Curb Your Mind’s Move to Monitor Every Situation.
It’s not just CCTV and the internet watching your every move and collecting your data, it’s your own mind.
Self-awareness, or just awareness in general — of thoughts, feelings, processes within or of what is going on in the world — might seem like an obviously good thing: the more, the better.
It matters, though, what kind of move your mind is making.
It seems to me, both within and externally, that there’s often a habitual, compulsive move to monitor the situation, more subtle maybe than the judging move, although judgment runs right through it. The point of it is always first to work out what is really going on, and then to ascertain if things are good or bad, if they are how they’re supposed to be.
Of course this is a survival mechanism, it’s pretty important to know how well things are going. But it’s the compulsion in the move that is the clue to its unhealthiness. By unhealthy, I mean just not good for you, not enhancing wholeness, but introducing the separation of different bits of you, hence stress.
Unhealthy also because of the compulsive, addictive nature of the move, distracting energy and attention from what you actually want, and from whatever needs directly addressing in your life.
This compulsive monitoring can happen with collecting data on your health, say using an app to measure how many steps you take a day, or to monitor the quality of your sleep.
These activities are meant to be helpful, giving you information on which to act, but you can end up leaning your mental energy more strongly into measuring than into what’s being measured, and ending up with none left to actually perform the necessary actions.
You just go back to measuring some more, comparing result with result, performance with performance, today with yesterday, pretty much entirely ignoring the reality of the present moment.
Even more worryingly, this can encroach on the kind of meditation where you observe your thoughts, feelings, sensations. The experience of standing back, gaining awareness, not identifying with what’s going on inside is great. But once you give a little too much energy to the observer, and that monitoring process kicks in, and you sink just a tad too much energy into it, you’ve lost the point.
That’s when I need to lean right back into the breath, the thoughts, the feelings, the steps, the sleep, the being, again, and feel the wholeness.
Feeling the wholeness isn’t the same as identifying with.
There’s no need to worry. It’s just being — the measuring and what is measured being together. They move together — sometimes one separates out a little for a while, and the attention naturally moves there. Then it moves back again. What’s dangerous for your energy is when it gets stuck on one side or the other, when there’s no movement. And gravity seems to be on the side of monitoring.
Being caught in monitoring could be the very definition of anxiety. The mind clenches on to that process and the process clenches back on to the mind.
All the energy gets stuck.
So, never mind collecting data, you have all the information you need, and it can actually flow to you in a form you can make good use of, when you stay with it, lean back into the breath, the thoughts and the feelings, and keep them so close that they aren’t made up of separate things at all.
Sarah Luczaj (PhD) is a counselor/therapist, Reiki master, writer, poet, originator of the Creative Regeneration process (which brings together meditation, focusing, free-writing and intuitive painting) and co-founder of the terrealuma healing refuge, on a wild and secluded permaculture farm. She facilitates Creative Regeneration in various ways, from live group sessions, through month-long online courses, to 6-month intensive one-to-one activations, to get people plugged back into their natural state of bliss and power. Sarah is mainly based in Glasgow, and has two daughters.