Arguing In My Head

Image result for sounds in my head

Greetings Dear One,

Have you ever been having a powerful argument, explaining your side, being absolutely right… I mean you are absolutely winning this battle… But, it was a completely one-sided conversation– the person you were arguing with wasn’t even there.

Our brains developed from ancestors who were survivors: they avoided being eaten by sabertooth tigers, they survived wars, they procreated despite unspeakable odds.  Whether you call it karma or genetics (aren’t they one and the same) we are the descendents of these amazing individuals.  

When our ancestors prevailed over their adversaries, it was beneficial for them to be able to tell their story around the campfire.  Imagine how helpful it was to explain how to increase someone’s chances of survival in a dangerous and primal world.

Our minds still like to tell a story.  Whether it about a car accident we had that we have to share on social media; or, it’s rehashing past grievances–even if only in our head.

Perhaps you’ve heard of autobiographical memory.  It sounds like an amazing super power.  Paradoxically, several scholarly articles explain this nearly perfect recall makes it more difficult for people to let go of the past.

Often, we believe if we reflect on our past we will garner a bit of information, we will make some more sense of… it–whatever “it” is.  In some cases this is true; however, for most of us rumination isn’t helpful.

As much as our mind has a habit (samskara) of time-travelling nostaligically into the past and anxiously into the future, our life is happening now.  This is the essence of mindfulness.

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Mark Twain

However, being mindful doesn’t mean always attending to the world out there.  It’s a flexible attention, shifting outward and inward appropriately.  This skill is garnered with meditation.

When we meditate regularly, we begin to observe our mind a bit more as if it were in front of all, the yogi’s describe this as being the witness.  Then we can see our mind has a habit of retelling stories when certain triggers are switched.  Next thing we know, we check out of our life and are arguing with those who have wronged us.

I am not saying we should allow ourselves to be victimized.  However, many of us (myself included) can find that we’re pining for a lost love, wishing a dead perpetrator would come to justice, or hating the first boss who fired us twenty year ago.

Life is happening NOW.  Now is all we have.

“You can be right or you can be happy.”

Gerald G. Jampolsky

Now, this is only one article–it’s not the answer for perpetual happiness.  Living in the “now” can be an excuse to procrastinate and avoid our obligations.  Mindfulness has to be in conjunction with our Values–it is a servant to a Higher purpose.

–That’ll be the next article.

Please, click on the links.

It’s been a while.

Life Happens,

Namaste

My Hungry Little Ghost

Costly Buddha

Greed comes from a belief in lack.  It’s autonomic, like its precursor anger, there is some sensitivity in our nervous system to a reflexive belief in lack.  It probably came from our ancestors, they had no way of knowing if there would be enough food so we have developed an inclination to hoard and to hang onto things.  Also like anger, greed has either a story to tell or us a question to ask us.  We’re not getting what we want; or, do we do really believe that we are enough?

The more I witness my emotions, the more I am aware that the spark of anger precedes greed.  Anger may be called by numerous names;  it’s not always a hot passionate anger. Personally, I experience it as crankiness, impatience, anxiety, irritation, annoyance, frustration, and dissatisfaction.

For example, I may experience irritation that I’m not the most financially prosperous person.  Maybe I coveted another’s success.  Maybe I compared myself to another.  This lead to feeling that I am less than. This inner attack, completely from myself to myself, causes a reflexive defensiveness.  Like an autoimmune disorder, my ego’s actually attacking another part of my mind.  Paradoxically, there’s a desire to console the bruised angry part of myself with a bright shiny bauble.  One aspect is agitated, the other desires to soothe.  One time or another this, temporarily, “worked”.  The angry part was distracted.  But, the newness wears off.  The angry part resurfaced demanding gifts: a latte, a new skirt, another degree, it became voracious.

In Chinese Buddhism the Hungry Ghost is a revenant from someone who died traumatically, or has been neglected by their ancestors.  In a nutshell, they can be dangerous because they are permanently dissatisfied.  They haven’t found peace. However, I think of it as a metaphor for Now.  In this life there is often inability to find contentment, or as the yogi say santosha.

As I shared in my previous post, anger should be observed in its natural habitat. In the same spirit, it would behoove us to observe greed.  As mentioned, greed is often unaddressed anger.  There is an abrasion, an irritation, a tapping finger, a stomping foot buried at various layers.  I am not getting what I want!  I deserve this thing!  Argh!

As my dear teacher says, “witness everything!”  Pause, notice when you feel you can’t have enough.  It is that easy.  You just have to practice.  We just choose to ignore and be possessed by the feeling with trying to satisfy it.   Ask yourself, “will this bring me peace?” “Will this bring me closer to Joy?”  Use whatever term describes yourself when there’s no problem to solve.  If the answer is “yes”, I suggest you proceed. No one outside of you can answer this.  Watch the urges.  They are insidious.  They rear their ugly head in a split second.  One minute you enjoying a meal at the dinner table then the inner spoiled child wants another piece of cake.  It’s stomping its foot.  Will it bring you love? You are already the embodiment of love.  No piece of cake and add to that.