If you want to get to know someone you have to spend time with that person. You have spent all your life with yourself, so you know everything there is to know about You, right or wrong?
I hope you said, “wrong”.
We humans are very complicated beings.
I am going to do an experiment. You can follow along with me, or just sit back and observe if you wish.
First, I find a place where I can be alone with myself and then concentrate on sensations, feelings, and thoughts in the present moment.
I concentrate on all the information that I am receiving from my senses. Shadow lines where drawers meet cabinet and door meets frame. Fan humming. Children playing outside. Keyboard on finger pads. Dots on F and J Keys. Back against chair. Colors on quilt….after a while, I realize that my mind has started to wander. It starts jumping here and there…memories, plans…I bring myself back to the experiment, try to concentrate on the here and now, but then my nose starts to itch. I concentrate on my body. Are there other annoying or unpleasant sensations? Yes. My left eyebrow starts to itch. There is a taste of coffee in my mouth. I should brush my teeth. Other “shoulds” begin to flood my brain…
The experiment is over in less than five minutes. It hasn’t lasted very long, because it is like holding my breath. I can take control for a little while, but, eventually my brain will take over and resume normal operation. When I hold my breath, it is obvious that I am denying the urge to take in more oxygen. When I focus my attention on the present moment, I am denying my brain the urge to entertain thoughts about the past or the future. What kind of control do I achieve, and why can’t I maintain that control for longer than five minutes? After all, brain cells begin to die after five minutes without oxygen, but nobody is dying if I control my thoughts. Why is it so hard?
Who or what controls my mind?
The fact is that there are many people out there who would like to control our minds with the purpose of controlling our behavior in some way. Whether it is to pick up milk on the way home, learn to drive, buy a car, vote yes or no, allow neighbors to be imprisoned without charges or trial…all of these behaviors begin with some form of mind control which starts with focusing attention on specific thoughts, feelings, or sensations.
Your mind is your dominion. Nowhere can you achieve more control. You alone know what you are sensing, thinking, feeling at this very moment. For all others your mind is a black box. They can only infer what is going on in there from your behavior.
Your consciousness, your mind, is your constant companion. It will never abandon you. I encourage you to treat it as your most treasured and beloved friend. You can do this by giving it your full and absolute attention for a little while each day. One way of doing this is to ask questions about your brain/mind/consciousness.
You might want to focus on one part of your private black box at a time: breathing, seeing, hearing, touching, talking, walking, eating, fearing, loving. Slow down for a while, concentrate, appreciate.
Above all, be aware when others would capture your attention and exert influence over you. Ask yourself all the questions one can ask about control, but especially:
Who or what is in control?
What behavior do they expect of me?
How will they benefit?
How will I benefit?
By writing these words I wish to capture your attention and exert influence over you.
Who or what is in control? You are.
What behavior do I expect of you? I hope that you will have more control over yourself than others have over you.
How will I benefit? I think that people who have more control over their own thoughts and behavior than they do over other peoples’ thoughts and behavior, will cause less harm to themselves and others. Therefore, less harm will be done to me and to my loved ones.
How will you benefit? In the same way I do. No one will exert harmful influence over you or your loved ones.
I have just described my own Control Savvy Utopia. It does not exist. It never has. Perhaps it never will. We are all controlled by others right now without realizing it. Very often this control does not benefit us. On the contrary, it is often very harmful, if not lethal to us.
If we pay attention and learn about our own constant companion, the mind, perhaps we can move a little closer to that ideal world, or at least defend ourselves and our loved ones from enemies masquerading as friends.
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