Does the mind really matter or is it just a noisy storeroom for memories to be discreetly tucked away until further notice?
“The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity’s thoughts and consciousness.” Wikipedia
Gosh, this piece has been so much fun to write! I started, erased and started again, primarily because my mind is a giddy minefield of buzzing activity. The unknown territories a confusing mess between its random wandering and why it chooses to go where it does! Luckily, my little self, operates from an intuitive place. According to the very loyal Myer Briggs, I function from emotions 98.8% of the time. Yup, you read that correctly. I am on a crazy emotional roller coaster to the loony bin without help from anyone outside of my own wacky mayhem. Thankfully, my husband is earning a well deserved break from it. Enough said about emotions- temporarily, we’re getting divorced for the time-being. This will certainly cheer up my INTJ husband when he finds out. Whopeeeeeeee! The current focus on the perplexities of our ever so precious mind and its matters. I can’t promise how this will unravel because I don’t spend much time in the jurisdiction of the mind. I am on a tricky road, slipping down on a slithery unmanned path like Alice lost in Wonderland with no speculation of what I will uncover. This will most probably be entertaining to the thinkers amongst us. However, from the eyes of an “emotive feeler”, it is a new world completely.
Words matter so here are few associated with the “mind”. Brain, intellectual capacities, power of reason, power of comprehension, power of thought, reasoning, judgement, sense and mentality. So keep this in mind, this will come in handy at some point.
Off we go on this special adventure, with our mind on our mind. Ha, clever. I know. I have many bright spark ones. Without further much ado about nothing, this is what we are doing today. Close your eyes, please. Amongst the floating before your tightly shivering lids and the chatter in your head, I want you to visualise yourself. Once you see yourself, as clearly as possible, then imagine your mind outside of yourself as an entity on its own. Really intimately visualise it, seeing it separate from your body. Then take a long hard look at it, soaking up all the details. I want you to be drunk on this high. You are not your mind right now. For the following moments, it will remain beyond yourself. And you are going to witness it as a silent observer. Nothing more required. Your fate sealed in this scene.
How did your mind present itself? Mine, hoovers above my head as a glittery rainbow cloud, with unicorns dancing around it. It is a neat, fluffy cloud with smooth silky edges. The rainbow is hanging lopsided from the edge, clinging to dear life but unwilling to give up. The glitter sparkles every time it catches the light, it proudly shines smug at its superior glory. Since, its my mind, it appears as I wish and with no one judging it, it can be all it wants. I want it to sing too, however, I am going for a silent mind on this occasion. Next time, American Idol can come out to play. So can you. You can be all you want without judgement or criticism. This is your chance to give your mind, a face of its own without dependency on your physical body.
Excited, yet? I sure am! This is when the fun really begins. I love fun!
Precisely at this moment, your phone will ping. Beep. Beep. Beep. One new Facebook notification stares cheekily at you.
You have a new friend request.
From yourself. Well to be precise from your mind.
Will you accept?
Whilst on my daily walk today, with every greeting, I imagined everyone as their mind and not their bodies. It was pretty colourful picture, I tell you. Obviously, I don’t know these people so this was my mind’s perception of them. And it was fun until I honed into my own mind. I can only see what my mind is pre-accustomed too. So, there are some surprises waiting for me, as I take a long hard look at it. As it drifts over my head, I begin to wonder what is going on in there. Is the noise a useless radio channel rehashing histories and patterns? I listen, really listen to it because otherwise I am usually preoccupied with emotions to even notice the powerhouse upstairs or where ever it lives. What do I think about? What are my perceptions? What are my judgements? What is my mindset? What are my memories? What are yours? Do you even know or care? I think I know most of the answers to these questions because I am serial reflector and an honourable one. I should have some idea at least. One of the reasons for paying attention now is because my life is full of external chaos. I find myself busy reacting, responding, defending or protecting myself, thus easily checking out from the matters of the mind. Finally, I am ready to go on this treasure hunt to discover if my mind is chatting shit or telling me to wake up and change it up.
