Mind Games & How To Free Yourself From Them

A Day In The Life Of Me

Don't give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within.


Mind Games & How To Free Yourself From Them. Don't give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within. Graphic of a a man with a divided face.


Today has been a day of mind games.

I've been doing quite well recently and feeling good about myself and the quality of my writing and the number of articles I have been able to write over the past week. Various other business and personal projects have been progressing nicely.

This morning was the beginning of a not-so-good day.

I sat down first thing with my early morning cup of Vietnamese coffee before heading off to the gym and I opened my email and got off to a bad start.

There was an irritating message telling me that a cost saving exercise I was trying to initiate on one of my businesses was actually going to cost more money and regardless of which of the available options I took it was still going to cost me more money.

A friend and colleague who is running my social media campaign messaged to say she was sick [again] and unable to work today.

So to cheer myself up I checked the stats on my website and OMG the daily visitor count was down yesterday!

I then checked the stats on my social media campaign and the stats were neither up nor down but static overnight and that irritated me.

I decided to have another look at cash-flow forecasts for this month... this was interrupted by a business call from Singapore during which I re-explained the finer points of a current deal to a colleague...

I looked at the time and I was by now an hour late leaving to go to the gym. But following my own advice in an article I wrote yesterday I  just did it and went to the gym.

Then as I drove the short distance to the gym my mind was flooded with negative thoughts about the various frustrations and irritations in my life.

By the time I got to the gym I was feeling thoroughly hacked-off with life.

Fortunately I have been doing mindfulness practice for a long time now so from the other side of my head I could hear a little voice whispering:

"Don't you think you are over-reacting to all this... be mindful..."

As the day progressed I became very observant of the currents of my emotional reactions to the earlier events and I watched their ebb and flow rather like the currents in the tidal estuary that my apartment overlooks.

By late afternoon I had taken a serious step back and was in a mindful state of observation and reflection and it occurred to me how ironic it was that despite 20 + years of mindfulness practice, and many years of writing articles on how to think effectively and how to stop thinking, I still fall into the old grooves and bad mental habits.


The Realisation

Then it hit me:

  • Today was not in anyway substantially different from yesterday, aside from some minor irritations - but what was different was my response to these things.
  • The irritations were irritations only because I chose to be irritated.
  • These situation and events had no intrinsic meaning or value other than that which I chose to give them - and in today's case I chose a negative view.
  • My over-reaction to changes in data metrics over a short time-frame were completely out of context of the overall long term trends - put simply I was over-reacting to very short-term variations.
  • But regardless of the metrics and the long term trend, my reaction was a choice.
  • My first poor choice of response contaminated my response to the next situation and each successive small event cascaded into a larger negative over-reaction.
  • This emotional and mental swirl of negativity "earthed out" on some of my more deep seated fears and insecurities and I could feel this all getting ridiculously out of hand.
  • I could also feel the physical urge to eat and drink for comfort with a sweet hot drink and a large greasy bacon sandwich and the urge to indulge in compensatory behaviour  - various forms of time-wasting procrastination and distraction  - anything to make me feel better.




    The truth is that today was no different to yesterday or any other day. It was what it was, and it is what it is.

    Stuff happened and I made poor choices in my responses.

    It was all in me - so all on me - and  nothing to do with stuff  "out there".







How To Free Yourself From Your Mind Games


6 Key Practices From Eckhart Tolle

Here are 6 useful take-ways courtesy of Eckhart Tolle:

[1] Watch the thinker - start listening to the voices in your head

As often as you can, pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those tracks that have been playing in your head for many years.

[2] Focus your attention into the now

Become intensely conscious of the present moment. You can measure your success in this practice by the amount of peace that you feel.

[3] Look at your emotions - your body's reaction to your mind

The more you are identified with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, judgments and interpretations - and the less present you are as the watching consciousness - the emotional energy charge will be stronger whether you are aware of it or not.

[4] Watch out for any kind of defensiveness within yourself

What are you defending? Is it an illusory identity, an image in your mind, a fictitious entity? By making this pattern conscious, by observing it, you stop identifying with it. In the light of your conscious-awareness, the unconscious pattern will then quickly dissolve.

