The Mental Theater

The Mental Theater

You are sitting in your room. There is no TV or music playing. You are alone with your thoughts. Just what thoughts are they though? If you observe your thoughts you will note a few things. First there are “environmental” thoughts which are those thoughts relating to your physical being. Thoughts regarding your reaction to your environment. You are hot, cold, thirst, hungry, horny, itchy etc. Then there are “passive” thoughts. These are the ones which constantly bubble up more or less spontaneously without any obvious direction on your part. They are often random and flow in a “free association” of one to the next e.g. my new outfit, the dance next saturday, Ellen will be there, Ellen went to Hawaii with us, it rained, I wonder if it will rain tomorrow etc. Then we have active thoughts. These are thoughts which we direct. We think about a specific subject, event or person or the activity we are engaged in at that moment.

These thoughts happen all at the same time. Never is your mind without a thought. The thoughts flow in a constant broadcast of inner monologue like a film that you cannot turn off. Now, to continue with this metaphor the film is projected onto a “screen” in your solar plexus. Every image on the screen creates some emotional response. It can be positive, negative or neutral but there will be a response. This goes on for every second you are awake from the second you open your eyes until the second you close them again at night.

So, you are barraged with a loud chatter of thought which in turn causes constantly shifting emotional states and it never ceases. Even when you want to focus on just one thing you can’t because of all of the restless chatter.

When you self observe, after a while you will be able to recognize the interplay between these thoughts and feelings. You can pinpoint what thoughts are giving rise to what feelings. You will begin to realize the repeating patterns of thought which lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Once you have recognized them it is a simple step to assert control over them.

๑ Samsaran ๑