Feelings Alert

“Oh bother, I’m feeling upset. I feel unworthy, unloved, unappreciated. It feels like I’m missing out on so many things. I feel as if nothing goes right in my life. It feels like everything is horrible.”

“Oh no! He’s upset! Sound the alarm! We better figure out what’s causing this issue so it can be fixed!”

“First, let’s do an overall scan of his current life-situation, maybe there’s a lack of fulfillment there – a hole that needs filling. Let’s also scan his childhood for early signs and symptoms that might trace back to his current problem. Also, scan his thoughts, what’s he been thinking about lately!? All hands on deck!! This is NOT a drill!!”

Or, I could choose not to have those feelings and bypass the rigmarole.

“I notice I’m feeling bad. Hm. Perhaps I’ll daydream about a scene that I’d enjoy. There I am, feeling triumphant! I’m a winner, praised by those that appreciate me – I feel their love. I did it, I AM worthy, I feel worthy. This worked out great, everything’s great, I feel great!”

My earlier complaints are gone. I feel better. Who cares what my current situation is. Who cares what my childhood was like. Who cares what I was thinking about. I choose to feel something pleasant. Turns out, it doesn’t matter why I felt bad before – logic won’t help. I just need to write-over the unpleasant feelings with better ones.

Any cheap, low-quality plot can manipulate feelings. The reason why I feel a certain way isn’t special. I could’ve been watching a soap-opera and applied its plot to my own life. Feelings are dumb and they’re evoked with dumb story-lines. This is fine, but it means feelings aren’t valuable – they’re a dime a dozen. This also means that whatever inspires a feeling isn’t special either. I can choose to make it special, but that’s a decision I make – it has no control over me.

Well that’s the theory anyway. We’ll see how the previously mentioned experiment goes. The initial results are promising though – so far so good.

Subpar to Par

How can everything be subpar when I haven’t experienced “par”. In other words, how can everything be below-average when there’s no actual average to compare to? I don’t have satisfying experiences, I have disappointing experiences – and that’s always the case. Maybe it’s because I’m comparing my circumstances to an “ideal” that only exists in my imagination?

That sounds like a trick my chatty-mind is playing on my experiential-mind. So there I am, experiencing life, my consciousness is quietly observing – but then, that bully of a mind starts with the imaginary comparisons. “Well this could be better! If they tweaked a few things, it would improve substantially! As it is, this experience is horrible!! It’s basically torture!” Hm, yeah that’s what typically happens.

So, all this time I thought I was having the worst experience possible. But it turns out that my chatty-mind just keeps trash-talking everything, so things seem like they’re the absolute worst. Yet they can’t be – you can’t have a “worst” if there’s no range of options – there’s no “best” or “just right”. It’s always some form of unpleasantness, it’s either “meh, this is lame” or “gah, this sucks” or “hmph this seems okay, but it’s probably bad”.

What’s the takeaway from this realization? That my chatty-mind is cruel and ruins everything. It’s literally the worst thing that’s ever happened in my experience of existence. Wait, that sounds like something my chatty-mind would say about everything else, yet I’m saying it about my chatty-mind. Hm, I’m not sure what the takeaway is. Maybe my chatty-mind needs a hug.

Degrading Ideas

Okay, it’s been about a week since my last update on my current experiment. I’ve noticed an issue with performing an experiment longer than a few days: concepts degrade over time. What made perfect sense a couple weeks ago, isn’t so clear now. What was I doing – exactly? Even if written down, the original inspiration fades, the background setting changes, focus isn’t the same, definitions morph and evolve – and daily life seems to scribble over the page.

I can see how the decay-rate of memory can be beneficial, allowing me to forget a lot of stuff. I think it helps in the ability to perform routines, making activities seem fresher than they are. I can forget how full I was yesterday and eat more food today. And if I forget the details of a movie, I can enjoy it again. In other words, the way thoughts fade away over time seems to be a good thing.

But, it makes long-term alterations difficult. How do you maintain a concept when it has a temporary shelf-life? The original inspiration isn’t there anymore – all I have is a memory of a thought. Then another week passes and I only have a memory of a memory of a thought. Reminders don’t work because they fade into the background, like smell-blindness. It seems I have to wait until a similar idea and its accompanying inspiration passes through my consciousness again.

