I read a book a while ago called Who Dies. It was in a book list by Ruby Wax who had said that she was always fearful of life and that this book had transformed that fear. I had to read it and now it is in my book list because it gives an amazing view of what we go through. There is one sentence that profoundly affected me. It still does: Hell is your resistance. I had an epiphany after reading that line.
I resist. I resist endlessly, all the time. I want my reality to be different. An example of long-term resistance… I hated my body when I was younger. I wanted it to be slimmer, a flat stomach, thinner ankles. Now, I would adore that body, the one that I tried to crawl out of for years. But I am still doing it. Now I don’t want to be in this one. I wish it were younger, firmer, flatter. I resist, I resist.
In this present experience of reality I resist the news, I resist the banks, I want the financial experiences to be different, I wish I were rich and had no problems. In truth I know that if I had a better body, if the news were all positive and I was rich I would be wanting something else.
So the art is to come to terms with every moment of this reality. How can I do that if I am straddled over now with one leg in my history and the other firmly planted in my future fears and projections? I cannot. It is impossible.
So I came neatly back to the basics.
I watch my thoughts. I see them floating across my mind. Sometimes they are fast and panicked, sometimes they are sticky and slow, sometimes sneaky and wily. I see them and I try to be amused by them, like watching a monkey with it’s hand around a treat in a coconut. I cannot always make the separation but it is becoming easier. I watch and little by little I learn to make no judgement of the thought. This needs explaining: I can think about something like this morning my mind turned to my friend’s dog being put down last week. I went with him, it was painful, emotionally, I fear the pain of loss and I was upset by the experience. Glad to have been there, but still affected. Thinking it over this morning as I ran I felt the pain, I began to feel sad. I could feel myself becoming taken over by my thoughts. It was hard to extricate myself from the feelings because they had taken hold of me, but eventually I was able to smile at myself and how I had trashed 10 minutes of my alone time by letting my mind loose on a thought.
If I wake in the night my thoughts are like a car crash. So fast that I barely notice, I find myself thinking of really scary and stressful things. In the dark these thoughts are magnified, fed, watered and shooting all over the place. Very quickly I have huge levels of adrenalin in my body and there is no way I will sleep for hours.
I have become bored by this. I need my sleep and do not want my nights taken over in this way so I now have strategies to deal with an addict’s mind.
I watch it happen. I slow down my breath. I lie still and relax my mind. I say the serenity prayer and then I just tell myself “no stress, no fear:. I seem to be able to go straight back to sleep after this. Over time it has become a habit and I now sleep really well, have no hard times in the night and can fall into a deep sleep really quickly.
So the overall theory is to make distance between your real self and the mean and nasty mind. To watch the mind as though it was a dangerous bull charging around and to put a fence up that states Stay Out There. To give edges to the mind. This does take practice and I have written in the I form to show what I do and how it works. It is about managing the ego which wants the drama, wants to be right, wants to trawl through resentments and history and being able to let it all drop. Take away the power and from that place there is peace. Really, there is. That place is the beginning of enlightenment. It is the space within which consciousness can flower. From here the mind is a great tool to pick up and use when needed and then to lay away once it’s work is done.
The art is to let it. One good death of a thought is not enough. Constant vigilance is needed to make enough space for the soul to expand, to widen and deepen enough for it to become a preferable place to spend time than with the gorging mind; endlessly dribbling, drooling and feasting on pain, fear, stress and resentment.