Would I accept my minds friend request? Hmm … would you accept my request? Either way, truth be told- I can’t say I would. My mind has many wonderful qualities. I promise, this is no lie my friend. It will make you laugh, tickle your insides with creative adventures and wildly wacky stories. It can be many vibrant characters, all easily catching you off guard and you’d have no idea what to expect next. It also has the wicked ability to intuitively impart wisdom without knowing you. Better still, it can empathise with you, healing you by simply showing you the endless possibilities of light, love and laughter. Its power of positivism and hope intoxicating. You won’t be able to get enough. And you will definitely be seduced with it’s warm charm and cheeky mischievousness of a wonderfully innocent child. Yet, this sexy mistress has an elusive dark side. A side that rears it head when least expected.
As I witness my mind, I know its message matters even though I don’t want it too. I don’t like the idea that my mind knows a truth, I don’t want to acknowledge. Not because we are defined by it but because it defines our actions and inactions. Deeming us responsible for what we may not actively see but subconsciously know. Without the mind, what would become of us? If you have read any of my previous posts, you would know by now I have a checkered history with child sex abuse and it’s side effects. So as I observe my mind, I hear the thoughts I want to ignore the most. It’s like a bittersweet love story, one you can’t outrun in the end. It always comes to bite you on the bum when all you want for it, is to remain a secret. With this knowledge, I want to explain one of the main themes that comes up in my mind. You may have your own and no one is judging you or saying anything is wrong with you. I am only a reflection of what maybe. However, I want you to think about how you can shape your mind to be something that doesn’t have an adverse effect on your life and relationships. I want my mind to function in a healthy way, always and forever because if the mind is out of whack so are the other parts of our selves. You can’t deny yourself that.
Since recovering some of my memories and with the strong desire to not recall anymore, I began a strict regime. One where the locking of doors, essentially bedroom and bathroom doors was a way of keeping the past where it belonged- forgotten and repressed. This subconscious ritual became crucial to my survival. Locked doors meant internal security. Click. Days, turned into years, years became a habit. Click. Years have passed without having flashbacks. Click. Proud moment, right? I effectively controlled my mind from unlocking intrusive memories. Well done me! Well done. I of course have other triggers, which I have mostly managed without too many critical reminders. I was a happy girl. Who wouldn’t be? For those who don’t know what flashbacks or repressed memories are, here is a brief description for your understanding.
“ When you experience something really traumatic such as a physical attack, your body suspends ‘normal operations’ and temporarily shuts down some bodily functions such as memory processing. During trauma, your brain thinks ‘processing and understanding what is going on right now is not important! I’ll get back to the processing later.’ As such, until the danger passes, the mind does not produce a memory for this traumatic event in the normal way. When your brain eventually goes back to try to process the trauma, the mind presents the memory for filing it can be very distressing. The distress comes from the fact that the brain is unable to recognise this as a ‘memory’ as it hasn’t been processed as one. As such, the facts of what happened, the emotions associated with the trauma and the sensations touch, taste, sound, vision, movement, and smell can be presented by the mind in the form of flashbacks – as if they are happening right now. ” Psychology Today.
With eager enthusiasm, I readily moved from my abusive family home to my husbands safe loving one. You’d think this would be enough to keep the mind happy and the triggers at bay. Just the change in environment should be enough. Sadly, I discovered this was not at all true. All the years of locked door training to manage my triggers, was wiped clean in one swift moment. Table rosa. Sleeping snugly tucked against my husbands warm reassuring body with the door locked, I slept safely aware that no intrusion was possible. Boy was I dead wrong. Without waking, I heard the door unlock, the sudden sound of it churning triggered something deep inside. Before my mind could comprehend reality or facts, I froze in a terror suffocating my insides. Air choking in my dying lungs. Panic fiercely crawling into every single vein. My poor unsuspecting heart thudding rapidly against its cage. The silent voice inside screaming danger, my whole body alert in fear. Every cell shouting, be aware, you are at risk! Play dead, right now, do not move! Do you hear me? This may not make sense to you but please stay with me. Life mocked me. This incident unravelled my feelings of security because my minds carefully crafted plan was just an illusion. It crumbled at the first hurdle. And after this moment, the unfolding events were pretty sad. I lost all momentum without fully realising. This one single moment, resetting years of work.
