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Monday, 31 October 2011

Tricking the mind out of the negative

What I´m beginning to learn is this simple: 

It´s a matter of putting your head in the right place.

Feel good, think good, remember good memories, dream of bright futures.  As simple as that…keeping your head up.


Ahh, the trees are such a wonderful green, light seems to emanate from all that is living, friends call to say wonderful things, you can´t help but give compliments to people and really mean it because you feel you just can´t resist because it is so pleasurable to make people happy and its so wonderful to find someone who is willing to spend a little time to laugh together…it flows so far that you even love the feeling of water running over your fingers and washing up becomes a joy - bliss. 

And so we feel ourselves forever changed, closer to who we always wanted to be: a steady balance of peace, love, joy … and then without warning we are thrown amidst a day dream of how factories are burning black smoke, or the mother-in-law getting right on your…, or suddenly having no money and having to live on the streets and beg to aloof passersby...or worse still having a mortgage. 

And so we come to a Y, we can either roll up our sleeves and get right to it, wallowing in our difficulties, moaning about how everything is so unfair (because it is, it REALLY is) or we go walk the other walk and stay happy, even though all around are not, even as you go out on a leg, feeling a traitor to others´ delicate feelings, and find a route back into a positive feeling of knowing the universe showers us with blessings, providing all that we need, feeling all is in perfect harmony (because it is, it REALLY is).

And there you have it: The Big Y. Choosing to live well. Keeping our heads in a nice place, where we feel loved and secure and loving and comforting, and/or confident and sparkly and supported and lit up, and/or feeling at one with the world in quiet harmony, breathing in the beauty, feeling as strong as a light house as the world rocks around us constantly connecting with this inner peace and security. 

It is SO SO SO easy to fall from there.  Being in that loving-kindness attitude, it feels so easy to be there, as if mere child's play to balance on top of that dome of ice, so sure this state of peace and harmony will last forever.

Gradually, creeping up the back of the garden path, I sense I am being attacked (like really attacked) by thoughts that are destructive. Old familiar wounds, old familiar gripes, comfortable, thought through, homelike mind-patterns.  Maybe at first I am strong enough to ignore these my 'old friends', these destructive negatives, or to reason with them, but after a time, sometimes hours, sometimes days of them telling me repetitive negative things like a radio station in my mind and cunningly weaving them into my love creating thoughts, I begin to listen to them more, god only knows why, and I start to get right inside them, and feel how cruel it is, all of this.  Positive people are so naïve, I grumble, so out of touch with reality.  Everything suddenly reminds me of injustices, desperate futures, personal inadequacy and impotence, and I fall, fall crazily or seepingly into that vertigo that Milan Kundera describes as “the fear of not being able to stop oneself jumping off.” We fall, lovingly addicted to the exhilaration of it as much as we fear the end: the crash with the sensational earth.

Ohh and days and years I have spent in there…wallowing in it, finding myself as the centre of the world and doomed for every ill there could be. I get so ego-centric I begin to have a it-is-raining-just-to-ruin-my-day sort of attitude, and at the same time feeling so insignificant, so detached…

Which is a big difference actually - when we ponder - to feeling wonderfully on top of the world, connected to a unifying consciousness and able to send out love to all beings…really very quite different indeed.

The Letter Y was a sign of discernment and choice for the Pythagorians


And so, my friends, how can we face this dilemma, to stop us yearning and collapsing into the exhilaration of jumping off?

If it´s of any use I´m learning, like a toddler, to walk in the light of happiness and as I feel the first sensations of negative attack, I am trying (sometimes successfully) to trick my mind…by snapping it out of a worn-in habit.  For example, if I am walking then suddenly I walk sideways, or with my arms ridiculously high, or if I am anywhere I try to make my eyes look up higher than they have ever looked up or make a clockwise clock, or try to make them dance to music, exterior or interior.  Or I concentrate on difficult sums like 6x7 (can you do that or is it just me being slow?) or I find ways to interlock my fingers that is not painful, or is. 

As I finish all of this (ridiculous) movement into the unknown, into seeing myself in a new light, and having quite got into skipping, or breathing funnily or balancing a pen on my nose, doing a tennis lession, forcing myself out for a run, I suddenly realise that I am quite a lot further away from those dark thoughts, or, in a particularly successful pranking about, I have found that the dark thoughts have no real influence at all on me right now.


video

A friend told us the other day that what she does to trick the mind out of miserable thoughts is think of wonderful things that are about to happen to her, like a yoghurt with honey and nuts and her favourite fruit waiting for her in the fridge. Food is so pleasurable it really can help us out of the negativity as our wise friend proves.

(Or sex. Or treating ourselves. Or shopping. Or playing music. Or playing sport.)

But then what happens when we overuse the pleasurable?  Instead of being a way to brighten the spirit, we have all the danger of becoming addicted to it, so that the merest sense of not-being-miserable can only come from the overly-pleasured object. I mean if we were to eat all that we 
always wanted we would be a life threatening danger to ourselves! Just take a look at Elvis. Do you get me? Or like smoking stresses us so much (more than a non smoker) that we only get relief by smoking (as its absence stresses us out even more)….ohhh wow so we have to trick the mind again, and trick the mind out of being addicted to whatever it has attached its desire to: we can do fasts or can fool ourselves saying we have already smoked, or when the bud of a negative idea pops into our heads we do a new finger movement, or a new way to sit down, a nanu-nanu greeting, or we can right look right into the eyes of the person in the mirror and say truthfully for once, “I love you” or pick up someone else´s toilet paper off the public loo´s floor, or something just to change the neural network, to change the way our minds flow.  To flow into a nicer place.

So we can flow into good. Feeling good, doing good, having a good day.

Easier said than done of course.

Filakia (kisses)
L Driver in tricking the mind.

Girolamo di Benvenuto, “Hércules en la encrucijada”, c. 1500.

Upon reaching adolescence, Hercules went away to a quiet place because he had doubts about the way forward. Then, he came upon two magnificent women. The two women were goddesses.  Vice talks first to Hercules and tries to persuade the boy to accompany her on the 'most enjoyable and easy path'.  It is to the left or sinister. Then the other woman, Virtue, proposes to convert the young man into an excellent artist of fine and venerable work.  The path is to right or the right way. It sparks an argument between the two women. Virtue accuses her rival of falsehood, showing the humiliating setback of where her path inevitably leads. On the right path which is certainly "long and difficult" it leads us to where we "have the highest happiness." (Hans van Kasteel)