The Spirit Of Therapy Blog
This week on our journey to a rejuvenated spirit, we will take a good hard look at our mind. Actually, we won’t “look” at all, because the mind can’t be seen. It also can’t be touched, tasted, smelled or heard. We experience our mind in a way that can only be grasped by ourselves. It is our personal sanctuary, or our personal torment.
Buddhism refers to the untrained mind as a chattering monkey that jumps from branch to branch, ceaselessly moving and making noise. Distracted by endless thoughts, assumptions and perceptions, we go through life as slaves to our mental musings. The mind is selfish. It will never stop trying to get our attention. And we often give in without even realizing it, slipping comfortably into the mind’s control as if it were a pair of slippers. Our bodies, our emotions, our spirits and even hidden thoughts fade into the shadows.
Author and teacher Pema Chödrön said, “Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.” And what exactly is “out there”? Simply put, what is “out there” is really “in here.” Our perceptions of the world, ourselves and one another create the reality that we live in. Yet, how many of us take a good look at what perceptions are creating our reality?
The mind may be like a monkey, but it can also feel like a monster. Our thoughts are often painful, confusing or troubling; and these are just the thoughts on the surface. Those that lurk below our consciousness can be even more frightening. Remember those childhood fears of monsters under the bed and ghosts in the closet? All one needed to do was look under the bed skirt to confront the fear. Monsters demand confrontation. There is nothing else to do about them. Likewise, our beliefs can grow more daunting the longer we dodge them. “We can spend our whole lives escaping from the monsters of our minds,” says Chödrön.
If the spirit is to be rejuvenated, the mind can no longer be the “alpha.” This week, we will watch our own minds. As Jane Goodall studied her chimps, we will study the swinging monkeys that are our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and perceptions. We will step back from them and observe without judgment. We will watch how they affect our emotions, our urges and our actions. We will be curious. We will begin to explore the terrain that is us.
The Spirit of Therapy
Where psychotherapy interacts with our mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and relational wellbeing.