‘Face the fear of not interpreting and stay with the experience’. I was advised by an anonymous wise person on a forum maybe 15 years ago. It hit me powerfully at the time.
Now that I’m having more inner quiet and longer breaks in between my thoughts, I can see the contrast. I have been noticing just how much of my life has been, and still is, lived through my thinking, and the ongoing interpreting of my minute to minute experiences in my thoughts. And how very crowded it can feel in here due to that.
That chat inside the mind. ‘Oh that’s a beautiful tree’, ‘ooo this food is delicious’ ‘yes think it’s time for a cup of tea’ ‘that’s an annoying noise’ ‘I think I might call S soon’ and so on. When I can actually do all that without thinking about it, so what is the point in all that inner dialogue going on?
I remember saying to my son when he was young “oh look at that beautiful sky” and him saying, “mum you don’t have to say that out loud, it spoils it”. He felt the dampening effect of me interpreting the experience out loud instead of just being there directly experiencing it.
It’s a defence mechanism I think, a way of buffering the rawness of the direct immediate experience. We know that we don’t have control over how life will unfold for us and so we try to give ourselves the illusion of control through the constant interpreting of experience real time. And we get addicted to it, and then only let the raw experience in in small doses.
And there is the accompanying threat detection facility which is very quick to comment in our minds. Worry thoughts. ‘You better watch out, might happen if you don’t do this on time’, kind of thoughts. Which has us on edge a good bit of the time, believing there is threat – though 99% of the time the threat was just in our minds.
I hardly ever got to experience life directly, and the rawness of the experiencing directly became a little scary as I wasn’t used to the sheer direct intimacy of it. I think we can feel exposed without our inner dialogue chit chat to buffer us from the rawness of reality after a while.
For so many years I had this sense that I was living life through some sort of web of fabric in front of me, a barrier of some kind that made me feel removed from life, from directly experiencing and from myself too. I didn’t know what it was but now realise it was this constant inner dialogue, the constant interpreting and judging and appraising.
I’m now learning to ease myself back into the direct experience. Tolerating a little discomfort initially, I persevered and discovered a whole new world opening up which I had been missing. The joy of the momentary raw direct experience without thought interpreting it for me. It’s become a wonderful new adventure. Life is richer and more intense, and many previously ordinary experiences have become fuller in feeling and colour and texture. I have let go of some control as it felt safe to for me and little by little I have realised that everything doesn’t fall apart after all. That I don’t have to hold it all together. Life unfolds just fine, even when I loosen my grip.