February 15, 2023 Comments Off on Mind control
Although it’s a fake, materialistic, corporate-created non-holiday, Valentine’s Day makes me sad because in addition to the preceding, it’s the day three years ago that my ex moved out, or better put, it’s the day I told her to leave.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
If you reach my age and have no regrets, you’re a psychopath. Regret is the inevitable consequence of things said that shouldn’t have been, things done that you wish you hadn’t, and their converses: things unsaid and things undone. Regret is the consequence of reflection, and reflection the consequence of a conscience.
The problem is that if you let it, regret can block the way forward. You get stuck in the world of “What if?”, a terrible, endless worm-hole that behaves like a frightening fun house with no exits, or rather with exits that lead to even more distorted mirrors.
Regret tends to function more intensively the older you get because hopefully you have less to do, which means fewer distractions. I think this is why so many retirees orient their waking hours to the TV, #socmed, and the alcohols. Whatifland can turn the golden years into rusted iron, shot through with gaping, jagged holes if you don’t have some way to manage the sadness and regret.
One thing I’ve learned about being up here in the high hills is that you can control your mind, and it’s not hard to do. The only drawback to this technique is that you need the natural world in order for it to work. It doesn’t work indoors, and it absolutely won’t work if you’re looking at a screen. The easiest place to employ it is on a walk. Bicycling can work, but as you’ll see it’s easier and safer ambling along on two feet.
Here’s the trick: go outdoors, and when the unwanted thought enters the room, focus your eyes on some natural feature, whether it’s a bird, a tree, the sky, a stone, a hillock, a flower, an insect … the object doesn’t matter. And then as you focus, consciously ask yourself “What am I looking at?”
You will find it is absolutely impossible to focus on anything but that thing. Our minds are designed to answer this question about the natural world instinctively, but psycho-social stress and the requirements of urban-community living have diverted our thinking into anxieties, worries, and of course regrets. All of these are normal, but having them dominate is not.
When you develop the ability to begin asking “What am I looking at?” you will find that your mind clears instantly as the natural gearing of your senses attempts to make sense out of the stimuli. It is not possible to think a negative thought at the same time you are trying to puzzle out what you’re looking at. This need to understand is central to our existence and our evolution and it can bring extraordinary peace and calm even in the most tumultuous moments.
What’s so beneficial about this technique is that it’s infinite. The more you ask what you’re looking at, the more you will see. Objects you’ve taken for granted will reveal themselves in new ways, and your eyesight will become sharper. In the last two years my vision has actually improved, to the amazement of my eye doctor. Even better, when you return from your mental excursion you’ll find that the other things loom much smaller, or don’t loom at all.
Try it. I hope you’ll like it.