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Articles by Gregory Barrette
Free Your Mind - Greg Barrette
Do headlines and current events undermine your quality of life and affect your peace of mind? As long as the outer world can dictate your experience, your happiness will teeter precariously upon the shifting sands of circumstance.

When I was in my teens, I learned this lesson when family members joined political organizations with extreme views that did not reflect my values. To find some peace of mind, I began to practice meditation each day and spent regular time in nature. Even though I had to walk out of step with what was around me, I was able to follow the measure of what Thoreau called "a different drum". This liberated and prepared
me for a life of my own direction. Since then, inner practices and outer communities have been helped me to create a mindset that is somewhat independent of the headlines of the day.

The way to move from an outer-determined life to an inner-directed one is by turning off outer stimulus and taking the time to find your own center of peace. As you double down on your inner spiritual practices, you generate a protective bubble of self-identity and establish healthy boundaries of thoughts and feelings.

Shel Silverstein wrote:

There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long,
'I feel that this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.'
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend or wise man can decide what's right for you - just listen to the voice that speaks inside.

Self-determination is both an internal and an external process. Recovery groups, therapy, mentoring, coaching, and the support of healthy friends can help initiate this kind of shift. Walks in nature, silent times of devotional prayer, reading, meditation and quietly unplugging from the outer world can also sustain your mental and
spiritual health.

When Emerson wrote “Nothing external to you has any power over you” he was talking about establishing healthy self-differentiation and boundaries. Often, your opportunities for growth will come disguised as difficult environments that do not appear to support that kind of mental health at first, but ultimately will become your proving ground of spiritual freedom.