My mind has been doing things without my permission for the past few years. It began with very subtle thoughts such as “you should steal this,” “you are a failure, “you can’t breath,” or “you might have this disease.” I tried not to pay much attention to the workings of my own mind by smoking weed and drinking two bottles of red wine every day. Whatever it took to put these mischievous thoughts out of my mind- I did with a passion. But life went along as it normally tends to do and everything changed including the thoughts in my mind.
Now I realize that all human beings suffer from the condition of negative thinking but I believe there are variations of effect. Some people are able to immediately transform their negative thoughts into positive ones and others are able to ignore the thoughts that enter the confines of their own mind. Others, who are not so fortunate- may be dominated, overcome by the negative thoughts that their minds generate. They look towards food, drink, chemical substances, television, film or novels to distract themselves from the negative thoughts that have a tendency to colonize their minds. These distractions work for an allotted period of time but the negative thoughts seem to return with a fervor and force that no amount of inoculation can put down.
This is where I have found myself these days. I have met with nueroscientists, psychiatrists, chiropractors, and healers all to try and garner some support around gaining some control of my own mind. I have done daily exercises to turn down the left side of my brain and turn up the right side. I stand on my head every day for twenty minutes and I eat alot of fish which has been said to balance out the right and left hemispheres of the brain. But still at different times of the day the negative thoughts come at me like a wave which is determined to drag me under. What is a man to do when his own mind is working against him?
The past two years I have made many changes in my lifestyle. I no longer steal, cheat , lie or act without a motivation to be loving (most of the time). I exercise every day and I make every attempt that I can to sing or hum when I walk and to meditate when I sit. My hope has been that by using my mind in positive ways the negative thoughts would start to fade away like fog around noon time. Instead, the better and more hole I become- the more intense is the volume of my negative thoughts. It is like there is a devil in between my brain cells.
Nowadays, my negative thoughts seem to have been mainly centered around death. Every time I get comfortable or relaxed there appears in my mind an agitating thought about my own death. I see myself dying in various fashions and the thoughts are so vivid that the ensuing apprehension and fright stimulates my heart to beat rapidly. My body constricts and I have to fight against the impulse towards flight. The negative thoughts have become so frequent and strong that I have almost rendered myself powerless in controlling them. When a negative thought comes in which I see myself having a heart attack or being hit by a car, all I can do is take deep breaths and tell myself to relax. What is a man to do when the most dangerous place on earth is within his own mind?
When I sit in meditation, drive my car, go for walks or do just about anything- I am filled up with these intrusive negative thoughts. They scare me out of being ambitious in my life and instead I feel pity for the man I have become. I have grown depressed and conquered by these thoughts which have invoked a silent fear which resides just beneath my chest. There is really no place that is safe for me so I have taken up prayer (I am still trying to figure out to whom I am speaking). I eat less and take foot baths before I go to bed in the hopes that this mini baptism will perform the miracle of eliminating these negative thoughts. But instead my mind is a living entity that has its own set of rules which I am to weak to defend against. It is like the nueroscientist told me “as a result of many years of suffering from anxiety, worry and hypochondria-sis your left brain is at war with your right brain.” “What can I do about this?” I asked him. “The only thing that I know of is prayer,” he sternly replied.
So I pray, I sing, I stand on my head and I try to act with an intention towards love rather than hate (most of the time). I am doing all that I can to gain control of the workings of my own mind without giving myself over to medication, surgery or a Buddhist monastery. I work hard not to manifest the fears that I carry around inside my head and I have even started volunteering some of my time (to keep my mind off my thoughts) to help suicidal illiterate soldiers who have lost limbs in the war learn how to normally function in society. Sometimes when I talk to these veterans about the war which is raging in my own terrified mind they seem to be the only people who understand what is going on. “Ya, it is like a kind of post traumatic stress disorder that you are suffering from,” one soldier told me who had lost both legs in Iraq. ” “Rather than fighting in an actual war you are suffering from the terror that your own mind is generating…you are in a perpetual trap,” the soldier said. I could not have agreed more with his comment and to this day all I think about is how I can survive the trappings of my own mind. “What can I do?” I always ask but no one seems to know. “If only there were more answers, I would not be in the situation I am,” one suicidal soldier replied.