I often encounter people in and our of my office who seem to be lost in|
thought. I sometimes ask them what they are thinking about. They are usually
startled by the question. They look at me blankly and are often surprised to
hear themselves admit with embarrassment that they don't know or can't say.
Or they describe one small, fleeting fragment of disconnected thought. The
"normal" human state of mind is constant, incessant thinking--an enigmatically
linked stream of consciousness, sensations, memories, feelings, desires,
fears, and chatter. And at the center of the narrative, the star of the show
is always--ME! This is why the first leg of the journey requires courage. To
become familiar with the chaotic, egotistical, and often nonsensical narrative
of our own mind stream is disconcerting and painful. To discover directly
that we are literally "lost in thought" can be frightening. But this is where
we are and where we must begin.
It's consoling to remember that everyone is neurotic, each one of us. The
"normal" mind suffers from a complex of conflicting desires and aversions.
The best we can do is to become aware of our neuroses, to become wiser in our
thinking and our conduct of life. In my experience, meditation is the most
direct and efficient method for developing self-awareness. Self-awareness is
not a steady state because experience is not a steady state. Through the
practice of meditation, we can learn to watch our ever-fluctuating mental
processes from a more detached, aerial perspective. Without necessarily
understanding ourselves in some intellectual way, we can directly discover how
the mind works. The mind has its causes and effects, its motivations and
intentions, and its awareness and evaluation of their possible consequences.
-- Ron Leifer, M.D., "Vinegar Into Honey: Seven Steps to Understanding and
Transforming Anger, Aggression, and Violence", published by Snow Lion