The general idea of the experiment had to do with a practice of positivity. I’m supposed to infuse my mind with a habit of thinking good-thoughts – focusing only on thoughts that suggest creativity, appreciation, or lightheartedness. But without the original motivation, how can I remember to do that throughout every hour of every day? I recall the process kinda worked, but now things are back to “normal” and I’m lost in everyday life.

New Year Knew Me

Greetings dear diary, this is my first entry of the new year (2022). I had a decent Christmas season by the way: we’re living in a nice place, we decorated, we gave and received some quality presents, we ate some treats, and I’m back to my woodworking hobby – all good stuff.

I’m also back to doing three 15-minute meditation sessions per day (morning, afternoon, and night). I stopped during the holidays and noticed the difference. I’m really trying to rein in my mind this time. I’m sick of its antics and want to truly subdue it.

I fully recognize how my experience of existence is affected by my focus. If I allow my consciousness to focus on wandering thoughts, I’m overwhelmed with the sensation of drama and dissatisfaction. Whereas when my consciousness is restrained from following random thoughts, I experience sensations of tranquility and contentment.

The cause-and-effect is that simple. In meditation, I’ve been witnessing this direct correlation over and over. When I allow my mind to wander, I end up agitated – every time. And when I stop my mind from wandering and following all of its silly stories, I’m serene and satisfied.

So dear diary, that’s where I’m at right now. I’m hammering away at this point until my mind gets the message. Even if I had the best external experience possible, I couldn’t enjoy it with a critical and chaotic mind running rampant. My path is clear: mental discipline or bust.

Mental Prep

The conscious mind is under constant attack from the wandering mind. If you don’t prepare by practicing the act of unfocusing, you WILL suffer. You need to be able to remove your attention from any thought at any time without delay or hesitation. You’re dealing with a power that is ready, willing, and able to inflict as much pain as possible through imaginary ideas and visual imagery.

This trickster knows what works and how to attain your attention. Selecting known attack-vectors, this hacker exploits your weaknesses, infiltrates your system, and maxes-out your resources. You’re owned. On the plus side, it’s easy to detect when you’re being hacked: your system will be spinning at full-throttle. If you’re amped-up, anxious, and upset – it’s a hack in-progress.

In other words, if you’re thinking the same emotionally-charged thoughts over and over, you’re being exploited by the wandering mind. It’s not an advanced mechanism, it’ll keep using whatever works. If thinking about an incident from a decade ago makes you upset, then you’ll keep seeing that scene pop-up in your thoughts. But instead of allowing the wandering mind to follow that thought, you need to unfocus from it. See the familiar scene, notice the emotion, and shut it down.

Your enemy, your abuser, your torturer has been tormenting you your entire life and will continue until the day you die. If you’re not angry about this, you’re a moron. If rage doesn’t fill you with the motivation to destroy this usurper, you’re a fool. Take back your mind. Make ready for war – fight!

But here’s the deal: your experience of existence is like sitting in a car in which you floor the accelerator. And unfortunately, you never consider grabbing and controlling the steering wheel. Thus you’re crashing every few feet while the unmanned wheel causes the car to swerve all over. Therefore, the true enemy here is your own negligence. Grab the wheel, dummy!

Suffering is the result of unfettered thoughts within a wandering mind. You need to gain control and train your consciousness to unfocus from thoughts. The less you focus on unpleasant thoughts, the better you’ll feel. And recognize that memories are just reoccurring thoughts, you simply unfocus on those like any other. In short: if you feel dissatisfied and don’t want to, then discipline the mind until it goes away.

External Enemies

No matter the form they took, be it bullies or bills – external enemies weren’t my actual adversary. My true enemy is the one residing within: the tormenting thoughts that never cease. Extreme stress didn’t come from actual events, it came from the surrounding thoughts. It’s obvious now: no matter the situation, seemingly good or bad, my thoughts found a way to inflict pain and dissatisfaction. Got a gift? “What’s wrong with it!?” Got a deadline? “You’ll never finish in time!!”

