The only solution is to turn it off.
I had a thought-provoking conversation with a friend yesterday. I asked, “is the world merely a reflection of ourselves?” I, for one, was going through turbulent times. Had this also caused turbulence in the world today?
I have to be completely honest: while I’m very fortunate and happy to be working for myself, it’s also been a lot more difficult. It’s not that the work has been more difficult, it’s that I’ve been having a lot of difficulty dealing with my thoughts.
After some time, self-doubt starts to creep in and then you look back and notice that everyone who supported your decision is no longer cheering you on. At this point, it’s about mental resilience. If the world is a reflection of ourselves and we of our thoughts, then perhaps we need to address our thoughts.
So I went back to something tried and true. Everyday, as part of my morning routine, I’d take half an hour to meditate. Now, I’m no expert at meditation by any means, but I have started to take note of its effects on my wellbeing.
I would sometimes bike to a nearby park, walk to a hilly spot, or when the weather isn’t favourable, meditate in my room. I turn everything off, set an alarm, close my eyes, and then just breathe it all in. There’re usually three phases during my meditation:
At this stage, I acknowledge my breath and all of the thoughts consuming me. My mind becomes a blizzard of thoughts and ideas. I acknowledge the thoughts and let them pass freely. New thoughts will emerge but I shouldn’t latch onto any single thought. I also acknowledge the environment—the wind brushing against my face, the blades of grass tickling my feet.
About ten minutes in, my thoughts start to blur creating abstractions of thoughts. My anxieties are abstracted into emotions which are then abstracted into experiences and then further abstracted into the highest-order entity, just another thought. I would often see past experiences play out and reconnect with them. Eventually, they disappear morphing into abstract shapes and colours.
This usually happens midway through. But at this point, my body becomes more relaxed. I’m focused on my breathing and while some thoughts may still appear, they’re usually in the form of abstract shapes and are no longer comprehensible. They fade in, they fade out. I start to engage with the present moment. I start to feel like I’m connected with my environment. Like I’m connected to everything. Like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders for I now understand that I am not defined by my thoughts.
I now understand that I am not defined by my thoughts.
We are easily influenced by our thoughts. The bigger problem is that our thoughts aren’t necessarily ours. Naval Ravinkant once said, “there’s too much society everywhere you go. You have society in your phone, society in your pocket, society in your ears. It’s socializing and programming everyone. The only solution is to turn it off.”
So while anxious thoughts may still sprout here and there, I am fully aware that they’re just that: thoughts. And my biggest superpower? Having control over them.
If the world is a reflection of ourselves, then maybe we just need to take some time to reflect and breathe it all in. We all deserve some peace, now more than ever.
💵 Balance: $19196 (🔻 $1398)