Tag Archives: #stress

Are We Lying To Ourselves?

Have you ever been in a situation where you did something without remembering you just did that? Take a shower without realizing it or driving home from the office or travelling on a tube and may be missed your stop. Your mind was so engrossed in something that you forget what you are ‘actually’ doing. 

Has it ever happened that your body reacts to something which is not accurate because it sees/hears/tastes or touches something? I remember standing on the escalator in Warren Street tube station, watching the ads on the sides of the walls. One of the ads was about a hamburger, and my mouth started salivating even though I was a budding Vegan).

We have six sense doors – smell, sight, sound, taste, touch and our thoughts. And our body is blind without these. Our body gets a sense of what is going on in the outside world only through these sense doors. 

Let’s connect the dots. Your mind has a strong habit, also called conditioning, of never being in the present moment. It lives mainly in the past or the future. For the most part, you are playing out the movie that the thoughts in your head are displaying. And if your mind is one of the sense doors, then your body starts to react to it as if it were real.

For example, you missed your tube in the morning, or you had a fight with your boss – and on your way home, you replay that incident in your head. Your physical body is sitting in the tube, but it reacts as if you are fighting your boss now. But, at the same time, a part of you knows that you are sitting in the tube – because you cannot deny it. Your feet on the floor, your bum is uncomfortable on the cushion.

What happens to a piece of string when pulled in two different directions? Or when you apply pressure on metal in different positions. They will break or become brittle and will not be able to perform the essential functions. This is what we do to our bodies all day long. We are somewhere, but we trick our body into thinking we are somewhere else. We may be in the car, but we are thinking about how nice our childhood was or how bad our childhood was. You may be eating your dinner, but you are thinking about your last vacation. No wonder stress is one of the significant issues on the planet earth today.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines hypocrisy as a feigning to be what one is not or believe what one does notbehaviour that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel. In this sense, are we all not hypocrites – doing something but accepting something else is real. And we go through our lives without really living. And even worse, our poor bodies have no idea what is going on. One Minute they are excited about getting the promotion, and the next, they are worried about the rise. Can you imagine what it does to your body? What happened to the body being a temple?

How are you treating your body?

Trickster Mind

For the last eighteen months or so, I had been on the path to get a new role at work in a different profession. I had gotten a couple of interviews but never made it into the second round. Subconsciously, I lived in a world where I want the role but was never going to get it. Third time around, I made it into the second round – and then actually landed the role.  

You would expect an overabundance of joy from me, correct? I did too. Instead, I had fear or more shock as the primary emotion. I do feel joy in spurts and bursts. I was disappointed because I did not get the role, now I am unhappy because I got the role – which is correct? Neither, the truth is I have got a new role – end of the story. A more profound truth is right now my hands are typing on the keyboard as my eyes watch the bunch of words appear on the laptop screen.

Our minds/egos love the vacillation – they need to identify with something it does not matter what. If you watch your thoughts, you will notice what a turncoat the mind is – Hopes to fear, Rags to riches. It contains the entire collection of the shows you can find on streaming these days. And we get caught up in that story and forget about the space in which the story takes place.

Eckhart Tolle tells a story in one of his talks – In Greece, there was a knotted rope which was very complicated. The story was that the person to undo the knot would be a great person. Many came and tried in vain to untie the knot. Then one young boy came and cut the knot with a sword – rumour has it, he grew up to be Alexander the Great.

Sometimes, the only way to get over the mind stories is through the sword of presence. What does that mean? It is hard to explain it in words, so here are some pointers:

  1. Remind yourself – ‘No thought matters absolutely.’ Be it about job, career, food, family, death, politics – it’s just a bunch of words. Be in the NOW.
  2. Treat your mind like a little child – pat its head and nod politely. You cannot be serious about all that little kids talk about, right? Mindfulness always works.
  3. Focus on breath or body sensations – because it brings you to reality. If it’s not happening now – you are living in the dream (what-if) world. Presence is the key.

Easier said than done. When you are in the grips of the story where your career is going down the drain, it is tough to step out of it and say – ‘It’s just a bunch of words.’ The way to get there is to notice every time it happens, even if it is hours after it happened. Because every time you become aware, you are de-personalizing the mind. The mind is not you anymore at least for that brief second. And then there will come the point when you will laugh at the stories that mind builds up and watch them as they arise and pass.

Trick Question: Which thought of your mind matters absolutely?

Wake Up!

I had a dream that I was in a marketing office with my friend. My friend was having issues with her peer, and we were walking down the corridor to the boss’s office. All of a sudden fire alarm start – annoying kind, Kiiiiii-Kiiiii Kiiiii. We look at each other and assume it is some test and keep walking. We walk into the office, and I tell her peer to be nice to my friend. The alarm is still blaring. I also explain that I am intervening because I care about the project. The alarm is beeping faster now.

And then I realize that it is my clock alarm – I Wake Up. And all of a sudden the dream that was so real turns into nothing – just made up stuff. However, elaborate the dream might be when you wake up, you know it is not real.

The question is – do we realize that we dream in our so-called real life as well? Most of the time. Don’t believe me? How many times have you driven home without realizing that you are driving until you reach home? How many times have you zoned out in a meeting? How many times do you run through a scenario that happened in the past? Or you want to happen in the future?

Our minds are conditioned to either live in the past or the future. And for the most part, it is like they are on auto-repeat – there are a couple of themes that keep playing again and again. And we become those thoughts and lose touch with reality. When the only place we can truly live is in the NOW rest, everything else is in our head.

This year with people being in lockdown – the nature of our mind has become, louder and we are not able to ignore it. A lot of people assume that they cannot stop thinking about the to-do list because they are stuck at homes. The real truth is this is the nature of your mind, and you never noticed it before.

This jumping away from the present moment is more noticeable when you are doing something unpleasant. I got the idea for the blog while I was doing Surya Namaskar B in yoga – because I find it boring and painful and my mind jumped on the opportunity to escape. And then I woke up and realized that I was touching my feet with my toe.

So, what can you do about it? First, realize that this is the nature of your mind. It finds the present moment boring because there is nothing to do except live the current moment. There is no drama in the now. Second, notice whenever it jumps into the past or the future – even if it is after two hours of daydreaming. Third, whenever possible, bring your attention to your body – if you are sitting on a sofa, feel it. If you are typing, touch the keyboard.

Nothing like a dose of body sensations or breath to train our mind to be in the now. Where are you living?