Are your thoughts, drives, and actions inspired by something you want to have? Or something you want to avoid?
For example: Do you want to be in a relationship to love and share or do you not want to be alone? Is being in a dysfunctional relationship preferable to being alone? Most wouldn’t answer yes, yet many do enter and or stay in such relationships when it is clear that it is far from ideal.
How long can you stand to be alone with your thoughts? When so, what is your state of mind? Is it boredom? Contentment? Fear? Jubilation? Loneliness? Depression or anxiety? A combination of things?
It has been said that we humans have a survival instinct. I would agree that we do. However I have seen many people knowingly engage in behaviors such as smoking, drugs, bad diet, and so on, that would seem to work against their own survival. It doesn’t mean they lack a survival instinct, but it does suggest that something going on inside of them is powerful enough to override it in some cases.
It has also been said that we humans need a purpose. “A reason to get up everyday”. Indeed, retirement doesn’t sit well with many. Retirement and the loss of a spouse is a double whammy that many do not recover from. But why do we need a purpose? Why do we need a reason to get up everyday? Why can’t we peacefully, joyfully exist in silence? Why do some of us have to fill ourselves up with relationships and a gluttony of things to do? Anything to avoid being alone with ourselves?
My theory is, it is like we are lost and running in the desert. Either we are running towards our hopes, away from our fears or combination of both. Running away from our anxieties and towards that which we subconsciously believe will alleviate them.
One challenge is that we want our hopes so badly, and want to avoid our fears just as much, that we sometimes cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is a mirage.
In a relaxed, meditative, neutral state of consciousness, figure out who you are. Where you are. The only wrong answers are the dishonest ones. We come across these when we try to deceive ourselves in to thinking we are what we think we should be. What we have been raised or conditioned to be.
What are your honest hopes, fears, dreams, likes and dislikes? Ask yourself, how do your actions and behaviors move you towards or away from what it is you want, and what it is you want to avoid.
You can also apply this to belief systems and thought processes. How do they serve or sabotage the stillness of your mind?
If you are engaging in something to avoid anxiety, depression or loneliness, it may just be an escape. Even if it is not a “bad” escape like drugs, it is still an escape that may be doing nothing more than filling a void.
If it does so as a temporary band-aid to see you through something, it can be helpful. If it is more permanent, than it may seem all well and good until one day you see it for what it is, and it leaves you feeling empty and questioning and reevaluating life.
A neutral state of consciousness may help you figure this all out. Shine a light on what makes you tick. It could leave you feeling more peaceful, and have you making choices based on what you want rather than what you want to avoid. The latter being a recipe for seeing things that aren’t there, settling, and an inner turmoil that you can never quite put your finger on, but that you know is always there.
I have three exercises for you.
1- Find yourself some alone time. No TV, no reading, no computer, conversation, etc. It is just you alone on an island. Eyes open. Exist here for as long as you can. Right down how you feel. What are your thoughts and feelings? What are you wanting to do and why?
Now take it one step deeper…
2- Meditate. On a different day. Find some more alone time to meditate. If meditation is not normally your thing, not too worry. Find a time when you have no distractions. Yes, I know that can be challenging, but if this is important to you, you can do it.
Close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. In through you nose and out through you mouth. Give yourself permission to let go of all of your concerns. Tell yourself those concerns will be there when you are done and it is okay to let go for a little while. All that matters is the moment and the breath. Visualize or imagine yourself in a peaceful happy place. A place where you feel safe. Ask yourself, what do I truly want? Out of life, out of a job, out of specific relationships? Ask yourself, what do I fear? Write this down.
3- Sleep with a pad and pen, or a digital recorder next to your bed. When you wake up try not to move to suddenly. The stiller you lay in the bed the better recall you may have of your dreams. Write them down as best you can and see if understanding their meaning can help you in any way.
THE ABOVE REPRESENTS MY PERSONAL OPINION. I AM NOT A LICENSED THERAPIST. ANY WORDS IN THIS BLOG ARE NOT MEANT TO, NOR SHOULD THEY REPLACE THAT OF A DOCTOR OR LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.