Those stupid, pestering thoughts. Vermin of the mind, running around spreading disease as they consume anything of value. What stops vermin is filling gaps, setting traps, and deploying predators. Don’t give “thoughts” space to roam free. Set the bait and watch as they emerge to nibble – notice the paths they take and the ways they react. Be the predator that pounces – in quiet meditation consume each thought as prey, one after another, powerless to your prowess.

I feel no sorrow for these “thoughts” that tricked me into believing I was surrounded by enemies on all sides. They hid in the shadows of the mind, accusing everything of malevolence, making me believe “thoughts” were my only refuge in a world of external evil. “Come, lose yourself in thought, we’re the only experience you need. Reject all that you see, trust in us as your source of nourishment.” What a fool I was, believing every word.

Thoughts are a fairytale, they reveal no truth – how could they? Thoughts reside in the mind, like a reclusive shut-in that complains of a world he only assumes exists. Assertive repetition makes him sound convincing, but his claims are pure fantasy. The formula is simple: is it a thought? Then it’s not true. Is it a thought? Then it’s a work of fiction. Is it a thought? Then it’s useless drivel – feel free to ignore. It’s a mistake to believe that thoughts represent truth.

Random Thoughts

Without thoughts: tranquility and contentment. With thoughts: drama and discontentment.

The formula’s simple folks. It’s “thoughts” that are bringin’ you down. Anxious, antagonizing, and abusive thoughts that keep runnin’ through your head – THAT’S the problem. Consider this: right after some event happens – it’s over. Yet your thoughts keep that event on replay so you can see and analyze it within your imagination indefinitely. And if it isn’t an external event, your thoughts just torment you in other ways, maybe tell you how dumb and ugly you are.

Folks, there’s no denying it, “thoughts” have got to go. I’ve tried being a good roommate, it doesn’t work. Those “thoughts” tear the place up everynight and take a dump in the kitchen sink. Are you just gonna spend the rest of your life wiping up after your thoughts? Hell no! Hey “thoughts”, get out – we’re done here.

I’ll be sitting there minding my own business and all of a sudden I feel bad. Hm, that’s weird. Oh yeah, my “thoughts” were running their mouth again. Well guess what “thoughts”? GTFO! I’m not following your random tangents into turmoil anymore.

Hey “thoughts”, how about I interrupt YOU and take a dump on all the garbage-ideas you keep contributing? How would you like those apples, sport? “Ha, I didn’t know thoughts could be so ugly! Wow if thoughts were physical objects, they’d be varying consistencies of puke. And if thoughts were a smell, they’d be an unflushed toilet. Hey, this is kinda fun isn’t it ‘thoughts’!? But you suck, so what would you know! Ha! I suppose thoughts are just worthless drivel meant to be ignored? Thoughts seem to be the slag of consciousness, mere scum that’s meant to be cleared away.”

Aww, now that’s not nice is it? So maybe “thoughts” should try a bit harder to contribute constructively to the conscious experience. Spewing crap all the time isn’t exactly “random”, it’s pretty predictable at this point. Therefore “thoughts”, stop being toxic or else just stay away. Silence is fine. Buh-bye.

Wandering Mind

When I stop to notice what I’m feeling, I often find that my thoughts are causing me distress. Antagonizing and abusive thoughts are constantly bombarding my awareness. What a way to spend the day!

Realizing the absurdity of the situation, I aim to fix it. But how? Well, I see that the source of the problem is my wandering mind. It’s an unruly beast that likes to roll around in muck and mire.

The solution is to leash the beast, to put it under ceaseless surveillance, not allowing it to wander where it wants. I must stop myself from getting lost in its chaotic rambling.

In that sense, negligence is the true cause of my distress. I must stop shirking the duty of monitoring my mind. I must not follow it down dark and dingy pathways. I must maintain awareness and focus on what I prefer.

In short: happiness and satisfaction are the result of a well-disciplined mind.

Strangled Entanglement

I’ve heard stories of people awakening to new perspectives after episodes of severe depression. Afterwards, they go on to tell of a silence. A certain voice is no longer present. Their minds are clear. They’re now at peace.

