[Before reading this post, you might like to look at Feeling Crap: A Brief Introduction to Your Suffering Mind ]
DIGGING INTO THE “BAD” CRAP OF SUFFERING
Let’s dig a little bit more deeply into our very human crap.
Might it be fair to say your mind is labelling all of that crap as BAAAAAD crap at the moment? Good, let’s label it as BAD crap, because maybe that’s what it is, even though it’s also our brains and minds doing their brainy/mindy/languagey/labelling stuff (good me/bad me, good Mum/bad Mum, good day/bad day etc.).
It’s not our brain or mind’s fault. They’re designed to do this, remember? Problem-solve as much as possible through evaluation and comparison in a bid to keep us away from anything they perceive as a threat to us? And it’s not our fault for sometimes buying into the very BAD stuff they sometimes or often come up with. A rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong!
For the sake of simplicity though, let’s say there might be three layers to our suffering, three layers of BAD crap.
The first I’m going to call BLINKERED MIND.
When pain in any shape or form shows up in our lives, our problem-solving brains become very, very busy and focused on this pain as if the the pain itself were a terrible threat to our continued existence.
In order to work on these problems our brains quite often fuse with the painful thoughts, feelings, urges, or body sensations, to the point where the thing we’re struggling with starts taking over our lives.
It can sometimes feel or look like that moment in any good horror film where some poor soul is being jerked about like a puppet by the demon now controlling its mind and body. We too can also become controlled, smothered, overwhelmed by our own problem-solving, pain-solving minds.
Also, because pain in any shape or form is so uh painful, our suffering Blinkered Minds will often try to avoid this pain in a very intuitive way.
“GO AWAY it says to the painful thought or feeling. Also: “I’m getting away from all of this shit!” Maybe we go away with booze or drugs, ice-cream, TV (or in my case ice-cream and TV), Twitter/WhatsApp/Facebook, or working long hours.
Or maybe we physically try and escape our lives: staying in bed, or going on a holiday, or cutting off communication with someone we’re in conflict with. Again: the natural, default GO AWAY function of our brains and minds can sometimes start to run, and ruin, the whole show!
When our minds go Blinkered they often also go into Autopilot Mode.
Their focus, their “route” you might say is set, or stuck in a particular way of doing things.
Autopilot Mind equally gets stuck in the past or the future. Focusing bitterly, or regretfully, on where our lives are flying to and from.
Also: why this might be happening to us, or why this has always happened to us, returning again and again to a particular set of memories and experiences.
Sometimes our minds do this fruitfully, as when they sit down to write a short story or a memoir, but very often they do this with a great deal of suffering, and almost no benefit for our present lives.
We also often become fixated on what’s ahead: doing so so with anxiety, worry and problem-solving busy-ness.
Autopilot Mind has no time to enjoy the journey of life. Life is never a sunset or a shooting star, always just another maths problem.
Like we might binge on a Netflix series, Autopilot Mind binges on problem-solving in an attempt to make sense of, or find a solution to our suffering. But because it’s on Autopilot, when it gets to the end of the suffering script or “route”, it just goes back to the beginning and starts all over again.
So we get stuck on certain routes or grooves of the mind, outdated coping strategies that whirr around and around like a broken record.
We can also get stuck in a certain way of being, a certain kind of identity. Why don’t you sit back for a moment and ask the Identity-Setting part of your mind to complete the following sentence stem and see what it comes up with.
[SPOILER ALERT: It’s unlikely to suggest anything especially positive. Minds aren’t designed to do that. Positivity doesn’t keep us safe from perceived threats and harm.)
Whatever “me” our suffering minds are identifying with at this moment…(again, complete the sentence stem below for yourself)…
…this “idea” of ourselves, these words, become like a small, claustrophobic single-seater aircraft which we can’t get out of until it lands.
Here’s another one for you to get your mind to work on.
The main problem with this process is that our minds are designed to fly in certain patterns continuously, without ever landing.
Unless we help them to do so.
So that’s the second layer of BAD crap: when our minds, in the process of carrying out their primary tasks (analysing our lives as if they were maths equations) end up flying in quite rigid, inflexible patterns.
It’s often a case of 1+1=2 when dealing with our somewhat inflexible minds.
And 2, more often than not, can sometimes just equal more…pooh. More suffering.
THE FINAL LAYER OF BAD CRAP
Perhaps as a result of the first two layers of crap, but maybe also for other reasons we become DISCONNECTED from all the good stuff in our lives.
In Blinkered and Autopilot Mind we are often out of touch with those things that give our lives meaning, which is to say our core values.
What is it that really drives us? What do we want to actually DO with our one wild and precious life, other than fighting off painful mind-states?
Understandably, when we are disconnected or unclear about this, we can also become disconnected from…LIVING!
Which is to say: we stop doing all the things that are most meaningful to us whilst we fight with our minds. Instead of focusing on valued-living activities, we might also end up doing other stuff: things that we think will “make us happy” or give us some momentary pleasure (tub of Belgian Chocolate Häagen-Dazs and an endless stream of mindless sitcoms for Steve, please!), rather than feeding our souls.
Or maybe we end up doing what other people, or even the marketing forces of our culture tell us will make us happy, but often fail to do so.
So what to do about all of this BAD crap?!
Good question. You can find some answers to that in my final post on The Suffering Mind: Three Ways out of The Suffering Mind.
Otherwise if you’d like to arrange an initial consultation session to talk more about whatever it is you’re struggling with at the moment, we can organise that via email or telephone (07804197605).
Also please feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions regarding the therapy I offer. I look forward to hearing from you.