Your mind is a sadist kid, left unattended in a new playground
As soon as lockdown was imposed on us, groups on WhatsApp started to form, inviting us to take part in 21 days meditation challenges. After the challenge you’ll be able to “shift your perspective”, “transcend your limiting beliefs”, and “develop the mindset for success at any goal”. Why 21 days? Because it takes 21 days to create a habit, according to a 1960 self-help book by some doctor. Bad news: no book or training can change the nature of our mind. Good news: We don’t have to change it.
“Control your thoughts.”
“Become the CEO of your brain.”
“Be the master of your mind.”
Promises that have flooded the new-age wellness centers prior to the advent of social media, and continue to flood our newsfeed. Tiny Buddha, Dandapani, Tony Robbins, and many other resources are here to help. Some I instantly fall for and follow on all platforms, and some I report as spam. They all want us to tame our thoughts and control our mind.
I am no psychologist, although I just had a new Ψ tattoo because the tricks that the mind play on us is a like a second skin. And I wanted to get it inked, because I fall into that trap too, although I am very aware of it. Aware of it and yet, more often than not, unable to control it.
Thing is, lockdown has been a dreamlike playground to our mind — sadist by nature. A dreamlike playground where it takes us on guilt trips in the dark maze of the past, down the roller coaster of regret and remorse, and inside the morbid labyrinths of fears and phobias.
Yesterday I decided to go have a haircut and a tattoo. (haha). I had my favorite music in the car, the sun and wind on my face, and I felt so grateful and alive. Slept with a huge smile on my face. At 3:30 am I woke up feeling anxious. My mind knows my Achilles’ heel, and likes to tickle me there. The fear of death that I somehow managed to repress these past couple of years came back to haunt me when I was at my lowest.
Every feeling is a contradiction. On some mornings I would feel unproductive and uncertain, even though I would’ve killed for this kind of slow time a few months ago. My brain can’t decide if my life could’ve been better had I made different choices, or worse, (and also, how useless a thought). My body can’t decide if it wants to detox, tone and get strong, or become one with the couch while eating and drinking like there’s no tomorrow.
And that’s just me. For some it is failure. For others, tripping over some horrible ex who made their life miserable, but they suddenly felt the eagerness to get in touch.
The thing is, we have to train our minds to acknowledge that no feeling is final, knowing there are better days ahead, knowing that our individual messes and fears do not define us. Like us, they’re also bored to their teeth and want to enjoy playing in their newly-found, fun-filled playground.
The mind is inherently scared. Left unattended, it becomes mean and bossy. Sometimes you’ll just surrender, and that’s alright. It is just a bad phase, not a bad life. Take it easy on yourself.