Can I watch my “home movie”? That is, without acting in it?
I got inspiration and the idea to write about it from a Daily Mindfulness Audio Program. The movie is about repetitive thoughts and their impact on me.
We humans have a constant stream of thoughts emerging and flowing like a waterfall. There are 60,000 thoughts per day on average, and 95% of them are the same as yesterday. So, the “Home Movie” is playing, continuing, and growing the plot. The protagonist in the movie is yours truly. If I am not aware and “awake,” the film can make me always worry about something real or imagined in my mind, or obsess over a hurt feeling, or relive and replay a bad experience over and over, or strategize about navigating a specific situation or people.
My thoughts can create a cocoon and trap me inside it.
Awareness of My Thoughts
Evolution over millions of years has made us – humans, the homo sapiens – vigilant about looking out for danger. It is hardwired in our circuits to look out for things or situations that can potentially hurt us. It naturally can create negativity bias.
The good news is that emotions can pass through in 1.5 minutes without leaving any trace or impact. However, the repeated thoughts and the “Home Movie” stories can make the feelings linger for days and even decades.
Emotions and thinking are like powerful winds blowing with a tremendous force. The inner weather can be challenging to overcome.
Self-awareness is the start to break out of the cocoon. Can I develop awareness to monitor my thoughts? That can give me a perspective, helping me discern whether a thought is helping or hurting, is positive or negative, is nurturing or weakening?
Cultivating awareness about a stuck thought, feeling, or emotion and identifying it can help soften and exhume it over time. It can help me focus on positive synergies, let go of old grudges, be free from mental blocks, take on initiatives outside my comfort zone, face my fears, mend relationships, and hopefully cultivate compassion and forgiveness over time.
Be a Witness
Self-awareness can be such an empowering tool; meditation and mindfulness can help me cultivate it over time. It can help me create spacious awareness like a blue, open sky where the clouds and bubbles of emotions, feelings can pass through without leaving any trace. It can also help me harness my ability to think to create, solve problems, and grow and develop myself.
Can I be a witness to my “Home Movie” without identifying with the characters in it?
Can I be a beginner at this moment observing my inner weather pass through with a childlike curiosity and freshness? My stream of thoughts, feelings, and emotions can emerge and disappear without any trace on me similar to how clouds pass through an open sky.
Poem from Wu Men Hui-k’ai:
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.