A young Native American with a notoriously bad attitude was once taken into the desert by a wisdom teacher who would soon become his mentor. This wise old medicine woman could see that the young man was falling into the abyss of drug abuse, self hatred and self destruction. She had the young man create a circle of stones about 6 feet in diameter. She then told him to stand inside the center of the circle. Over the next hour she walked him through each direction, north, east, south, west, and explained the beings, both internal and external that the young man would meet as he faced outward to the world.

“But notice something”, she said, “no matter which direction you face, or who you are facing, you are always first and foremost in relationship with yourself, you can turn to face every new direction, but you are always still standing inside the circle of your own being. This is why the most important thing in life is to develop a healthy relationship to your self. As you love yourself first, then you are able to give love and respect to all beings. Self hatred is the cause of hatred of others.”

That young man went on to become a widely respected Artist, Author and Wisdom teacher in his own right. His name is Hyemeyohsts Storm.

Meditation can be an extremely powerful tool for peering into the world of your inner thoughts and understanding how we talk to ourselves inside our minds. As you may know we are constantly running thoughts, images and even songs through our minds (who has not been crazily annoyed by a wayward song on the brain?).

One of the purposes of meditation is to clearly see this “internal dialogue” and to asses whether your thoughts and inner feelings are benefiting you and your life or stifling your possibilities. Imagine being able to immediately notice that annoying song you can’t stop singing and replace it with a positive affirmation or even a peaceful silence. Such is the power of meditation.

Many ancient cultures have the saying “the mind makes the human.” And “As you think so you are.”

Think about this deeply for the day, observe how you talk to yourself in your mind. See if you can be your own best coach inside your head. I have found that I need to be extremely diligent and observant of my mind to see through old patterns and conditioning.

One of the things that has been tremendously helpful to me is taking an integrated approach to health. When I am in great shape, walking everyday and lifting weights, my meditation gets very deep and a natural confidence and positivity arise effortlessly. My qigong practice then also deepens and I feel full of energy love and compassion for myself and others.

One thing is for sure, being your own best coach requires you to take action and to believe you can get back in control of your life especially if you are feeling depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. But the rewards for that action will be deeper peace, satisfaction and confidence.

Developing you inner coach means being your own best friend, pushing yourself to persist in the face of difficulties, and daring to dream big and live your dreams. Think of one thing you would love to do or achieve in this lifetime and use the voice of the inner coach to begin plotting your way to get there…the journey is what you make it and your inner voice will determine what you can achieve.

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James Whittle is a healer, a practitioner of energy medicine, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine: www.blueridgeclinic.com, a sought after speaker in alternative and complementary medicine, a writer, and the founder of two companies: for the finest organic matcha green tea in the world visit: www.living-qi.com, to learn about losing weight with Chinese medicine and controlling blood sugar and sugar cravings visit: www.tcmnutra.com

©James Whittle, All Rights Reserved, 2009.