Gaining control. Moving from sanity to eccentricity.
The irony of our world is that none of us can control ourselves, yet we feel ourselves qualified to tell others that they are ‘out of control’. By understanding our mind as a theatre and ourselves as the audience (censor), we can move towards greater peace (of mind).
Waking up to the theatre
Our mind is an organ — it produces thoughts. It gathers information, it processes that information from sensor-cameras on our skin, nose, tongue, eyes and ears and shows us an output. We call these outputs…thoughts. Thoughts are not true pictures of an incident, they are interpretations.
When a thought is ‘shown’ to us, it is no more than like a director presenting a proposal to the film censor board. You are the chairman of the censor board and you can choose to accept or reject your mind’s movie proposal:
- If your mind senses an empty stomach, it will show you pictures of your favorite food, NOT your empty stomach. You have a choice to accept or reject this proposal. You can focus on driving your family to a hospital even when your mind tells you you’re hungry.
- If your mind senses tiredness and a drop in hormones, it will show you pictures of your last vacation or an imaginary beach or mountain cabin. It makes you feel fresh air, it also makes you feel suffocated as you look at the room around you. This is your mind’s proposal to you- you can choose not to take a vacation. You can choose to continue working if you have a deadline.
- If your mind senses threats, it will decide to show you images of you being attacked or chased, it will make you sweat a bit, raise your heartrate a bit. By giving you a 4D movie experience, it tries to convince you that you should be afraid and anxious. You can choose to accept or reject this proposal. Your mind can be silly and inefficient, and show you only threats like a dog that barks at everyone that passes. You can’t choose whether you watch your mind-movie (anxious thoughts) or not, but you can give the movie a rating of 1/5 and ask your mind to produce more realistic movies.
Your mind considers itself an Oscar-winning director. You will be happier when you realize 50% of its movies are mind-porn.
The rules of the ‘mind theatre’
There are a few rules of the mind theatre:
- You are the only audience. No one else can see the movie (thoughts) you are seeing. Your thoughts are private.
- If you react to the movie (accept the thought) and write a review (act upon your thought), people can read that review (your external behavior)
- If you reject the movie idea (reject the thought proposal) and don’t write a review (don’t act), no one will ever know
- You are free to reject hundreds of mind-movie ideas per minute. Some of us have minds that are good directors- they produce reasonable movies and show only a few per day. Some of our minds are porn directors- they use the same storyline and create crappy plots that lead to the same outcome (!!). Porn is fun, but hopefully you also like good quality movies.
Why we suffer from anxiety and other ‘disorders’
Anxiety occurs when you forget your job as a mind-movie censor board chairman and start reacting to mind-porn (like a normal audience member):
- If you get angry with your mind-director, you will start writing bad reviews all the time. People will see you as unstable and crazy.
- If you get too involved in your mind’s movies, people will see you as spaced out, ‘lost in thought’ or catatonic. It’s nice to get lost in the movie, but remember, you are there to approve or reject the movie, not react to it.
- If you start enjoying your mind’s every movie (ex: a movie showing you how you should kill your enemies or take revenge on your attackers) without considering if the world outside will like or accept it, people will think you are a sociopath.
Think about the larger audience (external world) before you approve a movie. Some movies are to be rated RR (Really Restricted) and hidden away as not suitable for adults or children, only for very private viewings.
Remaining sane and gaining back control
The only way you can gain control over your mind is by doing your job as chairman of the mind censor board. The following is your job description:
- This is a permanent post. You were appointed as chairman of the mind-censor board when you were born, and will remain in office till you die.
- This is an unpaid job but a prestigious post. If you do your job well, people will respect you. If you fail, people will laugh at you. Sometimes, people will declare you mentally incompetent and shut down your theatre. If that happens, no one will watch your movies even if you approve them (act).
- The only way you can do this job well is by enjoying it. There is no way to quit the job, so you may as well get down to liking it.
- If you try to quit the job through suicide or self-harm, your sensor-cameras (skin, eyes, ears etc. may get damaged). With its cameras damaged, your mind will produce even worse movies! So, the only way you can make your job pleasant is by ensuring you are shown good quality movies by your mind. And the only way to ensure it produces reasonably good content is by taking care of yourself.
Moving from being just sane to being completely yourself
You move from being just sane to enjoying your life when you embrace your (mind’s) craziness. You are not an actor or the director. You are merely its audience albeit the censor board chairman.
It is possible to enjoy your job:
- When you stop trying to drown the sound of the theatre using alcohol or drugs: These only make your mind-theatre temporarily stop production and bang on your head in the morning to compensate. Alcohol and drugs won’t switch off the theatre, they only bring in the really bad actors.
- When you laugh at your mind’s silly movies …while grading them a Zero
- When you realize you can’t switch off the projector and instead make yourself (and your soul’s butt) comfortable.
Watch out for the Phantom of the Opera
Sometimes, your mind has special viewings conducted after you are asleep or when you are not looking at the stage. These viewings are conducted by a phantom who lives in the bowels of the theatre. We know this phantom as our subconscious. If we don’t allow this phantom to perform, he may kidnap one of your lead actors and start controlling her (“Sing my angel!”, anyone?). So, when you spot the phantom, allow him to perform — you may find he has a good voice behind a strange face.
You have been given power over your mind’s theatre. You can use it and live life to the fullest, or you can reject it and suffer through life. To quote Lord Acton, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Your mind can’t handle such power — in order to maintain the peace of the world, it is best you create peace within your mind’s theatre. And the only way to do that is by using the power (of censorship and humor) that has been given to you.