there. We are pulled back into a moment-by-moment playback of negative experiences so real, it can feel as if you are right back in that negative scenario again. Buddhist psychology defines this mind-gripping state as “Shenpa.” Shenpa describes the mind’s grip, almost like a rope that binds you to a specific interpretation of an external experience. However, for as much as you are bound to the interpretations of your life’s experience that are depressing, anger-inducing, and stressful, you can find freedom.
The more healthy practices you bring into your day that are life affirming, the more you are able to buy back your mental freedom. Over time, by becoming aware of how these moments arise, you can become better at getting free. With that freedom, you are empowered to build a day with as minimal triggers of the negative you’ve experienced in the past that you can. There will be setbacks where you may find yourself drifting back into old habitual patterns of negative thinking. But if you think about it, the skill you are building is the capacity and strength to become the person you want to be, rather than yielding to the habitual pattern of the person you used to be.
Set an intention to have a happy day today; adopt a life-affirming mental attitude, and make one choice at a time that reinforces the good you want to experience.
Rev. Jesse Eugene Herriott, M.A. is the Spiritual Leader of Unity of Birmingham, AL. He is a writer and spiritual teacher whose work explores the soul of what it means to be human, through the lens of spiritual practice & western psychotherapy. He is an ordained priest in the UAIC Interspiritual community, an ordained metaphysical minister with IMM, and currently is in the process of completing Unity’s Special Dispensation program to become a licensed & ordained Unity Minister. He completed bachelor’s and master’s from the University of South Carolina and Keiser University, respectively. He also holds post grad certificates in Geropsychology, Organizational Psychology, & Clinical Trauma Support. In 2015 he was selected by Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA to be inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Clergy & Scholars. To find out more, join us online via facebook, or meet us in person for our Sunday Morning Celebration at 11am Central at Unity of Birmingham.