A Course in Miracles

The Chain of Miscreation

The Chain of Miscreation
Who do you want to be ?

The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind

Dr. Wayne Dyer

The law of attraction states that like attracts like. Like the old saying goes – “Birds of a feather flock together.” This definitely applies to thoughts – especially mine.

Have you ever woken up with one or two worries or negative thoughts, and then before you know it, it feels like the whole day has gone to hell in a handbasket? I have! And I wanted to know why that was happening. It’s no fun. I prefer to be happy.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a student of A Course In Miracles which refers to this kind of phenomena as “The Chain of Miscreation.” Basically it means that one or two negative thoughts early in the day have the power to multiply and accumulate, and effectively make the day stressful and unhappy.

When I started taking inventory of my days, I found that it is the first hour of my day that seems to set the stage for the entire day. Whatever thoughts I have in that hour seem to amplify and ripple out over the course of the day, often-times gaining strength.

If I am happy in that hour, all goes well. Over the course of the day, I’m peppy, productive, not so hungry and generally I’m pleasant to be around. BUT, if negative thoughts creep in and remain during that hour, the day can turn out to be stressful, emotionally turbulent, and it is on those days that I really want to eat counter-productive food choices (vegan junk food that is high in salt, sugar, and fat). This is to be expected since it is the salt, sugar, and fat that people tend to crave when stressed. It gives the brain a shot of dopamine (a neuro-transmitter in the brain that gives us a rush of happiness).

There is a scientific explanation for what I have discovered about my magical morning times! It all revolves around the brain’s Default Mode Network.

The Default Mode Network is a network in our brains that is particularly active when our brain is in a state of wakeful rest. When the Default Mode Network is engaged, that is when we tend to ruminate.

Rumination is defined as obsessive thinking about an idea, situation, or choice especially when it interferes with normal mental functioning.

I don’t know about you, but rumination has never served me well!

The concept of a Default Mode Network has come about since researchers discovered that when we are at rest we experience higher-than-expected levels of brain activity. At-rest means that we are not engaged in a specific mental task, but just resting quietly (i.e. daydreaming, recalling memories, envisioning the future, etc.)

This leads to rumination which directly feeds the ego, which is never a good thing.

For me, the ego is an acronym for Edging Good Out (of my day), because that is exactly what it does!

The good news for us ruminators (you know who you are) is that the default mode network reduces activity when we are engaged in a particular task such as paying attention. When the Default Mode Network is not as active, other areas of our brains are engaged and we tend to be more logical in our thinking.

So this makes sense to me. Upon waking, my Default Mode Network is engaged and if I’m not careful, I can be prone to focusing on something stressful that happened the day before, or something coming up soon that I am not looking forward to. Whatever the case may be, a negative thought first thing in the morning can take root and grow throughout the day. Like kudzu!

So what do you do to prevent this from happening????

For me, the solution lies in getting up, out, and about. When I wake up, I don’t usually stay in bed. I get up and immediately make the bed, and think about the placement of the pillows, checking for wrinkles, etc. I also find it helpful to engage curiosity (which has been shown to reduce the activity of the Default Mode Network). I wonder what the weather is like, or what the temperature is at the moment. I wonder what Kevin is up to in the other room. This may sound silly, but this simple act has engaged my brain in thinking and has started to reduce the activity in my Default Mode Network.

Once the bed is made and I am dressed, I join my partner, Kevin for coffee and fun morning conversation. It’s the highlight of my day. He always knows how to make me laugh.

Once coffee time is over, I get in the car and drive either to the gym, or the beach. While driving, I listen to something inspirational for 10-15 minutes. (Longer, if I am commuting to work). A nice workout with pleasant exchanges with fellow gym-goers, or a leisurely walk on the boardwalk or the shore (again, with pleasant exchanges with fellow walkers) is a nice way to start the day. And again, my mind is engaged and is less-prone to rumination.

Does this guarantee a fabulous day? Sometimes, but not always – depending on how busy my day is and whether I might be heading towards feelings of being overwhelmed with tasks. On days like that, I have to supplement this exercise with a few other tactics from my anti-stress toolkit; my problem solving repertoire, as it were.

So, on to the steps:

  • RESPOND: When something triggers me (does anything to make me unhappy, stressed, fearful, agitated, etc.) there needs to be a response. For me, it is usually meditation. For you it might be that, or a walk, or a breathing exercise, listening to a favorite song, reading an inspiring quote, reading or watching a spiritual teaching, etc. The goal here is to recognize that something has happened and then counter it with something that can take your mind off of the aggravating nature of the issue which therefore relaxes and calms you (other than food, drugs, alcohol, etc.)
  • ASK FOR GUIDANCE: I believe in a higher power. When I am triggered, while meditating, I ask my Higher Power for guidance. The response may come in the form of an intuition, or a strong feeling, or sometimes nothing comes at all. The point here is to at least ask for some help, even if you don’t believe in God, Higher Power, etc. Perhaps just sit outside for a moment (even in a busy urban environment), tune in to nature and let the question run through your thoughts, and at least consider being open to recognizing any subtle positive and loving messages that may come to you in the form of an a-ha, an intuition, or perhaps even a strong desire.
  • GIVE BACK GOOD VIBES: If someone in particular has upset me, I send good thoughts their way. If a situation triggered the upset, send love to it.

Here’s where I am going with this…… For me, the first hour or so of the day is a workout of sorts. Its in that hour that I flex and build my emotional, spiritual, and physical muscles, thus creating a certain resilience for the day. This leads to a happier, healthier me. I supplement that with a system of recognizing when something that has occurred that has the ability to interfere with my happiness, and then I address it with some healing steps.

Give it a try sometime! I highly recommend it. Do it for a few weeks let me know what you find! If you need help with it, let me know!

Published by Tony Buffkin