Collingwood Nick wrote:
Well you have got a decent head start - I didn't start asking questions until well into my 20s.
That sounds like a logical approach. Part of the problem is that the mind switches into autopilot when it's presented with a 'threatening' situation. I find that sometimes just being aware of what it's doing, is enough to bring me back to conscious control.
Knowing what the correct response is - what I'm replacing the defensive behaviour with - that's the tricky part. If you don't mind my asking, what is the correct response? Say I've just had a crack at you for watching star trek and being a nerd. What do you do?
Or am I completely misreading this in that the appropriate response emerges from a positive mind without conscious interference?
That's a tricky one, because it's somewhere in between. The automatic thought (and so the feelings and even the physiological responses that it provokes) will shoot through me, and in a sense I have to challenge it without latching onto it. I have to just "let it go", while making sure to note it and remind myself of its invalidity - maybe then substitute a more useful or positive thought. If it won't go of its own accord and looks too powerful to just leave alone, I can attack it and break it down, though still taking care not to latch onto it and give it attention, because that will just strengthen it. The balance is a tough one - I can't let the thoughts go unchallenged, but at the same time the overall goal is to minimize the thoughts' overall disruptive effect, so making too big a deal of them would be counterproductive. After all, if I'm constantly tense and "ready" for them as though at any moment I might need to jump into a fight for my thoughts, then my mind will be just as unsteady as if I weren't challenging my thinking at all.
I'm sorry if I'm not being much help here! I find that conscious interference is very useful (even necessary), but at the same time I can't let myself be too conscious of my own conscious intervention, if that makes sense? I have to be careful, because I have a tendency to over-analyse and monitor my own thinking, and that can lead to me feeling trapped by my own self-awareness, my own mind closing in around me. I don't want to become too aware of my own mind's workings because otherwise they become an additional source of stress. It's like Russian Dolls; layers of awareness responding to the negative thoughts and feelings provoked by each prior round of awareness regarding my own misery. I often feel like I need to throw my mind off the trail, dart around here
, distract myself there
, churn it up a bit to avoid latching onto awareness of myself and trapping myself in a vice.
If that made any
sense at all, let me know.
The overall, goal, of course, is to become comfortable in your own mind, so you can just sit back and be
when your mind's tired and throw yourself into anything interesting when it's engaged.