As much as we try and heal through psychotherapy, counseling, bodywork or whatever our chosen modality is that hole inside of us never seems to get filled. It affects everything we do, our relationships, our health our sense of or place in the world. It keeps us running. On a hamster wheel. From one thing to the next, there is no rest. We finish one thing, we get that relationship, we get that job, we receive the accolades we wish for, we make that money that we are sure is going to give us the peace and security we long for — but it never lasts.
Sometimes, we can make it look good but deep down inside we know. We get clever and admit we have “imposter syndrome.” We settle. We get sick of settling and we bolt. We want to stop running so we settle down. We settle down then we have a crisis. Something is wrong. I need to find myself. THIS JUST ISN’T IT. We try to hide it from our loved ones, we don’t want to upset them. But something is just not right and we can’t figure out what.
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
Dualistic thinking. Here are some of the ways we try and work this out:
- Blaming others
- Blaming ourselves
- Reinventing ourselves
- Ending relationships
- Starting relationships
- Starting a career
- Ending a career
- Moving to another place
These changes that we can make in our lives are not inherently bad in and of themselves. It is the level of consciousness that we engage with these types of events that is the telltale sign. But why do we engage in this type of thinking? What is this urge that seems to drive us that is always trying to get MORE, always trying to protect itself and in survival mode?
The Little Me
There is a part of the mind that if used correctly is a valuable tool for our expression in the world. That part is known to some as the ego. I usually call it the thinking mind. Let’s call it the “little me.” The trouble is that this part of us can think it’s in charge and we become identified with this and think that all this thinking is who we are. Let’s watch this video by psychotherapist and awareness teacher Loch Kelly as he explains the “mini-me”:
Huh? Well, then who am I?
We’ll get into that. Let’s start by saying again — the thinking in your head is not you.
The little me out of control is a product of our mind/body survival program. Our lives are not under threat unless they are under direct threat. But the little me does not see it that way and overreacts by taking everything to an extreme and trying to control everything. For it’s survival.
As Loch says here we can learn to take a step back and we can see we can observe our thinking.
So, if we can observe our thinking the answer to “who am I” is close to who is it that is doing the observing? Or it may feel like what is doing the observing? But, let’s not get too weird. That is getting much closer to who we really are. Who we really are is much deeper and, ultimately, that is what we want to realize, live and embody. In the meantime, before we get there, how do we stop sinking?
We Can Learn To Float
It’s not easy sinking, clamoring back up to the surface and gasping for air, sinking again, almost drowning, saving ourselves only to sink again. It’s downright exhausting. The reason we do this is that we think the next thing we do is going to save us and the truth is — it’s not.
It may seem so for a minute. Or so.
Then BAM something is not OK again. How do we fix this? We don’t. This is the nature of life. What we do is we take a step back when we think something is going wrong. If we think something is going wrong we are going off track. And we are believing the little me.
The little me only knows pleasure or pain. That is your first red flag. On a very basic level the truth is life is not black and white. We all know this. So when the little me starts freaking that things are so BAD or even things are so GOOD those extreme points of view are just false.
In order to unhook from the thinking mind we have to bring our awareness out of our head and into our bodies. I outlined one exercise in this article here: The Ultimate Problem Solving Technique — There Is No Spoon
Here is the floating exercise I created for myself that works for me. When you find your mind is going crazy try this:
- Sit down in a comfortable position
- With your eyes open or closed imagine you are floating in water
- Feel how your awareness moves down into your body and you can sense that you are floating and on the inside of your body you sense the buoyancy.
- Stay here in the position for as long as it is comfortable
- Notice that the more you relax into this buoyancy feeling you may completely forget about what was going on in your head
- If you stay here long enough you may find the disturbance or “problem” that was going on in your head simply disappears.
This exercise has worked so well for me that I have completely dissolved any identification to what at one time would be extremely triggering issues like in my case, romantic love issues, when I’m really into someone, which is rare so when it comes up it’s a big deal. Or it was. The issue just never comes up any more and I have a new level of wisdom that I operate from when dealing with romance.
Try it. I’d love to hear your results.