Recently I have been challenged again with a health crisis. Given my previous episodes of dealing with pain and fear of pain, I have noticed that my recent first reaction to it was very similar to the first reaction several years ago. Fear, negative thoughts, victim mentality, and most importantly, an idea that those negative thoughts can be fight back. The mind over matter abused at its best. Although I truly believe that one can use the power of the mind to relieve and build its own placebo, the own placebo healing prescription might simply be misleading. Since most of us witnessed fear with a certain degree of magnitude, we can all relate to the fact that when fear starts to creep in, it is easy to get lost in the spiral of horror movies. But no, no, no … I can control my mind. I can use my mind to turn this spiral around. Only to find out that I am making it actually worse. Why? Because if you are a mind practitioner, meditating and feeling you have a deeper understanding of yourself, you might get into a trap that you will simply use your mind to heal yourself. And here lies the rub, the 50 shades of mind over matter, the esoteric trap. I have observed that simply I started to introduce more and more mind practices to immediately heal myself. That obviously fuels the ego, since deep down it sets the expectation that these practices must start working sooner or later. The problem is in the active trying, pushing to get better. If you start actively “fight back” with all the positivity, optimistic visualizations, self-aware breathing, you realize that you are creating automatic expectations from your future self. That’s why I think the mind over matter meditation placebo mantra has not been adopted as an easy-to-use ultimate healing medicine across the globe. Apart from the “non-scientific” hurdle, it is the ego and false beliefs that are actually stopping the healing process. The expectation of the investment that one does, can actually lead to more anxiety, more fear and actually worsen the healing itself. What is helping me on this journey of healing is trying to understand the truth about the mind. And here is where the title of this article will start to make sense.
What is the truth about the nature of our thoughts, especially negative ones? The truth is that we cannot stop the flow. The truth is that the more we will fight back the negative thoughts (by being positive), the more resistance we might create. The resistance of fear charges the fear. The resistance of thoughts feeds the thoughts. The more you try to fight it, work at it, the more disappointed you are that negative thoughts will come again, the more you fear the future fear. With the rising of your unintentional fear the sensitivity towards the physical pain might actually grow as well and so does your anxiety. In that state you are not creating healing, you are doing the opposite, you are preventing the healing. Does that mean that one should get lost in the horror movies of his mind? Absolutely not. It simply means that one must accept and with compassion forgive the mind for bringing these thoughts. One cannot resist, one cannot fight back. One can only observe. One can wish, but should not expect anything in return because that only feeds the ego more. That’s why it is so hard and drives many people in pain crazy when somebody tells them “try to think positively” or “I am sure it will be good”. Understanding the nuances when ego interferes and actually makes it worse when we try so hard to be positive, optimistic, and “doing the work of healing” is an important aspect of awareness on this journey.
So what can one do to deal with physical pain and mental suffering? I believe one should not try to fight it back (easier said than done) living in false denial nor use forces of “positive thoughts” to override the “negative thoughts”. One can only accept the natural flow of mind and should rather become just an observer of the mind, observer of negative emotions. What one can do is to find activities that remind him/her of the wonderful miracle of life one is. One should find moments when the joy of life is felt in every fiber of the body. For some, it can be meditation with nice positive visualizations, for others, it can be a walk in the forest smiling, a sport where one is in the zone, art or any other activities one can get immersed into. If you think the healing meditation visualizing your future healthy self brings you a sense of relief in that very moment without any payback in the future, go for it but remember: it is many times hard to trick the ego. This is the crossroads of ego and real honest joy interference. The doing for the sake of prescribed promised healing benefits actually can fuel ego even more (because we are trying so hard) rather than start the healing process. One should rather choose an activity, where he/she is felt alive, living, signaling to every cell in your body a reason to live with joy. I also believe that meditation can universally help to build our awareness. Nothing more, nothing less. It can become a tool for noticing the fearful thoughts soon after their inception and enabling you to switch into an observer mode. Again, nothing more, nothing less. Without right or wrong, one must understand the truth behind the doing, resisting and natural flow of mind. Thoughts cannot be stopped and the more “positive” resistance we create, the more we feed the drama of our ego.
Thanks for reading.
Martin PavelkaJune 16, 2021 at 3:47 pm
Thanks for sharing… my teacher taught me something he called “ultimate acceptance” as a first step.
It took me a years to start slightly understand what he means.