Be still my overbearing mind…
What’s been so mesmerizing to me lately is just how greedy my mind is. How dramatic. And self-centered. Any thought I have, any sensation or emotion, and my mind immediately grabs it and wants to make it all about me. It wants to create this huge story out of it. And judge it. And come to conclusions about it. And make the thought or conclusion a permanent fixture that will affect every part of me until the end of time. Yup…it’s that full of itself.
It starts off with a thought. Maybe there’s a thought that crosses your mind that is a bit uncomfortable. So the mind jumps at it: “Aha!” it says, This is not just a thought randomly passing through the brain. This is about ME. I can figure it out. I can categorize it. And I can fix it! I’m going to make sure we keep ruminating and rehashing this thought again and again because it makes ME the centre of the universe.
Or perhaps it beings with a sensation. There is a twinge in your back. And your mind jumps at it as a perfect opportunity to create drama. It’s not just a twinge. It’s not just a sensation. No! It’s far more exciting! It’s a sign! It means something! Something important! Of course it doesn’t mean there’s just a feeling in your back. No! It means that there’s something seriously wrong with you that needs to be fixed. Which is certainly possible. It’s possible that you’ve really hurt yourself or a thought comes your way that will change your life. But most of the time, the thought is just a thought and the sensation is just a sensation.
The truth is…drum roll please…your mind is not you. If your mind was you, or you were really your mind, don’t you think you could control it a bit better? Did you ask for that uncomfortable thought to come into your brain? Probably not. Do you always think the thoughts you want? Again, likely not. So whenever you have a thought, it’s not that you are a bad person or you have to do something about that thought immediately, or that it must be a powerful sign that says something important about you. It’s just the mind doing what the mind does.
The exciting thing that I am coming to see more and more is that I have the power to decide how to respond to my thoughts. Because my mind is not me, I can take a step back from it, be curious about it, explore it, or realize that it’s just the mind doing what the mind does and isn’t helpful and therefore ignore it entirely.
Sometimes the mind is like a bully. What do bullies thrive on? Attention. How best to deal with bullies? Ignore them Or laugh at them. Your mind is a part of you, a very important part. But it doesn’t need to have ultimate power over you.
(If only it was as easy to do as it was to write about.) 😉
(And yes, I know I’m not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. But it just sounds wrong the right way.)
Image under Creative Commons license taken from Flickr.