I Want to Break Free
Antony Sammeroff, Contributor
Most of us are trapped in a prison of our own substance and we don’t even know what the bars are made of. They are not of our circumstances, or even of our reactions to them per se. More often than not they are the fear of our own emotions. Too frequently in life we refuse some opportune course of action because it might lead to excessive shame, guilt, fear, anger, heartache… these are alarm systems triggered by the mind’s belief that the past may repeat itself in the present.
Feeling ashamed never killed anyone. Feeling guilty has never caused us physical injury. So why are we so afraid of these sirens which scream into our hearts and shroud our ability to reason effectively?
The mind is a bit like a big dog that comes into the room to find its place amongst the pack. If the owner is unsure of himself his pet becomes very defensive. It gets nervous, gruff, sometimes even violent. He feels he must be the alpha-male of the pack, dominating everyone to make sure they are under control. But once the master learns to lead this big Alsatian he instantly calms down. His shoulders relax, the tension comes out of his back and he is ready to simply love and be loved. He no longer feels the weight of responsibility upon him because he can rely on his leader to keep him safe. He no longer has to strain to lead a human, something he is ill-equipped for by nature, because the human is in control of himself. A dog is naturally happy under sure leadership.
So it is with the mind. When the mind does not trust our agency it attempts to take over in order to anticipate potential threats based on previous experience and protect us from them, even if they are merely imagined. It will do this even if this means the complete mental paralysis of the individual, who experiences powerlessness and an inability to take any initiative action at all owing to an overactive fight or flight response, which has been more accurately categorized as the fight or flight or freeze response.
The mind has no free will. Its path is entirely conditioned by past experience. But our mind is not afraid of not being in control, that is a misunderstanding, it is actually afraid of being out of control. It performs brilliantly under sure leadership. That is why people who are more in Self and use the mind are so magnetic, powerful, dynamic, creative, intelligent, original, and they are great thinkers. They create and accomplish more than people who are too much in their heads.
The conditioned mind is used to a state of tension, both in the body and the emotions. It associates the habit of continually anticipating and reacting to avoid potential threats with being safe, because it is this habit which has allowed it to survive so far – even while the quality of life may have been diminished.
The process of deconditioning the mind is also the process of coming more into the body, because a contradiction-free mind is so much engaged with the processes of being and doing that it has little time to overthink. The trick is to take control of the mind whenever you can. Use it to comfort yourself and tell it positive messages. The mind cannot discern the difference between the truth and phantasy because it is a bio-computer, it is simply data-in; data-out. When you feed it positive messages, like “I am safe”, or “I am really going to enjoy this”, it has something new to work with. It may doubt you at first because it cannot hold on to two contradictory messages at once, but it has to eventually reconcile previous beliefs with present understanding. Because it cannot receive two contradictory messages at the same time, it has to adapt its beliefs to the evidence you present it with. All messages are considered evidence and either falsified with contrary thoughts or put into some kind of context: It can hold onto ideas, and that is what it does by default, but it is also capable of understanding that the past is no longer present, and thus what may have been true can both have been true, and no longer be true simultaneously.
That is how the mind reconciles “old” ideas with “present” understanding. Once you know how it works it gets easier, but knowledge is only potential power. It takes the conscious effort of allowing Self to guide the mind, and only allowing the mind to inform the Self rather than take control and scare it.
The mind is a beautiful ally, but, like the dog, it is ill-equipped to lead because it cannot think outside of the box, if you’ll appreciate the irony.
About the Author
Antony is a relationship coach living in Edinburgh, Scotland where he runs life-changing workshops to help people improve the way they communicate with themselves and others. He administrates The Progressive Parent youtube channel which provides free resources for carers of children, and is studying his postgraduate doctrine in Counselling part-time. His most fulfilling vocation is helping individuals and couples from all over the world to better meet their own needs for a fulfilling life directly over Skype. His website can be found at www.enrichyourlife.co. Antony now answers emails on improving relationships on YouTube.
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