Mental Malware

I spent a lot of time yesterday planning. I love to plan. I take out the calendar, set goals and deadlines, write them down, and usually don’t execute.

This time though, I am going to execute. I have to break this long streak of not finishing.

I found myself talking to myself in the kitchen yesterday.  I was thinking about this fear and risk averse problem of mine and wondering how this became such a meme in my life?

I KNOW where it all started. I know that my misguided and messed-up mother did a lot of damage. I can actually pinpoint the exact moment when the virus was implanted in my system.

Knowing that this malware is messing up my program doesn’t stop it from doing so, though.  I wish it did. But it doesn’t.

What would stop it? It needs to be quarantined. But how do I do that? I need a psy-ops team to go into the deep recesses of my psychological system and cordon off this area to keep it from flooding my nervous system with cortisol every time I think of doing something that is going to make me vulnerable to criticism.

How to do that? If I could figure that out, I could get rich. That’s because everyone has bugs in their systems. Toni Packer used to tell me, “As soon as a thing is SEEN, it no longer has to operate.”

In other words, as soon as I realize, and allow myself to feel that sickening feeling right in the moment, that’s the moment the monster is de-fanged.

Just like shining a light under the bed when you think there are monsters under there. Nope. No monsters. Go back to sleep.

But it is really scary to look under the bed when you BELIEVE there could be deadly monsters there.

Darren Hardy talked about “Lack and Attack.” He said that the brain wasn’t designed to make us happy. The brain was designed for survival. So the brain is always scanning for lack: Are we going to run out of food? Is anyone threatening our land?  We are also always scanning for attack: Who is out to get me? Where am I vulnerable?

My childhood was a “lack and attack” playbook. There was always the fear of lack (financially and emotionally) and the fear of attack from a mother who was always angry and frequently violent, first to us, and then when we became older and harder to beat, she would self-destruct in order to control through psychological manipulation.

So how come if I know what’s messing me up, and I know that it’s all safe now, and I no longer believe in  monsters under the bed, why does this stupid virus still freeze my program?

It’s exasperating.

Every morning I go to the studio, and after my posture practice I sit for awhile and “scan for viruses” in my mind. I think this might be a good strategy for vanquishing fear because I am coming to realize that none of it is real: not the really messed up parts of my personality , nor the really good parts either  It’s all just “thoughts,” and as such, just mental activity, brainwaves, inner theater.

It doesn’t become real until I begin acting “as if” it is real.

So I just have to stop acting in that drama, acting afraid.

That’s all.


Hatchet: Buried.

During April I had a “secret Metta friend.” I picked one of my yoga challengers and every time I saw her (which was every day) I said to her in my mind: “May you be happy, May you be peaceful, May you be free.”

Free from what?  Free from anxiety and worry, free from  everything that causes pain and suffering. Free from all psychological shackles.

I wanted that for myself, too. I wanted to be free from fear and timidity. Free from resentment and bitterness. Free from everything that keeps me small, restricted, boxed in.

Did my secret Metta friend receive my good vibes? Maybe.

Did my Metta boomerang back to me?

Yes it did.

Today I forgave. Today I buried a hatchet. Today I freed myself from years of resentment, hurt, and pain.

It took 10 years for it to happen, but it happened. I was weirdly afraid to let go of it. (I needed G to be with me.)

But tonight? Tonight I am happy. I am peaceful. I am free.

Sending Metta (lovingkindness) is powerful mojo. Try it. I promise: You will be astonished.


The Zap

I just got finished reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.  Nothing new in this book in terms of content, but what clarity!

Now, I am an avid reader of spirituality books. I’m a  big fan of Krishnamurti and Eckhart Tolle, for instance, but there is always something opaque in these books for me; something key that I seem to get while I’m reading, but if you asked me to explain it to you five minutes after I put the book down, I really couldn’t.  I’d be blithering some confused nonsense and just wind up handing you the book with a, “Here, read it for yourself.”

That’s why this Mickey Singer book was such a rare and yummy find for me because he tells stories and uses metaphors to explain complicated concepts like fear, but in a fresh, alive way that allowed me to get it, and then be able to share it with others.

(I love that.)

For example, he tells this story about a dog. A dog who lives in a fenced-in yard.  The dog knows the limits of his freedom.  The limit is the fence.

Then one day the dog’s owner puts in an electric fence.  The dog is outfitted with a special collar and the old fence is taken down.  The dog goes out into the fence-less yard and takes off, but is immediately zapped by the collar.  Whoah.

But each day this brave dog inches closer to the zap point and begins to realize that even though he’s getting a little bit zapped, he’s still alive.  Then one day he just braves the full frontal ZAP! charges through, and is free forever!

Mickey Singer says this is what fear is.  It’s fear of getting zapped.  We all live inside the electric fence, afraid of the zap. The zap can be fear of anything: failure, ridicule, you name it, whatever  keeps us safe (and boring and trapped) in the yard.

But if we want to be free, we have to be willing to take the ZAP.  It won’t kill us to fail or be laughed at.

And the payoff?

Our complete and utter freedom.

I think this is very cool.