Two weeks ago as I scootered past an Indonesian policeman he suddenly whistled at me to stop and demanded my licence. While he got out his notebook, I started my scooter up hastily and sped off, only to be met with scooters coming down the wrong side of the road, preventing me from escaping from his inevitably corrupt demands for money.
preventing me from escaping from his inevitably corrupt demands for money.
He ran after me as I shouted “MOVE!”
to the traffic as I wove through oncoming scooters, my heart beating out of my chest as he gained on me, fury all over his face.
As I scootered over a pothole with a jolt I suddenly became aware that this whole story was happening only in my mind.
I was scootering, that was true. I’d scootered past some policemen earlier in the day, that was true, and my heart WAS racing, but apart from that, the story was a complete fabrication of my mind based on a past experience with the Indonesian police. Only the emotions that came with it were real.
The day after I looked in the mirror as I brushed my teeth, and then realised that my mouth felt a bit weird, or numb or something, just for a moment.
“God, I’m having a stroke!!”
Suddenly I was on the phone to BGC, who didn’t answer, so I called my Mum in NZ, also no answer, she’s probably asleep, I gasped. Duh, I thought, I’ll call Wayan, the host of my villa. By this stage I was on the floor crawling, coming in and out of consciousness. “I wonder what Indonesian hospital is like?”, I wondered.
Then I looked up at my Colgatey face in the mirror and shook my head, with a wry grin.
Gah, Neville, you’re at it again.
Neville is my mind. He loves a good catastrophisation.
I wanted to write down a couple of these random though trains that I caught, mid soap opera, in case it helps you start to observe that you have them too.
See if you can notice some of the stories your mind tells you about what could go wrong. Notice the drama that unfolds on the stage of your mind, with you entranced, completely unaware that what your mind has created is not reality. Until you snap out of it.
Tigers have claws, we have a mind. It’s our highly advanced security system which we can use to outwit or avoid our predators by mapping out the worst case scenarios and minimising the risks as we go through our lives.
This is what our minds have evolved to do.
They’re not here to ensure our happiness is met, they’re not here to keep us fulfilled, nor content, nor any of those lovely things we all strive for.
They’re here to keep us safe.
So have a listen, and notice the measures your mind will go to to try to predict the future of your safety.
Once you start to listen, you’ll start to notice how unfounded most of the stories are. And you’ll start to notice that perhaps your mind isn’t the most reliable source of information to be basing decisions on.
When you start to listen, you’re starting to practice the first stage of mindfulness – realising that A. you are not your mind (would you really choose those thoughts??), B. 96% of what your mind says is complete bollocks, and C. 94% of what it predicts never eventuates.
It’s done a brilliant job getting us through all the tigers, but it hasn’t evolved much beyond. Yet.
It’s like a power tool – it only works effectively when you know how to use it.
Your mind will consistently tell you it needs to think just a little. bit. more. before you take any leaps towards your Bloody Good Life.
But thinking turns out to be a rather unreliable source of what the future will hold.
So if you want a life of happiness, fulfillment, contentment and other lovely things…