Bright sunshine, clear skies, and a flock of bluebirds at the feeder offered a lovely start to the day… until my mind stepped in. As soon as I started washing my face and brushing my teeth, I watched my thinking as if I were attending a theater performance. The spotlight of my consciousness moved across the stage, shining on one scene after another. I’m walking outside freezing in the cold wind. I struggle to write this blog. As I let the cats out of their room I discover the heat shut off again during the night.
The mind is masterful at creating rain when the skies are blue.
Wired for safety and aiming to protect us, the mind is a complex database of past experiences designed to trigger warning signals. Left unattended, it powers up the search engine and begins spitting out all kinds of worst-case scenarios without you even instigating a search.
You just need to stop paying attention.
My friends and I were laughing last week at the silly stories our minds make up. For instance, mine likes horror stories: I’m leaving the house to go to the store, I lock the door, fall down the steps, break my leg, and call for help but no one hears me, and then it starts to rain. Forget about wonderful memories. It’s rare for the mind to call these up spontaneously. For those, we need to put in a search request.
As I watched my mind do its thing this morning, I felt relieved and grateful. It’s a big deal to notice what’s happening. That’s because the minute you see what you’re shining the spotlight of your consciousness on, you’ve disengaged from your thinking mind and stepped off the stage. Now, as a member of the audience, you’re sitting in the “Self section,” and in this seat, you’re in a higher, more spiritually mature state and better able to run the show.
This is the ultimate goal of meditation: To train ourselves to keep moving back to the Self section so we can direct our lives wisely. In this position, we have access to more energy, helpful resources, thoughtful perspectives, and love.
These days there are plenty of reasons for the mind to keep triggering warning signals. A presidential election, circus politics at a time when there are serious issues that need attention, an epidemic of distraction, and information fatigue. We need sound minds more than ever and I’m constantly reminding myself that it starts with me.
So, washing the dishes, I watch my mind. Out for a walk, I notice my thoughts. About to have a tough conversation, I bring myself back to the present moment by focusing on my breath so my Wise self can do the talking.
Going from rainstorms to blue skies isn’t about changing the weather, it’s about leaving your mind and taking a better seat.
P.S. – Discover new ways to practice good self-care in your wisdom years by listening to the audio workshop, Self Care for the Wisdom Years. You can learn more, here.