In the mid-seventies I watched a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. Many others thought it was excellent. It made a clean sweep at the Oscars winning in all the major categories – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. You may have seen it – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
The protagonist – an inmate in a lunatic asylum – was played by Jack Nicholson. Nicholson is one of only two male actors to have won three Oscars for acting.
Many years later I came across an interview in which he was reminiscing about his career. He was an intense actor and really immersed himself in whichever role he was playing. He said something to the effect that a little bit of every character he played has remained with him forever.
He is dead right. And, if you look at the characters he portrayed, you feel much sympathy for him. What must it be like to have these figures running rampant in your psyche?
You don’t recognize that you have this problem too!
In America we believe that it is OK to think or say virtually anything, but it is not OK to actually do some of the things that you think about.
Our movies and TV shows have more foul language and violence than ever. Our video games are gory and getting more so. The violence is gruesome and close-up.
And all of this leads to mental chatter. Your mental chatter.
And it harms you more than you realize.
People who have taken CPM begin by protesting that all of this is harmless. Perhaps it is even therapeutic because it acts as a safety valve to release pent up feelings.
What about your sexual fantasies, your thoughts of violent revenge, your dreams of retribution for real and imagined wrongs and all the stuff in your Walter Mitty world?
“They are just thoughts,” you say. “They are not real.”
You are wrong.
Any particular thought is evanescent and inconsequential. But it leaves a tiny, tiny imprint behind it.
It is like a coral insect. Any individual one is insignificant. But millions and millions of them, piled on top of each other create the reefs on which even the stoutest ship can founder.
Pay attention to your mental chatter. Guard your mind obsessively. Remember that your life is constructed by the thoughts you entertain and welcome into your mind. The Indian sage Swami Sivananda once said “It is better to be cut by a sharp knife than to let a wrong thought stay in your mind.”
He was right!