Have you ever felt like there are people in your life who are out there to purposely hurt you? Have you ever felt judged or even discriminated by people close to you? Have you felt resentment and hatred towards anyone for how they treated you? Are you carrying any past hurt in your heart from your loved ones? If your answer to any of the above questions is “yes”, this post could help you see through things clearly and help build awareness of how our mind is programmed to receive and react to external information. Once the right level of awareness settles in, it could even potentially help provide the closure that you need in order to move on.
As few years ago, I could give an affirmative response to each of these questions. I felt isolated, my walls were up and I was constantly suffering. For some reason, I had a hard time reaching the truest self of people around me and showing them my most genuine ego-less self. My relationships were a big mess as they were not based on truth and trust. The true soul-to-soul connection was completely missing in my relationships. Later on, I came to the realization that everyone’s behavior was merely a reflection of my own. If I wanted to fix things, I would have to change my own self first. Before I could initiate any transformation within myself, it was important to be aware of how our mind works.
The survivor mind: you must have heard many spiritually enlightened teachers say that we are more than our mind and body. What they are really trying to point out is that the negative non-stop chatter that runs in our mind is often misleading. At the most primitive level, our mind (aka ego) is wired to act in a survivor mode. Our primitive hunter-gatherer attitude makes us become highly prone to being triggered repeatedly and unnecessarily into various states of “survival mode” by our surroundings and circumstances. Our mind becomes highly sensitive to any emotional distress that we experience internally and externally. Our ego constantly feels insecure and seeks control because it wants to protect itself from any potential hurt.
In my personal story, once my trust with anyone was broken, my mind shifted gears and operated in survivor mode. Consequently, all the actions towards me were scrutinized by my mind to see if it was a personal attack. As the law of attraction would have it, when I approached my interactions with guardedness and with the vigilant intention of finding a personal attack, I received nothing but more personal attacks. How do you think my mind felt at that point? My mind felt validated in being in survivor mode, it attracted more attacks and kept justifying its perception. In a very short amount of time, my relationships and I were in a never ending deadlock.
Victimized POV: In the survival mode, our mind assumes the worst in a situation and makes projections out into the future based on our ugliest fears. In these situations, our mind is filled up with non-sense that makes us feel like we are the victims and others are out there to hurt us badly. In every situation from there on, our mind keeps this victimized frame of reference and views everything with this lens. Our mind completely gets filled up with these thoughts and non-stop chatter of self-justification and proving ourselves as victims. We feel extreme emotions of pain from a victim point of view. We constantly analyze the past and prove the righteousness of our thoughts and actions almost on auto play. There is absolutely no end to these negative emotions. They destroy our peace and bring tremendous amount of suffering internally. Most human beings don’t know how to release emotions in a healthy manner. Therefore, we end up hurting others and maintaining a safe distance from our loved ones. Eventually when people lose supportive, loving relationships, they feel lonely for extended periods and the consequences could be devastating.
Of course in my personal example too, my mind always felt the need to be right. I felt like I was a victim and continued justifying my ego based reactions. Needless to say, I felt very distant in my so-called close relationships. The pain of past hurt and the fear of future hurt from both sides didn’t allow us to patch the distance either. Feeling self pity in a victim state of mind is the most heart numbing feeling ever. It doesn’t allow us to act from a place of higher consciousness and blocks our connection with our own inner divinity.
True Self: Many spiritual gurus from the eastern traditions say that our true self is our soul energy which is the part of us that lives forever. The physical body, including our mind and ego are temporary and differs in each lifetime. The most temporary piece in this equation is emotions which keep changing depending on how we feel in every moment. We all exist at the soul level and the best way is for us to witness these temporary emotions and thoughts. If we get too attached with these feelings, it is easy for our mind to be hijacked and filled with the feeling of being a victim.
Please note that practicing detachment doesn’t mean being insensitive. It means understanding that every emotion of discontentment is an opportunity for us to shed our own layers of nonsense which cover our truest self. Detachment also means having a firm conviction that every situation in our life will steer us on the path of discovering our inner divinity. And lastly, practicing detachment means believing that every single being in our co-creation exists to help us grow.
As I have been suggesting in previous posts, The Power of Now is an excellent read if you’d like to develop a deeper awareness of how the mind works. Simply reading a page or two each day helps me in addressing my mind chatter. The daily practice of meditation also helps in uncovering my true self and bringing my energy to the highest vibration. It builds stillness and creates a gap between external stimulus and response. For example, the subtle gap created between someone speaking unkind words to us (the stimulus), and us reacting to it in anger (the response). The most beautiful and empowering feeling is that we can leverage this gap to our benefit by choosing how we react to that stimulus based on our awareness.
If you do catch yourself experiencing negative emotions, take a deep breath and remind yourself that “this too shall pass”. Simply witness your emotions, acknowledge them, but ask why am I feeling this way? What is the underlying layer of expectation or ego that’s driving this negative emotion? Why am I attracting this situation and how do I let it go from my space?
Understanding how our mind works is a very vast topic. Now that we looked into how our mind can sabotage and work against us, we will take a look at the other aspects of our mind and how they can affect our lives. Therefore, rather than making this a huge post, I will break this topic up into a three part series: part 2 [mind as a stranger] and part 3 [mind as a friend].
Image source: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2019550/images/n-DEPRESSION-large570.jpg