It’s all in your mind

Blooming lotus in peaceful mind...
Blooming lotus in peaceful mind Image by Thai Jasmine via Flickr

What is love? What is life? What is time? Please tell me. What are the words you choose? Are there words that can accurately convey these concepts? Well, we try to come up with them. But in my experience words are so limiting and often fail miserably at communicating such subjective and powerful ideas.

It’s like trying to describe to someone what it feels like to jump out of an airplane.  You could say, “It was awesome, dude!” Or you could be more specific and say, “All I could hear was the wind rushing and my heart pounding.” In any case, I’d be willing to bet the only surefire way I’d understand what it was like was if I took the plunge myself. And that experience would no doubt leave me with different impressions than others. Maybe I’d see a glimpse of heaven. Maybe I’d squeeze my eyes shut and cry “I want my mommy!” the whole way down.  This is what makes the human experience so fascinating. We are all constantly filtering what we experience and applying it directly to our own personal state of being.

A fellow blogger recently wrote a great post on blogging in general. And I thought of how we sometimes struggle to write.  We want desperately to put words down that will clearly describe an idea in our minds. But why do we even have that desire in the first place? Why bother? Basically, aren’t we saying to another person, “Hey, check this out. This is me. This is who I am and how I see the world. Do you like it? Do you understand it?” Hopefully the other person does and responds, “Yes, I get it. I see what you see.”

There is nothing like that basic validation. That feeling of: I exist and I matter. I can connect with others. And others do understand how it feels to be a mom/friend/wife/human. Oh! So you do understand what it’s like to have two young children! Oh, so you can relate to my sleep-deprived, coffee-saturated, mommy brain?  And really, you wonder about your sanity and growing senility too? Get out, the ideas of heaven and God baffle your mind as well? Great! Whew! What a relief! We are in on this life thing together, muddling on through, trying to figure things out. Words are necessary. We need to communicate.

Yet, I also feel that words get in the way.  This post about reincarnation, the concept of heaven and the game of cricket  gave me real food for thought. How do you describe God or heaven or love? What does it mean to you, what memories or thoughts come into your mind? I know what it means to me, I feel it deep in my bones and in my soul, but I struggle when I try to tell another person what I feel.  I’m not sure it’s possible with words.

So I meditate. I breathe. I try to be that rock in the river. My thoughts come in and they go back out. They flow around me. I am not just a bunch of thoughts. Well, who is observing this, these meandering thoughts? That is the true me. The observer. And that “me” is you too. We can all connect on this level.

I’ve noticed that those moments when I am at peace all have one thing in common. I am not thinking. I am not judging. I am not worried or fearful.  I can sometimes get to this place where I feel light and floating. All the words, labels and thoughts slip away.  This happens to all of us, here and there; listening to music, watching rain fall, smelling the grass, holding your sleeping child. That place, that sense of peace. That is meditation. That is the moment we are alive and truly ourselves.  We need more of this in our lives.

These days, our way of relating is through electronics. Internet, blogs, Facebook, texting.  I see the benefits and downfalls of all of these.  I feel as if we need to balance this constant flood of talk, talk, talk with actually experiencing things.  Even better, experiencing things in that moment, together (anyone want to go skydiving with me?)

Maybe by connecting with each other and our experiences, we realize that we are all so much more alike than different. Then we can begin to see where we’re headed and where we came from. And all of us can get there together.

Please watch this video my friend of Life is a Journey…Not a Guided Tour sent me. It is a powerful and incredible story of a neuroscientist who suffered a stroke and lived to talk about what her experience of it was and how it changed her view of living.  She talks about how we have the left brain, which constantly communicates to us with thoughts like, “Don’t forget to pick the kids up at school.” Or “We’re out of milk.” That side of the brain also identifies the self with limiting words like; I am Darla. I am a mom of two. I am 40. Then we have the right brain which is only in the present moment and taking things in with only our five senses as filters. We smell, touch, taste, hear and see energy in the world and receive it in its purer form, through our bodies and into our brain.  On that side, the Self is simply Being; experiencing reality with no words. How do we connect these two minds? How do we bridge that gap? How can we balance them?

And the last question she asks, “Which side are you on? Which do you choose and when?”  The more time we spend choosing the right side, the more peace we can send into the world.

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24 thoughts on “It’s all in your mind

  1. First, thank you for including me in your post. Second, I saw Jill on Oprah, and I was blown away by her story. Third, I will keep this post bookmarked, because – like Charles’ post – there are too many goodies to enjoy with just one read. This is a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Your post and Charles and Priya’s converation about reincarnation really had me thinking this week. (thought my head might implode at one point…) I heard Jill was on Oprah once. I’ll have to dig up that old episode now and check it out. She has a book too.

