How to regain control over your mind

Dayen Here is a fascinating article sent to me by the Guru of Creative Thinking Mark McGuinness.

Here is that article. You might wish to read it first before you read the rest of my comments.

That misery called meditation – What seven days of silence did to my head

It’s about a journalist who goes on a 7-day Buddhist silent meditation retreat which does his head in. After just one day he thought he was going insane. Symptoms: intense boredom, aching, agitation, restlessness, escapism. All the signs, in fact, of a Headmind that was about to explode with frustration.

Interestingly, his Headmind adopted a very familiar tactic in such situations: which was to chatter about what other people on the retreat might be doing: making up fantasies about who was sleeping with who on the retreat. Everything you would expect, in fact, from a Headmind which would do anything at all to escape from living in the now.

But after the fourth day Bodymind takes over once more and he ends up in a much better place.

Reminds me a lot of the Teachings of Gurdjieff, on which I have written before in this blog. That, in turn, advocated that we human beings need to do a lot of work on escaping our enslavement to Headmind. But that can be difficult to do because Headmind is crafty in feeding the idea that what it thinks is ‘reality’. And then feeding the further idea that escape from that is impossible…

To remind you, Headmind hates:

Silence

Living in the present moment

Being ignored

Raw emotion

The desert (nothing to worry about or do there! – which is why Christ so frequently visited it).

But, as the article demonstrates, when you force Headmind to give up what it habitually likes to do: watch TV, read newspapers, crawl the internet, worry, fantasize, make up stories about the past, chatter about the future, then eventually it just shuts the fuck up.

And then you end up in a very nice place indeed, a place of ‘mindless salvation’; a place of overwhelming peace, happiness and fascination with the world we live in; just as if you were seeing it (again) for the very first time.

What your moods tell others about you

Depressed Far more than emotions (which, after all, we all share) your moods show you what, and sometimes who, you are to others.

But first we need to understand what a mood is.

  • It isn’t a feeling.
  • It isn’t an emotion.
  • And it isn’t something that just happens to you.

It’s based on your attitude to things going on around you.

Your attitude, in turn, is governed by your relationship to people, events, the world – as shown to you by Headmind. It is the atmosphere in which you live. It is the atmosphere you give off to others.

For example, if your relationship to the world is that of Victim, your relationship to the world is likely to be self-pitying or else aggressive (in a negative way). So your mood will either be depressive or hostile.

By contrast, if your relationship to the world is based on the idea that you can do anything you want (within reason) then your mood is likely to be sparkling and aggressive (in a positive way).

Attitudes trigger moods in a variety of ways:

  • Suspicious (morose, surly mood)
  • Hopeless (depressive mood)
  • Self-sufficient (tranquil mood)
  • Self-important (impatient mood)
  • Manipulative (uncomfortable mood)
  • Loving (peaceful, blissful mood)
  • Nihilistic (despairing, suicidal mood)

It was said that the Buddha filled most of those who met him with a mood combined of tranquillity, kindness and awe. Similar reports apply to Christ.

Whatever your attitude to the world, to others, or to the things that happen to you, the rest of us can tell the kind of person you are, not only by the way you react to situations but by the vibe we pick up from you. One reason for that is that Bodymind not only tells us about other people through the emotions but also tells people about usthrough our moods.

If you prefer not to give away so much about yourself I will be telling you in the next post about how you can change both your attitudes and your (negative) moods.