[5] End the delusion of time by letting go of psychological time

Time and mind are inseparable. Remove time from the mind and it stops - unless you choose to use it. To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time. Step out of the time dimension as much as possible in everyday life.  If you find it hard to enter the Now directly, start by observing the habitual tendency of your mind to be in the past or future.

[6] Connect with your inner body

Direct your attention into the body. Feel it from within. Is it alive? Can you feel the subtle energy field that pervades the entire body and gives vibrant life to every organ and every cell? Keep focusing on the feeling of your inner body for a few moments. Do not start to think about it. Feel it.




    When your consciousness is directed outward, mind and world arise.

    When it is directed inward, it realizes its own source and returns home.

    As you go about your life, don't give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within.







Further reading and free download:

Freeing Yourself From Your Mind Games

The Best of Pema Chödrön: Life, Quotes, and Books








Next Article: Just Do It - A Call To Action And Getting Started

Return from "Mind Games" to: Walking The Talk

Contact me




English Chinese (Traditional) Russian French German Italian Spanish Vietnamese



LATEST ARTICLES

  1. Coram Deo - Living In Consciousness

    In you there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. Coram Deo is about living in consciousness. It is a Latin phrase which literally means “to…

    Read More

  2. The Power Of Patience - Why You Need The World's Toughest Quality

    Nothing in the world can take the place of patience. Patience and persistence are omnipotent. In everyday life, patience is often overshadowed by the desire for immediate results. We live in an era of…

    Read More

  3. Demonizing The Other and Personal Acts Of Compassion

    What Does Demonizing The Other Mean? Demonizing the other refers to the act of portraying a group of people or an individual as inherently evil, threatening, or inferior. It often serves to justify di…

    Read More

  4. Why You Should Embrace Anomalies - The Incredible Value Of Disconfirming Evidence

    Is Your Desire To Be Right Greater Than Your Desire To Have Been Right? An anomaly is a deviation from what is expected or commonly regarded as the norm. It often appears as an unexpected observation…

    Read More

  5. Amazing Grace - The Majesty And The Mercy of Freedom From Your Pain

    "I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see." The hymn and popular song "Amazing Grace" was written 250 years ago by John Newton, a former slave trader who in 1748 nearly died in a…

    Read More

  6. The Transformative Power Of Acceptance

    Experience The Power Of Acceptance. This website contains about 500,000 words. You could read every single word and it wouldn't make any real difference to you. You might become better informed, but t…

    Read More

  7. Inversion - The Power Of Opposite Thinking

    How To Avoid The Unwanted Outcome. The power of opposite thinking, also known as inversion, lies in its ability to stimulate creativity, enhance problem-solving, and provide a fresh perspective on cha…

    Read More

  8. Are You Aligned With Reality? Or Do You See What You Believe?

    We tend to see that which aligns with what we believe, and to act upon that rather than acting on reality. Being aligned with reality starts with a clear and accurate understanding of the world. It me…

    Read More

  9. The Law Of Response and Outcome

    A New Approach To A New Life At time of writing we are entering a new year which is traditionally a time of making resolutions to change our behaviour and improve the quality of our lives. And yet pow…

    Read More

  10. Clear Thinking - Turning Ordinary Moments Into Extraordinary Results

    There are two ways to handle the world - try to predict, or try to prepare. "Clear Thinking" by Shane Parrish, published in Oct 2023, is a laudable testament to the art of cogent thinking, and will be…

    Read More

  11. Self Dialogue - Working With Your Many Selves

    Self Dialogue Is About Working With ALL Levels Of Your Mind. The key to effective self dialogue is to have tools, techniques and resources that work with all levels of your mind. This simple self-faci…

    Read More

  12. The Balanced Brain - The Ultimate Route To Personal Transformation

    How To Experience The Benefits Of A Balanced Brain. Underpinning all of the belief systems and practices that offer routes to personal change, transformation and spiritual growth is the balanced brain…

    Read More

  13. How To Make Better Decisions - By Avoiding The Narrative Trap

    To Understand The Truth We Have To See The Whole Picture. One of the best ways to make better decisions is to have a deeper understanding of the many things that might stop that happening. To understa…

