The mind is a crazy thing. I used to think I was totally in control of my thoughts until one day I was challenged to stop them. You can try it too. Stop your thoughts. Right now.
From where I am now, that is just a laughable idea. Meditation, life coaching, even praying has made it so clear that thoughts cascade without warning, without logic, without reason, without…thought, really. I have very little control over what thoughts enter my head, when they enter, how they enter, or why they enter. What I’m starting to learn is how to let them leave with just as little warning, reason, or meaning. How to see them for what they are, which is little starter seeds that I can choose to plant or not. Most of them are not worth tending to.
One way I can tell I’m on my way to mastery of letting shit go is how many times I find myself thinking, “Wait, what was I supposed to be anxious about again?” while fishing for the anxiety-inducing thought that was just there. I catch myself at this point and don’t even try to find that thought again, much less succeed in pulling it up. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but if you could have peeked inside my head before, all you would have seen were those anxious, sad, fearful, unhappy, self-destructive thoughts and no desire for them to be anywhere but nestled comfortably in the Shire.
I’ve lost the ability to dwell a little bit, basically. Someday I predict I won’t even have little tricksy hobbitses trying to fish for that anxiety. The original thoughts will still come up, no doubt, but they’ll leave quick.
You know, this analogy works better with me as Smeagol. Rather, he’s that little voice in my head that tries to call up the anxiety. The anxiety, the sadness, the desperation, that’s its Precious. The Precious is so toxic, so powerful, so self-destructive that it has the power to take out entire worlds. (And by entire worlds I mean just me. I’m not the Iranian WMD stockpile or anything. Back to the nerd analogy.) Yet Smeagol guards the Precious with everything he has, even though it’s killing him from the inside. The ring can only be destroyed by throwing it back into the flames of Mordor (Man this is a rad analogy and it keeps going. Hang on.), which only the most pure and simple Hobbit souls can get to, by traveling an epic, treacherous, life-threatening route. Every force in Middle Earth tries to stop them and save the ring for themselves. But for Smeagol, it’s personal. It’s his Precious, it’s what he loves and lives for.
Non-Lord of the Rings fans can come back now. Here’s my point – there’s a powerful destructive force in me (and I would suspect that I’m not the only one with this) that can only be destroyed by my death. It’s always going to be there, and there’s a part of me that wants it to take control and eat me alive. I have to count on the highest part of my being to deal with that force for the rest of my life. To be kind and gentle with myself on the really difficult journey of life. To see that Precious as just a ring. So I’m building up that higher part of me. It’s a mini Hobbit boot camp up in here.