Monday, February 20, 2012

Out of Our Heads and Into the Moment

It is astonishing how much suffering we cause ourselves by tripping over the hypothetical situations in our own minds. We often take things personally that have absolutely nothing to do with us. We hold on to it, spin a tale, make drama, react to the stress, and later find out that it was all just in our own minds.

Example: I left a lot of dishes in the sink when I left last night, (which is not typical for me at all) and when my roommate didn't answer my texts this morning my head fabricated all sorts of garbage, such as "she's angry at me", and all the way to, "maybe I left a burner on and the house exploded". At this stage in the game, I witnessed those thoughts and didn't start to panic and blow up her phone. Which is good, because she was actually at a very high-stress business meeting on her day off. What a foolish thing the human mind is.

We do this same torturous action to ourselves over and over. Everything is personal. Really, though, is it?? Even when people direct anger towards us in an otherwise personal way, we have to realize that their view is colored by an entire lifetime of actions, reactions, history and whatever mind-garbage was floating through their mind clouding their view at the time.

It amazes me sometimes how the average person can even drive a car without crashing into everything... with all that clutter and hypothetical drama threatening their view in every moment!!

According to Eastern philosophy, the way we label this part of our self that is so selfish, easily-threatened and deluded, is the "ego", or "small-self" or "self" with a lowercase s. The "Self", the "highest Self", or "big-mind" in Buddhism denote the part of us that is interconnected and whole, at one and at peace with Reality and the entire Universe. It is the part of us that knows our mind is sometimes and maybe quite frequently ridiculous.

Practicing meditation and yoga poses helps us to get in the habit of connecting with the expansive, Universal side of ourselves, and helps us to witness the ego in all of its insanity. The Universal Self is the sane part of each of us. The more we practice, the more deeply we connect and then we build a new way of viewing the world that encourages our greatest potential and saves us from surrendering to unneeded stress created by the funny functioning of the human mind. This thing should come with an owner's manual.

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