  2. I think you hit it in the fourth paragraph: we all have a need to connect with other human beings. Writing is one way to do it, but it’s an imperfect way. We’re often trying to translate ideas and feelings into words that are inadequate. And when the reader translates those words back into ideas and feelings, the result may be way off the intended mark. If we’re talking about big, hazy, abstract things like love, the afterlife, and a creator, we usually end up babbling incoherently. I think if we could all just admit that to each other, as you’ve done with this post, it might represent at least a little progress toward mutual understanding.

    For what it’s worth, Maineiac, I think you’re getting better and better at expressing difficult emotions and concepts. Keep meditating, and please keep writing.

    1. “And when the reader translates those words back into ideas and feelings, the result may be way off the intended mark.”

      Absolutely. I see this happen plenty, especially when trying to communicate through texting or facebook. And I’ve had several blog posts where the reader assumed things that weren’t true at all. Hard to convey subtle things, like sarcasm. When you can’t physically see the person and their body language or hear their tone of voice. This is what makes writing so much fun though (and challenging). To attempt to connect with others. When someone “gets” it. Of course, you are very good at that! I’m still working on it.

  3. Kim

    Wow, Darla. This was a great blog entry, and I did watch the video of Jill. What a wonderful speaker she is; she’s obviously passionate about both her work and her message. And what a thought-provoking message she shares. Just wow.

    1. Isn’t she amazing, Kim? The way she speaks and draws you in. I’ve watched that little clip several times and I tear up at the end every single time and get goosebumps. “Just wow” says it all!

  4. Beautiful. Our needs to relate, to be validated, to been felt, seen, and heard, are so primal and important. And it IS so difficult to adequately describe how we perceive an experience. You do it well, so keep sharing with us!

  5. What a great post, Darla. I’d say that you hit the nail on the head…but there was more than one lonely nail in that blog post. The fact that we all need that validation of our feelings coupled with the fact that we all perceive experience differently and then filter it differently as well is all the more reason why this world need so much more understanding and acceptance and support and less judgmentalism!

  6. Hi,
    A fantastic post, and very well written. I agree we certainly interact differently today than people used to, but I see this as a good thing, as long as there is balance as you pointed out so well.

    Blogging or any social networking has definitely opened up the world for many people, and to interact with people from different parts of the world I feel is definitely a good thing and expands our knowledge of so many things.
    Thank You for the great read and thoughts.

    1. Exactly, there are loads of benefits. It’s incredible that I can discuss things with someone on the other side of the world or see photos of a place I’ll never visit. Blogging helps us all connect in ways we never could otherwise.

  7. Mary the OINKteller

    Beautiful. Thoughtful. Inspiring. Thank you for posting. I am so much more left brain than right and I need more right in my life. You’re making me think, girl!

    1. I love it! Be careful, if you’re like me, your head might implode if you think too much. 😉 I am definitely a left brain person. I’m a Virgo, very OCD, I think and analyze way too much in general. I can think too much about thinking. Ha! This is why I know I need to try and balance that side with the other peaceful, calm side.

  8. Thanks for this beautiful post – it’s not easy to express these ideas articulately and in a way that reaches others on a personal level. You have me really thinking in these few moments after reading your post about how I can live a more mindful life and how nurturing my love of writing (which has been lost for almost 15 years) might help me and in turn somehow benefit others.

  9. It’s not easy, and something I struggle with every time I try to write. I’m happy your love of writing has found you again. I had a long time where I didn’t write at all and now that I’ve started up again, I feel like it’s something I need in my life at this point. To be heard by others and know I’m not alone in this. It’s like therapy for me.

  10. ~~~Dear, Maineiac,

    I can see you have no trouble whatsoever communicating with your words.

    They are beautiful & filled with passion.

    “I get it. I see what you see.”

    I Love that sentence….This is precisely what I want my reader to declare!

  11. Priya

    I’ve often heard of people saying a particular piece of expression — blog post, music, written article, what have you — ‘spoke’ to them or ‘resonated’ through. I now know what that means. It is a beautifully composed log of your thoughts, Darla. The words that resonated, and still do, are:
    “rock in the river”
    “I exist, I matter”
    “I feel as if we need to balance this constant flood of talk, talk, talk with actually experiencing things.”

    And finally, my favourite paragraph:
    “I’ve noticed that those moments when I am at peace all have one thing in common. I am not thinking. I am not judging… That place, that sense of peace. That is meditation. That is the moment we are alive and truly ourselves. We need more of this in our lives.”

    Bravo.

  12. “Be careful, if you’re like me, your head might implode if you think too much. I am definitely a left brain person. I’m a Virgo, very OCD, I think and analyze way too much in general. I can think too much about thinking. Ha! This is why I know I need to try and balance that side with the other peaceful, calm side.”

    Aha! I too am a Virgo and deal with the same type of brain; and am trying to balance it with the right side. No wonder.

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