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.



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



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

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