Have you ever been so confused by your own mind that you didn't know which is up and which is down? Reflecting on this past summer, my existence has literally been blown out of the water. Every single external stipulation I had set up for myself as a kid to find happiness has now been met. It is utterly freaking me out haha. One would think that if you finally got everything you have ever been asking for that you would jump for joy and settle into bliss and that whole movie style happily ever after stuff. But o wait....I don't live in a movie....and there is no such thing as happily ever after. Life keeps going (the parts we never see in a movie).
My mind gets in the way of experiencing this happiness. I upper limit myself to my own experience of joy in my life. It has been fascinating watching my mind reach as far out as it possibly can to create some drama or story to find something "wrong." We as human beings can completely classically condition ourselves just like a dog and I have conditioned myself to continuously be searching for more. While this has been beneficial, constantly pushing me to move forward and pursue more than I can sometimes physically and mentally handle, this tendency has now become somewhat of a detriment. Now when I have the opportunity to accept myself and my body just the way it is, I find myself still searching.
My mind is running frantic, not understanding the shift that is happening. It is holding on to its conditioned neural pathways as hard as it possibly can; just like an addiction. We think of drugs, alcohol, food as addictions, yet we rarely talk about how our own patterns, routines, habits, and as I have coined, mental masturbations as addictions as well. And the interesting thing is, we find support and guidance to change our external addictions to drugs, alcohol, and food, yet I see so many settle on, "this is just the way I am and the way I have always done things and that will never change" when it comes to our own mental blocks.
As yoga and meditation have taught me, thoughts are just thoughts, they are not facts. While my thoughts can cause an emotional reaction, as they sometimes disturb me, again they are not reality. Reality truly is within our own perception, but the one thing we can always come back to when our mind is running is what is fact. For example right now, at 2:34 in the morning with a running mind like a hamster on a wheel that hasn't quite figured out how to get off yet, the facts are I am sitting on a medicine ball, my feet aren't totally touching the carpet entirely as I am up on my toes, my throat is really dry, and my jaw is tight. That is truth, fact, what is happening in the present moment. There is no interpretation, no reading into, or analysis of why. It isn't necessary. This is just what is happening right here and right now. And even verbalizing the facts, coming back to my body toward what is real, brings me out of my head and back into my body.
I invite you to try this little exercise the next time you find yourself going through your own mental masturbation. Lie on your floor, sit on your couch, and just begin to breath and notice. Describe what is currently happening in your body and what you feel and every time your mind tries to speak up you gently soothe your monkey mind and then begin again to notice what is real. There can be a powerful transformation and change that occurs when we begin to allow ourselves to slow down and just for a moment experience our life exactly the way it is. Life can be rather simple after all.