Today, in the first post of this series, let me share an overview of how to recognize the mind’s game and its movies. It all begins with a single thought which has the ability to take you on a roller coaster, more thrilling than Disneyland rides. So, fasten your seatbelt on and jump in for a ride with me. I promise it’s a good one, let’s go!
Let’s assume that you have a very beautiful ancestral necklace given to you by your Mother-in-law. Of course, she is the kindest person you know, right? You value it, you love it. The necklace, I mean… You enjoy wearing the necklace on special occasions and flaunt it at any opportunity. Every time you wear it and show up at a party, you feel special! “Oh yeah! Everyone’s looking at me!”
But, let’s say that one day while getting dressed for a party it breaks! Oh no!
The Existential Truth of this situation is:
The ancestral necklace broke. Full stop.
Now let me show you how the mind conceptualises it:
1. You first remember how your Mother-in-law and your husband asked you to take extra care. They never failed in reminding you to take the necklace to a jeweller. “It must be redone!” She mentioned. But of course, you never listened.
And bam, the mind begins:
2. “What if I cannot get this necklace fixed and am never able to wear it again? What if my husband thinks I am irresponsible with the ancestral necklace?”
3. “I should have listened to them in the past and got my necklace redone. I always behave like this! Last time my irresponsible behavior caused that major expense. Why can’t I be more responsible? Maybe I just don’t pay attention to things as I should…”
4. So on and on and on and on!!!!
All the above 4 points and more are conceptualized and conditioned living. If you re-read them closely, these statements are filled with judgement.
Truth is simple:
- The ancestral necklace is broken.
- It needs to be fixed.
- Let me see who I need to contact.
This training to look at life as is without a conceptualized “mindy” view starts on the meditation cushion and continues throughout the day.
1.You look at “WHAT IS”.
2.You check whether “WHAT IS” needs a response from you.
3.You choose to respond accordingly.
5.You move on to the next “WHAT IS”. (i.e. drop and let life roll)
The trick is to repeat the above steps from moment to moment. Every moment of our day is a repetition of such situations, no matter how simple or complex it seems.
Going back to our example for instance, during all the years that you had the ancestral necklace, not oncedid you question why you have it! Not once. Whether you are worth it, whether you should accept it, whether you should wear it. But in the mode of “happiness” of having the necklace, the mind was quiet!
As soon you lose the necklace, the mind starts and goes on incessantly, why is that? Because we are conditioned to accept “happiness”. We are conditioned to be uncomfortable with “sorrow”. As soon as there is grief or discomfort, we start distracting ourselves.
The question is, what’s wrong with grief? If there is something wrong with grief, there has to be something wrong with happiness too. If accepting happiness is not a problem, then why is accepting grief a problem? Happiness and grief are both nothing but bumps in life. It’s all cyclical. One leaves and makes way for the other!
Hence, the practice is:
When you find yourself happy, say to yourself “this too shall pass”! When you are sad, say to yourself “This too shall pass! Don’t analyze and paralyze yourself! It’s all lies! All. Of. It.
Any thought really, is just that- A thought. You may replace ‘necklace’, ‘mother-in-law’ and ‘husband’ with anything you like. The story I mean. But truth remains simple. As Swami says, “The only truth is what is”. “What is” is the present moment. Emotions are part of the human conditioning, unless you are in a unconscious. Which you aren’t. If our acceptance remains constant for every emotion, life becomes a breeze. The truth of that moment of a lost necklace is grief. Grief is ‘what is’. The mere acceptance of grief or happiness without tying to push it away or keeping it, throws the mind in silence. And silence is the beginning of all bliss, my friend.
It felt right to start this series with this story. A majestic dragon shared this story with me and turned me into a dragon. The next posts will build on that. But until then, it’s time for a game.
Truth or Dare
Truth: Can you reflect back and recall any such movie played by your mind in the last 24 hours?
Dare: Share it;)
P.S: In this game, you’re allowed to choose both truth and dare! Why? Because life is fun. Go on, play with me!
Photo credit: Universal pictures.
Note: Deep gratitude to Anew, without whose contribution and fun input was crucial for this post!:)