    Read More

  14. The Greatest Love - The Most Important Relationship You Will Ever Have

    Yet Most Will Never Know It Everyone of us has a place, in our hearts there's a space, that is home to the greatest love of all. This love transcends everything we think we know about the world of for…

    Read More

  15. Everything Is Connected And Why You Don't Feel It

    ...And Why It Matters As human beings we are skating on very thin ice with our sense of self and certainty about "how things are" and what we like to think of as reality:

    - What if everything we think…

    Read More

  16. Who Is In Charge Of Your Brain?

    How Not To Be Stupid. Who is in charge of your brain? This is not a silly questions. It matters because the outcomes that you experience in your life are determined by how you respond to the events th…

    Read More

  17. How To Be A Winner On A Very Large Scale

    The Incredible Benefits Of Selective Attention. This is not a typical article about how to be a winner. We are not going to talk about goal setting, the importance of habits, the power of focus and al…

    Read More

  18. The Metagame Approach To Life

    How To Achieve Your Biggest Objectives. The metagame approach to life is all about winning and achieving your biggest objectives by: - Understanding the bigger picture
    - Being better by doing things d…

    Read More

  19. Shantideva - The Way Of The Bodhisattva

    Walking The Path Of Compassion. Shantideva the 8th century Indian Buddhist sage is famous for his treatise "The Way of the Bodhisattva" delivered as an extended teaching to the monks of Nalanda monast…

    Read More

  20. Reframing History - Deconstruction And Discussion Not Destruction

    History is always about context, not imposing our own moral values on the past. For those of us fortunate enough to live within western democracies, we are living in an age where a vociferous and into…

    Read More

  21. Tao Te Ching - Connecting To Your True Source Of Power.

    How To Be Lived By The Tao. The Tao Te Ching is one of those books that many people read, few understand, and even fewer put into practice. The only way to know the Tao is to experience it, and it is…

    Read More

  22. How Things Really Are - The Inbuilt Design Flaws

    Chaos, Disorder And Decay Is The Natural Order Of Things. Nobody has the perfect life. We all struggle and strive to attain health, wealth and personal happiness. Yet these three big areas: our health…

    Read More

  23. Intuition Or Anxiety - Are There Angels Or Devils Crawling Here?

    How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety. How do you know whether the voice of your intuition is real or just the product of your inner anxiety? Several months ago I was having a drink…

    Read More

  24. What Is Truth - How To Tell A Partial Truth From The Whole Truth?

    How the truth and nothing but the truth is often not the whole truth. My great aunty Flo broke her arm and died. It is true that she broke her arm in 1923. It is also true that she died in 1949. But t…

    Read More

  25. Duality And Life Beyond Your Thinking Mind

    Duality and life beyond your thinking mind focuses on the limitations of time, foreground and background, duality and "stuckness". The first aspect of duality and life beyond your thinking mind focuse…

    Read More

  26. The Conscious Mind Is Limited - Be Aware And Be Prepared

    Being aware is the first stage of being prepared. The conscious mind is limited in so many ways. There are some who would argue that there is no such thing as conscious thought and that it is represen…

    Read More

  27. Your Inner Map Of Reality - Here's Why You Think The Way You Do

    The big picture of how your inner map of reality creates your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. Your inner map of reality is based on the filters of your own ethnic, national, social, family and rel…

    Read More

  28. The Failure Of Cancel Culture - Suppression Not Engagement

    Why we need to wear our beliefs lightly and develop negative capability. Throughout history people have campaigned to fight beliefs, ideologies, and injustices that they perceived to be oppressive, di…

    Read More

  29. 4 Big Reasons Why We Get Stuck In Our Attempts At Personal Change

    Most People Spend Their Entire Life Imprisoned Within The Confines Of Their Own Thoughts. This first of the 4 big reasons why we get stuck is, in my view, the most important. The "self-help industry…

    Read More

  30. How Do I Change And Why Is It So Hard?

    We Would Rather Die Than Change, And We Usually Do In my experience, the vast majority of people who say they want to change don’t change. Most people reading this won’t change because they don’t real…

    Read More



Get new posts by email:









Zen-Tools.Net





Support This Site