Where’s my mind at?
It is in a strange quandary, not knowing where next because for the longest period of trigger freedom, I became comfortable with the uncomfortable. Nothing in my mind had truly changed just the way I perceived it had. In fact, an unlocked door still creates the same reaction it did when I was child. However, I was in no danger yet my body and mind responded as it was dealing with a real life threat. Therefore, what is my mind holding on to and why do I hold it? Without shame, I admit I am holding on to fear and pain. I believe that I am not safe especially when I am asleep because that is when I am the most vulnerable. I can trust no one to protect me and I am not sure I can even protect myself. However, I am my own responsibility, I relied on my parents to protect me but no more. No one but I am, responsible for my mind, body and soul. I am scared of being hurt and humiliated again. So, I am unable to unlock doors because I cannot let any of this in again. My mind hangs to this, even when I have a positive, hopeful and proactive approach to life. Imagine if you couldn’t hold on to the light, then what becomes of your mind? And is all of this justified because I was petrified as a child so I can continue like this? I don’t have the answer to this. I do honestly believe with work and commitment, we can repattern our minds to behave and think differently. Then why cling to trauma, when a healthy version awaits somewhere?
This glittery cloud of colour reminds me that we cannot ignore the voice of the mind. It may create noise, most of which you should happily ignore. However, our mind also has the capacity to reflect back our thoughts and perceptions, which our memories provide a language for. This language thus creating fixed permanent patterns, possibly which protect us but are not always conducive for a thriving soul. My patterns are shaped by trauma, which are based on no real awareness of healthy coping mechanisms because I was a child at the time. Now, at 39 I am not that girl and her survival tools don’t seemingly suit me. I am as perplexed as you are. I don’t know what to do next or how to safely manage a trigger or recover from it. However, as I am not a shy wallflower hiding in the shadows, I do know that the only person who can change her mind is me. Our mind has the power to shine light on our negative perceptions, our negative voices, our negative stories. It is not necessary that these voices, memories or words are our own. Yet, if you didn’t hear them, how would you begin to undo any of it? I am not my past I fully believe that, however without denial I am sometimes affected by it so can I pretend it doesn’t exist? And if I can how does this serve me? I am tired of running away from the fear. Aren’t you? Although confronting it is in no way or shape a pretty picture but will ignorance help more? My mind is easily distracted with new ideas, so I will not recall these relapses. However, I don’t wish to relive these moments over and over again. By acknowledging what my mind is saying, I can take responsibility for my life and how I am living it. There are no guarantees that I will be able to figure it out anytime soon, I am though willing to try.
I bet a quiet mind = quiet emotions. It doesn’t feel like much fun knowing this but I love to feel everything so rightly so, it won’t be filling me with ecstasy. Whatever floats your boat. In the hope that our quieter minds, create greater emotional harmony, I would like to assert with some work and dedication, we can become an evolved version of ourselves without the sword of fear and shame hanging over our necks. Unless you like swords swinging at you.
Friend request declined for now.
Would you accept? The message here, isn’t to say that you should not accept yourself for your truth. All I am trying to highlight is that the duality of our nature is what makes us unique. But our minds hold the key to our inner stories. This determines the choices we make, which go on to shape and structure our actions and reactions. I think without the mind, we would not be fully able to access all the parts of ourselves. So if we don’t cleanse our minds, like our bodies we are operating from shaky ground. Who wants that? Well, not me. I want you to begin your mind cleanse with me. One day, we will bump into each other. Our powerfully clean minds connected cosmically to facilitate a higher vibrational frequency only accessible to us amazingly magical souls. I wait until we are equally ready to accept each others requests.
My mind is on devouring duty. Currently, we are trying the suggestions of the video below. Please try it and let me know what you find. Farewell, dear minds. We will meet again. And that’s a promise.
Photography credit to the artists for such beautiful pieces. Quotes referenced from Wikipedia and Psychology Today.