Last month I sat my second ten-day Vipassana meditation, a rigorous exercise conducted completely in silence with no mental distractions whatsoever. Since returning to Ashland, I’ve felt the teachings and method truly sink in as I continue to sit and practice. Every now and then, among the crazy monkey gibberish my mind is constantly recycling, I feel that a more pithy realization arises for me to examine. I’d like to share one with you.
It became incredibly apparent to me one morning a couple of weeks ago that I have a severe addiction: I am continuously creating problems, and in the next moment I will leap into creating solutions. An example. I realize that there is some task that I neglected to complete. Problem. Before I draw my next breath I am studiously planning on when and how I will make up for this lapse in memory. Solution. Another example. I don’t have enough money. Problem. The list of ways I could make more money and save money is myriad and seemingly endless, although again, I recycle many of my solutions. Donating plasma, modeling for art classes, playing Bach on the plaza for wealthy, wandering tourists…many solutions. Another example. I’m not good enough. The solutions for this particular problem could fill a library of huge dictionaries with tiny print, like those old publications that held me in amazement, settled on a tall, narrow table in the middle of my childhood public library.
This is normal…at least, many of us are content with the idea that this insanity is normal. The brain is a beautifully complex, delicate tool, capable of extraordinary things. I use my brain when I’m writing and playing music. I use my brain to create perfect pancakes. I use my brain when dealing with a difficult interpersonal situation. I use my brain to read books illuminating authentic human experience. Using my brain to create petty problems and feeling satisfied when I come up with recycled solutions, over and over, day in and day out, until I die, seems like an utter, weak waste of my life. I don’t want to settle into the idea that this pattern is acceptable, that it is normal. I’m working to notice the moment I create a “problem”, and breathe through the old story creation, let the need to fix everything relax.
As women, as humans, I believe we need to develop high standards for how to use our brains. We have been given the extraordinary gift of self-reflection, self-realization. I choose to use that to my most beautiful advantage.
Photo found at: http://www.themarysue.com/brain-art/