It’s safe to say that my mind has overcomplicated many situations and interactions over the years - my limited perception, my personality traits and thought patterns - all working their unconscious magic to tangle matters. All these things cloud judgement and create confusion, adding complexitiy to how things are - which are very different from how they are in reality. French American writer Anais Nin concisley puts it: "we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." If my mind is scattered, confused, insecure and fearful - chances are that I will view circumstance, interaction with others and my days in the same way.
It’s interesting this separation between 'I' and my mind, it may seem strange on first instance, but with observation in the process of personality transformation, it is clear. Stepping out to live life with more intention, to make healthier choices and to start impressing new means of being, means noticing the resistance that the mind puts up. If I have the intention to go to the gym instad of going drinking, but thoughts arise to suggest it will be 'more fun to go drink', another thought to latch onto that…'you might get lucky’ - now is this me or my mind with its subconscious programming or otherwise?
One of the first things I practiced on this ardous path of personality and behaviour change was asking questions in response to the judgements and fixed opinions I had on things: is this really how it is, or do I think this only because of how I am? This has proved vital in creating that bit of space before my inevitable reactivity would kick in like a Roberto Carlos free kick.
They say we suffer more in imagination than in reality. I’m now at a point where I am always noticing that the practice of meditation is supportive in simplifying the activity of the mind - by first becoming aware of the activity of the mind. In noticing certain patterns of thought, we’re better quipped to notice when they show up when they’re not called for. They have a mind of their own. The notion that thoughts are in the ether and we are mere receivers is a different conversation, but certainly an interesting one.
One of my most dominant traits was that of selfishness, I would always put myself first above anyone, though moslty coming across as someone not like this. Sitting and noticing these thoughts was challenging - who would truly want to have a mirror held up against their worst traits...no hiding from them. Though this is the heart of deep behaviour change, to first accpet exactly how it is that you are, and how through your thoughts, emotions and behaviours are defining your reality.
Meditation is the tool which one can use to sit with the discomfort of one’s own mind. It is a training and like any endevour, takes time, patience and kindness towards oneself. Becoming aware of how my mind complicates my life, gets me into trouble and creates conflict brings up self-judgement and self-criticism - this also must be seen, eventually let go of and allowed to pass in order to continue the process of change. What was in darkness before, now is in light, as much as it’s painful to realise my faults and traits, it is empowering to see them knowing I can begin to change them. In this process of noticing the conditioned mind and it's tendenacy to create this personal veneer over reality, I began noticing that I was able to interact with people and situations on a different level. Where once I would pretend to know - a habitual tendenacy for want of being seen a certain way - to being able to notice this and openly be able to say: 'I don't know." It felt like a massive ease of tension! Or where once I'd talk nonsense for want of filling a void - fearful of my own thoughts - am now able to be in the space of silence with the patience to allow the arising of what's called for in the moment.
One of the main reasons I meditate is so that my mind cannot complicate my life. It does still, but I’m noticing it more…engaging with it less.