Knowing the traps of the mind to achieve an effective well-being

The Traps of the Mind

In the post dedicated to the power of our mind, we shared the condition of “ordinary functioning” of the mind itself, describing it as a state of “sleep”: if we go into it to observe it, we will soon realise that it takes away a lot of our energy.

We are continually driven to think, analyse, reflect: the problem is that we do not engage with ourselves and the real cause of much of our distress is precisely that we miss ourselves.

Let us free ourselves from identification…

Every morning, when we wake up, we look in the mirror, we comb our hair, but how often do we notice ourselves? How often do we say “here we are”?

And what do I mean by “here we are”? That not only do we observe ourselves, comb our hair and do all the many other daily actions, but in doing so we realise that they have depth and meaning.

The clearest and most obvious concrete demonstration of the state of “sleep” is that we are always identified with “everything and anything” where identified means entirely absorbed and unable to separate ourselves from what absorbs us.

Identified with what we think, say, know, believe, desire, with what attracts or repulses us.

Totally absorbed by what surrounds us, we are not able to define and consider in an impartial and objective way, because we are not able to mature that detachment, which allows a true contact with reality.

Identified is equivalent to being “lost”, and this can only be a condition of constant distress. If man would work to free himself from identification, and he can, he would free himself from an immense number of unnecessary and harmful manifestations that consume so much energy.

Recognising the traps of our mind…

If we begin to make an effort to observe our mind in a neutral way on a daily basis, we will soon realise that we are mainly distracted: for example, we fantasize about everything and everyone or imagine we are talking to someone else.

The mind is often troubled, and we feel a background noise that we cannot stop even when we are asleep and that often generates “negative thoughts”. These are obsessive, circular thoughts that swing between complaining (“it’s all happening to me”, “no one understands me”, “I don’t trust you”, “I know how this is going to end”, “I’ll never be able to solve this problem”) and recrimination (someone or something is to be blamed), or between fears (all sorts of fears and worries) and hopes (something “magical” from outside that will come and solve our problems).

Thinking and rethinking is a normal functioning in human beings. However, when thinking becomes repetitive and recurrent and we have the feeling that we cannot stop it, we are faced with an alarm bell.

Brooding is one of the main symptoms of an overall disease, in which a lot of energy is spent predicting negative events. Stuck in this style of thinking, we look for solutions. Brooding gives us the illusion that we are in control of the situation, but on the other hand it only creates suffering and distress.

It is absolutely necessary to recognise the traps of our mind, that is, the vortex of thoughts that generate vicious cycles incredibly wasteful in terms of energy.

Sickness, tension, discomfort, guilt, tyrannical sense of duty are states of identification, the result of many influences that are hidden in the subconscious: understanding all this is crucial for our real well-being.

Let us train ourselves in self-observation…

We can learn to move the focus from outside to inside, through a daily exercise of self-observation.

Observing ourselves, training ourselves to do so, in fact changes the dimension of our daily life, because it allows us to break the patterns and therefore not to waste energy.

Observing ourselves is not about checking or correcting: I do not have to manipulate data but only collect it, so that observation defines me, tells me who I am, how I am and how I interpret life.

No one finds it strange that in order to learn anything we attend courses, or that in order to have a slim and toned body we are dedicated to physical activities at a constant frequency. Why should our interior state or mind escape this logic, and be able to transform just because we want to?

We need a daily self-training, a work that generates presence. Not so much to activate it in occasional moments, but to extend and sustain it.

The aim is to gradually become freer and more self-possessed.

In addition to Eastern philosophy, the most authoritative Western approaches to well-being and serenity also affirm that through meditation and daily training in self-observation we learn to live in the present moment with awareness, triggering a virtuous cycle that gradually changes ourselves and our lives for the better.

Thank you for your attention