Does it seem unfair to suggest your mind could be a bit of a clown? Well, it’s unfair to actual clowns who make us laugh – much needed in an often grim world.
On the other hand your mind behaves in all sorts of less funny clownish ways. For instance:
– It’s always blowing its bugle to warn us about things that it says are going to happen but that never happen.
– It fails to warn us about lots of important events that it would have been quite helpful to know about in advance.
– When we’d like to enjoy the present moment, it distracts us with scare stories about the future, or with stories about the past that make us sad or angry.
– It starts its carry-on first thing in the morning and sometimes it wakes us up at night. “Have you heard this one? Oh, you’ll hate this,” it cackles.
Of course the mind sometimes thinks great thoughts, though I don’t seem to have had one for a while. It can also think tender thoughts and come up with good solutions to problems.
The thing is, it insists that it’s always great and wise and wonderful and that all its predictions and judgements much be taken very, very seriously. And no matter how often it gets it wrong, it goes on insisting.
That’s a large part of why people who practise mindful awareness pay at least as much attention to what’s going on in the real world outside their head as they do to the circus inside their head. Naturally they listen to their mind but they do it with a grain of salt so to speak.
Taking your mind too seriously is a burden. You don’t need to go over and over the same oppressive thoughts, for instance, making yourself miserable for life. Once you learn that your thoughts are not all accurate or important, it’s much easier to let them chatter on in the background while you pay attention to the present moment.
It’s all part of the mindfulness attitude of taking our thoughts less seriously. The scary clown mightn’t like it but you’ll be happier and that’s what matters.
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