Recognizing and understanding what we feel and how we react to situations is the basis for change. To do this, you must learn to look inside and observe what happens when we are in contact with ourselves or with others. Let’s look at some of the strategies to begin observing your thoughts, the first step to knowing really.
A few days ago, my friend and colleague was telling me how she had met a very interesting person who had made her hear, after so long, the famous “butterflies in her stomach”. He also told me how he had often been fantasizing about a possible future with him, and how, inevitably, these fantasies would always go wrong!
They usually started with beautiful scenes of them walking along the promenade, candlelight dinners, squirrels that roam here and there … and in the end, inevitably, he saw himself sad and alone, again single after happy years with him, he had left because he had become ugly and boring now.
Of good psychologists, of course, we were confronted with the reason for these dramatic finals, following images of love and happiness (but of which they are psychologists), and the answer came immediately: they are the reflection of his fears. In particular, the fear of being abandoned because it is not worthy of love.
My friend was already well aware of this underground fear, in fact once it emerged, there was nothing wrong with it. She knows very well that this is a weak point and she is able to see the mental phenomena that come from her fear and to counteract them by not engaging emotionally from these fantasies. Another strangeness from psychologists!
Thoughts out of place
In literature, there are several ways to define those thoughts that have a particularly disturbing effect on the emotions we experience and our behaviors: irrational thoughts, dysfunctional thoughts, inadequate thoughts. In this case, I came spontaneously to call them thoughts out of place effects at that time really had nothing to do with the fantasies of my friend’s love and happiness.
And even the reaction they immediately triggered was out of place: a shadow of sadness on a joyful and luminous painting. Fortunately, being aware of the process, my colleague did not let “hook up” from these thoughts and sadness was just a passing cloud.
Fortunately, she is well aware of these phenomena and how to handle them. But most people are not and often gets involved. And I’m not just talking about those out of place thoughts that seem completely out of the fantasies of the moment, the same argument applies to all those events of the mind that in one way or another have an effect on our mood and our way to behave. Whether they are thoughts, images, fantasies, internal or external stimuli.
The ape monkey
Our mind snoozes here and there, is a ceaseless stream of words, images, sensations that never stops. In some traditions, the “monkey mind” is defined precisely because it is unstoppable from one branch to another, an image that in my opinion makes the idea very good. Therefore, it is difficult to be able to “stop” our inner monkey and look good in the face.
Often we do not even know about this waking-up of our minds, because most of the time, we are too busy to “live” our lives and we can hardly ever stop for a moment to observe what’s happening inside us. To move from the role of actor to spectator.
That is, it is, therefore, that we are “undergoing” what our mind proposes, without even being aware of what the spring was causing some emotion or any other kind of reaction. Without any observation ability, we are at the mercy of what our deeper needs, our habitual ways of doing and seeing reality impose on us automatically. A-critically.
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