Changing Our Relationships With Our Thoughts: Mantra Yoga + Health interview

Here is the unabridged full interview.  A partial interview was included in issue 9 of Mantra Yoga Health magazine.

Laying in a hospital bed with 15 prescriptions each day ruling his life,
Sam Shelley finally said, “Enough!” His life had been a long series of illnesses, each one more crippling than the last. At age 6, a hit and Mantra  Yoga Healthrun accident with a van nearly killed him. Since then, the hospitalizations for depression and the anxiety began, eventually morphing into bi-polar disorder, suicidal tendencies and finally multiple sclerosis. During one particularly tough hospital stay, Sam experienced a profound shift — an awakening — that forever changed his life. Eighteen months after that shift, Sam slowly awakened and is today symptom-free (and drug-free).

Here’s how he did it:

Mantra Yoga + Health: Sam, your story is amazing. How did you first realize that meditation would help?

Sam Shelley: I didn’t know it would, but I began to read and was curious how meditation and mindfulness might work for me. I started to get very quiet and over time, I began to see that the thoughts I was having weren’t “me” — they were separate entities. I continued to meditate and separate myself from the thoughts — just note them as they floated by — and one day, I had an awareness. A clarity that spoke the words “perfect spirit” to me, and I then realized that my spirit — who I was — was pure. It was my thoughts that were not — and they were separate from me. I could choose to believe that “perfect spirit” was truth and the thoughts began to have less and less power.

Slowly, the ill health that had been plaguing me for so long began to dissipate. I worked with my doctors to reduce the drugs I was on, based on the reduction in symptoms, and following my perfect spirit, became stronger each day. I now see this as a true awakening and I feel strongly that I’m not that special — this ability is available to each of us, if we choose to see our thoughts as separate and re-write the things we tell ourselves each day.

MYH: If this remarkable ability is available to each of us, what can we do today that will start to make an impact?

SS: The process is a personal one but through a quieting of your life, your mind and then ultimately, listening and acting on your internal guidance, you can move your life in profound ways. One of the simplest things to do is cut out negativity from your life. We all have people in our lives who enjoy seeing the pain and suffering in life, and pointing it out — the news media is an excellent example of this. It’s an important part of the process to see negativity and not accept it into our minds — you’re not judging it, you’re merely deflecting and staying centered in your joy.

By quieting your life, removing as many negative influences as you can (remember: a stimulus only becomes negative to you in how you react to it) you then can focus on remaining positive and joyful through daily meditation and mindfulness techniques. There are as many techniques as there are people, so don’t limit yourself. Explore!

 MYH: That brings up a great point: we all have negative people and influences in our lives we can’t get rid of — family members, bosses, co-workers … how can we get rid of those sources of negativity?

SS: While you may not be able to get rid of family members or co-workers entirely, you can limit your exposure and, more importantly, limit how you engage with them. Shifting your perspective and how you interact with them may cause a profound change in the relationship — sometimes, it may even end the relationship. Your job is to stay in your power, in your joy and realize these people and influences wish to stay where they are as well — in their pain or discomfort. Something about their situation feeds them — even negatively — but it doesn’t have to impact you unless you allow it.

MYH: Clearly, you’ve shifted how you interact with the world and become an awakened spiritual teacher and healer. Can you share with us some of the ways you’ve achieved this and how we might be able to do this for ourselves?

SS: It really comes down to getting rid of the thoughts that hold you back from achieving your highest good, happiness and joy. I call myself an “anti-thought leader” because I’m working with people to help them see that thoughts are the things that hold us back. Don’t believe the “cops in your head”. The ones who tell you you’re not good enough or you don’t deserve happiness or success. These thoughts are fear … they are not meant for any other reason than to keep you from your true nature. Your true nature is pure joy and connectedness to love. My job is to help people reclaim their true nature. It’s simple but not always easy. Once it’s experienced, however, people rarely want to go back to how it was.

MYH: So, just by changing what I say to myself I can affect real change in my life?

SS: Absolutely. Thoughts drive our decisions, our relationships with others and how we feel about ourselves. Through my work, I have seen countless examples of people making themselves literally sick with worry. That phrase is real — they make themselves physically ill. I’m a prime example of that.

Shifting and taking control of your inner dialogue is the way out of a life of unhappiness and the way to do that is start a meditation practice today. Just by sitting with a guided meditation tape or music for 15 minutes each morning will start you toward true listening, true inner guidance. Most people want to know what to do or where to start and they waste time by asking this question over and over, all the while, remaining in their negativity that they can affect true change — there is but one answer: Just start by sitting.

Sam J Shelley – Awakened spiritual teacher, healer, and author.  Sam lives and works in the Philadelphia area and helps people to realize their true potential.  

Sam’s profound shift in consciousness resulted in a miraculous healing.  A healing that cannot be explained by his doctors, this healing took away all of his ailments and disabilities.   

His passion today is helping others remove the limiting “not good enough” beliefs.

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