Monster Mind

When we see a monster coming for us we know it. We don’t have to ask ourselves, “Is that a monster?” We know a monster when we see it coming and we run (unless we know it is a friendly monster). The mouth on each cheek, eyes in the back of its head, only one finger on each hand- all these things let us know that it is a monster. There is zero doubt about a monster when we see one.

But it is not so easy to recognize when we come upon a person whose mind is in such shape. Though he or she may have a great body, a perfect face, social status and be dressed very well, if their mind is disarranged it would be like they are growing hands from their head and have toes coming out of their face and chest. He or she would have a monster mind.

Often times we associate with monsters without knowing it. They are our bosses, our friends, our co-workers, our politicians, our parents, our neighbors and our partners. It could even be ourselves. Everyone knows when someone’s body appears to be very unusual but it is harder to realize when a person’s mind is twisted, warped or disarranged.

Just like we manicure our fingernails, brush our teeth and scrub our bodiesit is important that we manicure, brush and scrub our minds. If we neglect doing so we can end up with a mind that is a monster (warped, twisted or disarranged).

It is important that we are aware of our minds. That we are knowledgeable of what state our mind is in, the same way that we would know if our body or teeth were dirty.If we are not even able to be aware of the state of our mind, how can we take steps to change it? I think a monster is not aware that it is a monster. If it knew that it was a monster it would probably want to not be a monster.

It is first very important to be aware of our minds reactions to our own and other people’s actions. If we notice that our mind has become warped, twisted or disarranged (filled with judgment, worry, desire) it would be best to take steps to straighten things out.

Most people call it mindfulness. But regardless of whatever label you want to give it, mindfulness is really justactive control of your attention. Mindfulness is how we organize our mind. A monster’s attention is all over the place. Warped, twisted, disarranged and disorganized. When we become mindful we are taking control of our attention so that we can become more present and aware.

When we become present and aware we are more mindful of our five senses (our sensory experience). We don’t miss as much. We really notice things that we are hearing and seeing. We notice variations in color, shapes, textures and the various sounds that surround us. We have a heightened sense of smell and taste. We notice the action that is keeping us alive in the moment- the movement of our breathing. Our judgments, worries and desires cause us to become blind to these things and this can be because of a monster inside. By becoming more mindful we come alive.

A thief thinks he is looking all around and sees everything but really his desire makes him blind. He is unaware of his mind’s reaction to his actions; his desire dominates his mind. The very foundation of mindfulness is to be aware of our mind. To know what our mind is doing so that it does not become like a thief who ends up stealing our wellbeing and happiness away.

All we have for certain is this moment. This moment, right now. Are you fully here now? We cannot know for a fact that the next moment will come. The next moment is a fantasy in our mind. It does not exist outside our mind. This moment is real. It exists right here. So it is best to work on being fully present in this moment. When we are present and aware (not just thinking we are present and aware), we will not have a monster mind. Our mind will be clear, organized, sharp and attentive.

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Don't Fix It, Be With It!

The vast majority of people are busy seeking a cure. Deep down people don’t want to be helped, they want to be fixed. They don’t want empowerment and strength but want things to be quick and easy. They want a fix.

William Burroughs wrote that happiness is a by product of function, purpose and conflict; those who seek happiness for itself seek victory without war. You can not just think yourself happy and actually be happy if there is not authentic happiness present. Happiness is easy. We don’t need to be taught how to be happy. Mindfulness is a practice that teaches us how to suffer well. When we continue to try and think ourselves happy we remain ill equipped in managing the hardships of life.

In the self-help industry people are looking for peace and happiness just in itself. They don’t realize that you will never be without conflict and suffering. The practice of mindfulness is to learn how to work with the suffering and as a result suffer less. We suffer less when we let little victories be enough. When suffering less is good enough.  Let something help rather than always looking for a fix.

The practice of mindfulness does require continual commitment and discipline for the above reasons. To be able to be present with what is and let go again and again, requires continual practice and effort.

I think people lose their faith in mindfulness practice because they still suffer. They don’t realize that there is no end to suffering, but mindfulness helps lessen suffering. There is no being done and fixed as most want to believe. Mental health requires coming out of this fixed mindset and being ok with good enough, process, growth and the purpose that exists with just being present with what is. There is no cure. We are only done when we are dead.