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Your Worst Enemy  

Who is the enemy?

Who is the one causing you sadness, grief depression, and anxiety over all the different events happening in your life? Events that happen directly to you or are out of your control. Friends, family, corporations, billionaires, politicians, climate change?

I remember one day I was sitting by the window in my room watching the sunrise while drinking my morning coffee. I had nothing special on my mind, and most of the thoughts I had were about how beautiful the sunrise looked. Then I remembered some political news I had read day the before that had irked me. “They always do this, so typical of (insert person/party)” and I started going into a pattern of all kinds of thoughts that started to sour my mood. Suddenly however I stopped, took a few deep breaths, and started watching the sunset again. I had a great morning after that.

What happened just then? Just when I was beginning to go down a rabbit hole of thoughts, I caught myself, stopped, took a pause, and continued whatever I was doing. I did not however catch “myself” in doing anything. “I” was just sitting there watching the sunset. Who did I catch before things got sour?

My Mind.

You have all heard about so-called “Intrusive” thoughts. Thoughts that seem to pop up out of nowhere in the most inappropriate situations. For example, when you are standing on top of a high cliff this thought could pop up: “Would I survive if I jumped off this cliff?”. Of course, you know not to follow this impulse because probably yes you would not survive or be badly hurt. What if I told you that all of your thoughts are intrusive. Why did I suddenly remember the news I had read the day before? I was doing something completely different, and then out of nowhere my mind just did a: “Hey remember this?”.

Our mind does this all the time. It’s constantly forcing thoughts to the surface, and like the impulsive creatures we are we follow it. The thing is, you don’t need to follow them. The mind is creating thoughts, it’s your choice if you want to follow that thought or let it pass. Just like the sunrise, a cold breeze, a leaf on the river, it will pass. How freeing is that! You do not have to emotionally invest in anything the mind gives you. It’s all just happenings, you choose how you react to them.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash