You come home after a hard day at work. Stuff went wrong but you persevered and straightened it out. Now you want to relax, and you go to your Netflix queue. You look one by one at the movies and shows you have saved. You watch some previews, look at ratings, stop and start some shows and keep hunting. At the end of a half hour, you are still searching and decide it’s too late because you will never be able to finish whatever you start.
Practically everyone can relate to this. It is so common that you don’t even pay attention to it when it happens. That is ‘just the way it is.’
But there is something deeper going on behind the scenes. Your mind is bossing you around relentlessly and you are caving in supinely.
The reason you did not make a selection and view it is because there was incessant mental chatter going on in your head. Something like. “…that is a thriller. The last three thrillers you watched were all terrible. Try something different. That is a rom-com. Rom-coms are only good if the heroine is attractive. This one stars Zoggy Zoo and she looks washed out and can’t act. How about a horror film? This is the eleventh movie in the Aliens franchise and its more funny than scary. How about re-watching Mad Max? That would be good but its too long. Perhaps…”
And before you know it you are exhausted and have not watched that relaxing movie.
This happens all the time in your life. You look at a restaurant menu and are torn between items. You have a ton of books on your ‘must read’ list and cannot decide which one to begin. You know you should go to the gym and work out but you grab a slice of pizza instead.
Your mind is constantly whipping you on. “This would be nice…Oh, no! … that would be nicer…or maybe this third thing is what would be best….”
Think of how much of your time you spend on trying to re-arrange the universe to confirm to what your mind tells you it should be like.
You want to be CEO because your mind tells you that unless you succeed you will be unfulfilled and unhappy. You want a bigger house because that will befit your status.
Seriously, can you even remember the last time when you were OK with everything the way it was? When your monkey mind taskmaster was not chivvying you to do something or get something or achieve something?
You are in thrall mainly because you do not even recognize you are in thrall.
Try, in small ways, to break your habit of catering to your mind. Are there any documentaries in your Netflix queue? They are there because, at some time, you decided that it was worth watching. Just pick one and begin viewing. Don’t let your mind tell you that you could be watching something more exciting.
Did your date cancel at the last minute? Don’t try desperately to find someone else. Pick any book from your ‘must read’ stack and begin reading.
Your experience of life improves the minute you decide not to let your mind run your life.
Now for the kicker: Is it your mind deciding not to let your mind rule the roost? These are deep waters and I will go there in future blogs.