Mind Control

So, I’ve been reading Eat Pray Love…  That’s right, I said reading it.  The movie was a good adaptation of the book but I wanted to know more about this journey to enlightenment taken by a 30 something woman after a divorce.  I find it intriguing that I am chasing down the same inner peace at about the same age Elizabeth Gilbert was when she took the trip and wrote the book.  In fact, I asked my counselor if there was some developmental thing that happens to us as we sail out of our twenties and in to our thirties.

“Why yes” he said, and recommended a book, which, of course I promptly bought on amazon.  More to come on that.

Eat Pray Love is a fantastic book.  Emotional, passionate and quirky funny as well.  I highly recommend it!

One of the most fascinating things I found when reading and looking at the author’s journey, then looking at mine…  It’s mind control.  Not some creepy, stranger trying to make you crazy kind of mind control… but controlling our own thoughts.  It seems to be the key to the entire process.

“You are, after all, what you think.  Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”  –Elizabeth Gilbert

For a neurotic writer or artist like so many of us (Elizabeth Gilbert included) the first step, I think, is to quiet the mind.  You can’t control your thoughts if they are whipping through your head so fast you don’t know what they are.  Plus, I had become an expert at staying so dang busy I had a thousand other things to think about and distract me… keep my mind crazy busy.

The task of quieting the mind is much more difficult than it sounds.  I mean, how many people do you know who have trouble sleeping, sometimes all their lives, because they can’t shut their brain off?   The author does talk about how some people are naturally blessed with a quiet mind though…  Ha!  That has never been me.

Meditation seemed to be the key for Liz Gilbert.  She ran off to an Ashram in India and wrestled with it and struggled.  For me, I guess what has slowed my mind was my own personal exile to the graveyard shift and then the systematic removal of my closest friends one by one.  It’s left me alone with nothing but my thoughts for long periods of time, bitching and grumbling about it the whole time.

Once I give myself some time to work on grappling with and finally subduing my mind, then I can look at the thoughts that are flowing in and out of there and choose what to keep and what to get rid of.

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day.  This is a power you can cultivate.” –from Eat Pray Love

Once again, not such an easy task because my mind works incredibly fast, and it turns out is filled with all kinds of poisonous stuff.  It’s jammed with memories of childhood abuse, memories of my own actions in relationships that hurt the people I loved, shame, guilt, TONS of fear… and some really nasty things I’ve been saying to myself over the years.  I did NOT want to look at those.  I didn’t want to be alone with those thoughts, but then again, how can you fix it if you don’t look at it?

So, finally, I look at them, feel them but then what?  HOW the hell do you change them?  For Elizabeth Gilbert, she seemed to do this in meditation.  By having a conversation with herself, looking at the thoughts, feeling them, accepting them and comforting herself with loving affirmations.

For me, I need something more concrete and less mystical.  That’s where Dr. Phil’s Self Matters book comes in to play.  He’s got it all organized out and lined up.  Among other things, he recommends journaling all those thoughts and experiences, and then challenging them with 4 questions.

1.  Is it true?

2.  Does it serve your best interests to hold on to this belief?

3.  Are your thoughts and attitudes advancing and protecting your health?

4.  Does this belief get me what I want in life?

And then writing some positive, accurate and authentic thoughts to replace the bad ones.  It might sound silly but I’ve tried it and it works!

Amazing how much of our own personal inner peace is derived from the thoughts we think.   I would say most people go through their entire lives without ever doing this soul work, because it’s hard and it’s scary and unpleasant.  Most people prefer to remain unconscious, distracted, and treating only the symptoms, not the root causes… but I have never been “most people.”

The slowing down of the thoughts, looking at them and digging through that is really tough…  and then replacing them with positive.  That’s brutal too.. but I find much positive and reassurance and unconditional love in getting to know God.  For me, I’m sure there is no way I could have accomplished even what I have done so far were it not for knowing God…  so one last quirky quote from Eat Pray Love..

“Look for God.  Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”  –Elizabeth Gilbert

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I can never turn my brain off to go to sleep. My husband totally doesn’t get that. He can close his eyes and he’s out like a light switch. I have to watch tv or something that distracts me from my thoughts… That book has been on my must read for so long! Glad to hear it may just be worth the wait.

    • Ha.. I know people like that & I often wonder if our brains are more active than theirs (are theirs constantly processing at light speed too?) or if they just have better control of their thoughts.

  2. I’m with you – I can’t turn off my thoughts ever. Feels like my mind is racing 24/7. I think the biggest problem for writers is that our minds don’t exactly turn off…. I guess that’s why the best musicians, writers, artists, etc. are bit on the crazy side?

    • I think there are plenty of neurotics (myself included) who struggle to shut off their brains but what sets us creative types apart is that we can manage to communicate those thoughts and feelings through artistic mediums. Maybe that’s why the world seems to be so fascinated with creative types. They can identify with the feelings and see that it adds beauty to the world.

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