The Mind is like a drunken monkey that likes to brood over the past or flip into the future. Most of the time we are either down memory-lane recreating tragic or pleasant memories or investigating into it; or we are fantasizing about things/people we would like to have in our lives.
In the past two years, in therapy, I have been trying to be aware of this tendency of the mind and to keep a watch on it in order to be able to be grounded in the present for longer and longer periods of time. It helps in being touch with one’s feelings in the present, instead of finding an escape in memories or fantasies. It has also helped me in recent days to see Judgements inside me. In my last session, I saw how the Judgements seemed to have a life of its own and was not a part of me. When I told Uma this, she drew my attention to how I am right in a way when I say that, because judgements are a part of conditioning and conditioning is an outside influence.
In the past few days I have been able to see how the mind feels tempted to fall back into its old habits of speculation or brooding, for its own excitement. For excitement it seeks pleasure and pain, anything to take us away from the present. However once you catch the mind at its game, once you see how it all works, you know the foolishness of allowing the Mind to continue in its old pattern. You try as much to live in Awareness, in the present reality than escaping into the past or future in thoughts.
When that happens, when you start living more and more in the present, without mind-chatter, you get more and more in touch with your true feelings. You find how you had been trapped in the clutches of pleasure and pain-seeking mind. You see through the Mind’s negative judgements of you. You also see the false Ego or the self-image that reacts, which feels threatened and works up a reaction in you, or looks down on other people. You see how you keep going around in circles in your life.
My therapist says that it’s important NOT to resist one’s own feelings. Uncomfortable feelings like anger, when they arise need to be looked at, in Stillness. Ultimately, we do have the choice not to act on the feeling, but only look at its anatomy in our body.
One tricky part of our mind, as I found out recently, is that as I tried to understand my feelings without giving in to the impatient Mind’s labeling of it, the mind would throw an image in my mind’s eye. This I learnt could be just a perception, a thought actually in the form of an image. Understanding one’s feelings goes deeper. I learnt that I could look at my feelings till I know its contents.
Many a time in my sessions I found I was feeling something similar to what stops me from taking up work. Was it fear? Was it just unresolved/ unfelt or stored away pain from my past? These questions don’t demand an intellectual answer, but going deeper into the feelings i.e. looking at the feeling to know its contents.
As I have refused to give in to the temptations of my mind to seek pleasure or pain in fantasies and memories, I have found that I am walking a whole new stretch, the Present.
At times I do feel uncertain or impatient or too tempted to give in to the Mind’s quest for its own entertainment i.e. fantasy and memories. At times even self-pity sets in, however my therapist has helped me see through it.
Nevertheless, I have been able to remain more and more in the present and at times I am amazed to see that my mind’s mind-chatter has become weaker, and I find the mind quiet when awareness checks in.
The days seem without excitement, but not exactly boring. It’s like finally walking on land after a topsy-turvy ride on a roller-coaster for a long-long time. And as I walk the length of the day, it’s a quite new experience – not dramatic, but I do feel strange.
I think I am learning the meaning of Surrender, only that I know there’s a lot to learn about it and would come in time.