Inside the Thought Machine

I find myself back at another starting point. Today is the second day of the new year, which means we are back around the sun again and the world itself is physically back where it was at this time last year. Once more, we have accomplished another full revolution around the sun and what have we learned? Who have we become and what have we accomplished?

 I, alone and afraid . . . 
. . .  in a world, I never made
(A.E. Housman, Last Poems)

I have been so many people throughout my life and at the same time, I have only been me. I went through different phases and played different roles. I am a seeker. I am a journeyman, experienced and yet routine.
I am the sum of my predictions or, more aptly, I am the amount of my beliefs. In which case, I, alone and afraid, live in a world that I never made. Or, is the world I see only a reflection of what I believe. In which case, I, alone and afraid, live in a world that I personally made.
Whether I am truly alone or only afraid, I am a part of this machine. I am another person in the universe. I am in search of meaning, purpose, answers and accomplishment. I want to feel the fresh breath of cool air in the mountains. I want to experience the smell of the surf at a beach that only exists in my dreams. I want to be, think, feel, experience and touch. I want to be valid. Real. Worthy.
And of course, I want to be wanted and desirable.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world around me is only a relation to me. My views and my perspectives can be altered and changed. My sight can be manipulated and tricked. My attention can be snagged in cognitive traps and I can be locked in a sensory dilemma of tunnel vision, which means I will only see things one way.
I am simple though. I am not so deep. More than anything, I am weary at times and boyish too. I still have the need to explore, to travel, to see new things and unwrap new toys.
I want to play. I want to laugh and enjoy myself. I want to find myself in places that empower me and have conversations that encourage me.
I am not the same as anyone else; yet, I am no different from anybody else.
I’m just me.

I have ideas and hopes and dreams. However, along the way, my ideas, hopes and dreams have changed and evolved. In some cases, my dreams and thoughts have returned to their original plans.
I have tried to acclimate to atmospheres and climates that did not suit me. I tried to be different people. I tried to be more than the labels that defined me. I tried to be tough. I tried to be smart. I tried to be witty and I tried to be cool. I tried to fit the molds of other people and throughout most of my life, I never dared to just be me.

I offer this to discuss the way we define ourselves. Therefore, I offer myself as a demonstration to show how the ideas of identity and reputation are only distractions from our truest self.
Who is the “I” in my standards? Who are we really?
Are we more than a position in life?

Whether the position is a parent or spouse or sibling or otherwise, are we more than this?
Are we more than a job title or the stations we choose? Are we the size of our bank accounts? If so, can we rise and fall the same way? One day we’re up and the next day, we’re in the red.
Is that us?
Are we the person we dressed to be?
Or is there more?

Am I a suit and tie?
Are you a dress (with or without high heels)?
Are we genders or fluid or more simply, are we people who are looking to be happy?
And sometimes . . .
It seems that happiness is an evading idea. Sometimes it appears that we come close. We take one step forward and two steps back.
Sometimes we attach ourselves to the emotions of our thoughts; therefore, we become our thoughts. Then we become our predictions and next, we achieve our self-fulfilled prophecies. 

Imagine though, if you can.
Imagine the freedom we’d have if we were to let go of all the descriptions and definitions. Imagine if we rested our opinions that separate us by the importance of our careers and the size of our portfolio and financial positions.
Imagine that rather than worry about the way we acclimate or the way we are received, imagine if we fit comfortably regardless of the opinions or the landscapes around us.
Imagine a thought process so easy, so gentle, so fluid-like that no matter where we are or the impulse of the energy around us, no matter what, we find ourselves comfortable in the state of inner peace.

This does not mean things cannot or will not go wrong. This does not mean life will become pain-free. However, our attachments to outcomes and the uncontrollable situations will be nothing more than unobjectionable.
This does not take away the thrill. Instead, this understands that each feeling and each idea will experience all things. There will be good days that are less-successful. There are going to be moments that are beyond belief. The sky will be clear. The lights will be bright. There will be times when it rains, the sky is impending with a storm and the lights have all gone out. It is our attachment to this however, and our assessments of fear that stir the anxieties and depressiveness.

Imagine if we removed judgment from our thinking. We stop attaching emotion to thoughts, which then become beliefs, which in return – this impacts our behavior. And what does this do?
This distracts our focus with insecurities and fear.
What if we allowed ourselves to think without overthinking? Rather than believing that all thoughts are real or true, what if we allowed our thoughts to pass without attaching an identity to them?

Imagine a tunnel. Imagine driving through this tunnel. Picture this in any way you choose. Are there other cars on the road? Are you paying attention to them? Are you watching the other cars or are your eyes on the road in front of you?
Can you see the end of the tunnel and the light on the other side?

I have this picture in my mind. This is taken from a memory; however, this is slightly changed for a specific reason. I have closed my eyes to see this. I am in a car. The road is empty. I am driving and moving through a long tunnel that hugs the side of a mountain.

Meanwhile, to the right of me is the inland and to the left is the ocean, blue as ever. There are cars that drive through the tunnel on the other side of the road. However, I do not attach myself to them. I see them as passing fixtures and rather than allow them to become distractions, I let them pass. I am breathing when I picture this. My eyes are closed. I am breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth.
I go to this vision, which is partly a memory from a trip to Hawaii and partly imagination. I go here to soothe the receptors in my mind.

I imagine this and let myself slip away on this trip. There is nothing pressing. I can see the tunnel and the end and the light on the other side. There are no emotions or attachments to my personality. I do not have to perform or be “Right.” I do not have to defend my position or worry if I am acceptable. I am not considering if I am good-looking, wanted, desired or fitting of my environment. I am only a moving fixture in this mindset. I am not good or bad, right or wrong, helpful or unhelpful. I am only me, a driver, with no objections and nothing is personal.

The world moves fast at times. And other times, especially in stressful or painful ones, the world can move slow enough that a person can literally feel the tick of the seconds on the clock. Isn’t this why they say good times travel fast?
The difference here is our attachment and our focus. Pain is inevitable. Life is filled with disappointments. Good news can be fleeting but what if there was no attachment to the news itself? What if we refused to be attached to the outcomes but instead, we lived in the moment. A second would still be a second. A minute would still be a minute and an hour would still be an hour. In the end, we would still be us, regardless of the pass or fail versions we choose to see.

I am going to discuss the different phases we go through. In the pages to come, I will talk about the struggles, the inner-turmoil, moments of bliss as opposed to moments of stress; but more, I am going to talk about the thought machine, also known as “The Mind.”

The mind.
This is what dictates and determines whether we are happy or if we are resentful or afraid. Wherever we go, whether alone or afraid, the mind is what advises us how to live in a world we never made.
(Or did we?)

This is where we are going to discuss our assumptions and our perception and the deceptions of both. To each their own, of course. But the mind is something that relates to us all. The idea here is to be free and to allow our thoughts to pass. Otherwise, we judge too harshly. We jump to conclusions. We come up with assumptions. Moreover, our thoughts are congested, which to me is like sitting in traffic. And traffic sucks.

The rest is only about mindfulness:
To surrender and accept
To live in the moment
To change our thinking
To change our scene
To be at peace
And . . .
To give up our attachments that hold us back.

That’s what this journal is all about.

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