Friday, 30 April 2010

Just be OK with it

There is a technique I keep reading about - in pop psychology, new-agey weirdness and serious books about CBT. So someone somewhere thinks it must work.

Sometimes I over think things. I worry. I pick up on every little detail, every little issue and I allow it to grow in my head. It can stop me from sleeping. It can change my mood from bright and sunny to dark and stormy. It is a curse.

And it is a curse which can, apparently be avoided.

"You must face your fear, my child"

That's what the ancient enlightened master would say. And he would be right. Sort of.

When I get these thoughts in my mind, I generally try one of two tactics

Tactic 1: Solve the problem. Which is OK if the problem can be solved straight away, right there, right then. Otherwise you've just moved the issue on from "I have a problem" to "I wonder if I've solved thew problem". More likely, I just spend my time thinking of ways to solve the problem - and if this is the sort of issue, I'm tossing around inside my head, then either the solution is impossible, or it involves me doing something I genuinely don't want to do.

Tactic 1 Sucks.

Tactic 2: Push the problem out of my head. Because frankly I can't do anything about it right now, and I'll be just as unable to deal with it tomorrow as I am now. So why worry? I could be doing more important things like sleeping. So I just close my eyes and... Wham, problem in my face... must avoid problem... pushing to the back of my mind. but its growing. Must shrink problem... but problem is skirting around the edges of my consciousness. Must get rid of it... ahhh. Problem hidden.

Oh wait. I've just thought about it again. Not good.

Tactic 2 sucks big devilled eggs.

But this is what the books say - and this is what worked for me last night:

You may or may not get rid of your problem. But that's the state anyway. Sometimes your problem will stay sometimes it'll go. So you don't want to spend time worrying that you can't make it go - that's just giving yourself another problem.

Its okay to have a problem. The problem might mot be okay, but the fact that you have it is absolutely fine.

Examine the problem... don't try to solve it, just look at it. Bring it to the forefront of your mind. Play with it. How does it feel physically? How does it sound. What colour is it. Is it warm or cold? hard or soft?

Keep examining it.

That is all.

Now lots of the books say that the problem will go away. But the problem going away isn't the point. If you want the problem to go away from your mind, then you mind having the problem. And the secret is not to mind. Because that is when you are at peace.

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