I think I’ve heard that particular inner-voice many times. In fact, it won’t shut up. It’s so pervasive and infectious that it incorporates itself into everything I think or do. It’s like a computer-virus, ceaselessly executing its code within my system, bogging down my resources with its buggy behavior.

So that seems to be a fact: there’s an inner-voice – parasitic perhaps, demonic maybe – that resides within the mind. But it also seems like there’s a possibility it can be silenced. But how? What’s the mechanism that must be applied?

Is it severe depression? Shutting down the body to such a degree that the voice gets bored and leaves? (or however it works). Maybe it’s simpler than that. I think creating a hostile environment could be part of the solution though.

To those ends, I’ve tried a lot of meditation in which I’ve purposefully worked towards unfocusing on my thoughts. I think it helped, but it’s a lot of effort and can be a real struggle. And if there’s a particularly invasive thought, then it can be near impossible to unfocus.

So I was sitting there trying to meditate one night. And I could readily see that my thoughts were the true cause of my discomfort and discontentment. No matter my external circumstances, these thoughts just piled on, constantly shoving insults in my face, and always inventing new ways of introducing distress.

I was getting frustrated with these invasive thoughts. They were an enemy, my abuser, actively attacking me from the inside. Slap after slap and then I snapped. I spiritually strangled the thoughts. I imagined a set of bluish energy-based hands grasping my bluish energy-based neck and I squeezed the life from those thoughts.

My mind got quiet. I sat there in silence for a bit. When you turn-off the TV, you’re left staring at a blank screen. Um, now what? Did I break something? Am I okay with this? Well, it’s better than the alternative. But how long will it last?

Basically, I went from passive-unfocusing to active-silencing and it worked. What years of meditation couldn’t do, a few seconds of assertiveness could. I suppose it’s like rebuking a demon: “Get back devil!” It didn’t last, but now I know such a space exists and can be reached. “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

Fourth-Person Perspective

For research purposes I often play video-games. When given the option, I usually select a first-person perspective for piloting my avatar. It’s more immersive and I find it easier to control – plus the added intensity helps to hold my attention. I AM the character – doing what must be done. Whereas in third-person, I feel like I’m helpin’ the guy out – he’s the character, not me. But the downside of being in first-person is the intensity – if my character loses, I lose.

It got me thinking about a possible fourth-person perspective. I couldn’t find much written about the concept. One game, a few years ago, had the player make changes to an onscreen-character’s environment which influenced the actions the character took. And in writing, I heard the 4th-person perspective described as a collective viewpoint: “we” – personal and omniscient all in one.

I often switch up my meditation tactics. Recently, I noticed how hard it was to maintain a goalie-like reactive stance while meditating. Just waiting for thoughts to come made me a sitting duck – I was at the mercy of an onslaught of thought. Therefore, I actively pursued a “destination” in meditation. With my eyes closed, I intentionally stared at the mottled formlessness, the waves of hue and light, the pixels underlying all. I did so until I no longer had to fully focus my attention, I was there.

It worked in the sense that I felt like I reached a place of pure potential, dreamlike, where I left my body behind. You might say I attained a fourth-person perspective. I was beyond the intensity of “I”, beyond the demanding nature of “you”, and beyond the sympathetic viewpoint of “he”. Perhaps it was “we”. We are not just a body, a thinking mind, or even pure awareness – we’re that, plus whatever lies beyond – we’re also an influencer of what we experience.

Maybe the spiritual goal is to reach and sustain this fourth-person perspective. Get beyond the ego, beyond the avatar, beyond the narrative – encompassing all, yet limited by none. Think of a cake: a cake isn’t merely a collection of ingredients (which are measured and mixed into something far beyond what their individual nature suggest). A cake can have significance, representing much more than consumable calories. Perhaps the fourth-person perspective recognizes all this.

To exist in this perspective, is to be removed from the intensity, aware of the narrative but not lost in it, and free from the boundaries of imagined limitations. In the fourth-person perspective, of what importance or weight are those tiny thoughts originating from “I”? “I” is only a fraction of “we”. The process of babysitting thoughts and managing tantrums-of-the-mind loses significance when measured against this grander transcendent journey.