When most people talk about Mindfulness they say stuff like “paying attention to the present moment”, “being in the moment”, and “bringing your mind back time and time again to the now”.
Personally, I like to think of it as a way to tame the Lunatic in the Attic.
If you’re anything like me, your brain is really freaking busy making you crazy. Let me tell you…it does a fine job at times. Mine tells stories from the past, tells me what will happen in the future, and also gives me a blow by blow account of everything I’m doing wrong. And that’s the first 5 minutes of the day.
Sometimes it has so much going on at any one time that I think it doesn’t just have second thoughts about something but more like third and fourth and fifth thoughts.
Sometimes it makes up stuff that is so far removed from reality that I decided to call it “The Lunatic in the Attic”.
My solution to the Loon (the Lunatic in the Attic and I are on familiar terms) is Mindfulness.
Mindfulness helps me see that the crazy stuff the Loon is sprouting is not necessarily the truth. Mindfulness helps me see that I’m becoming embroiled in one of the Loon’s made up stories. Mindfulness helps me bring my attention back to what’s important and stay focused rather than being carried away with thinking.
The truth is our brains are largely untamed. We live under the false assumption that the part of us that does the thinking (the Loon) is in charge of everything. And if it’s in charge then it must be right, right? Wrong.
The Loon is the last person I would want running my life.
The Loon is just doing its job like your lungs do theirs. Lungs are there to breathe and the Loon is there to create thoughts. And create them it does. But they’re not necessarily good or true thoughts. Mindfulness helps me see that.
When you use Mindfulness you begin to see that you are not your thoughts. You see that your thoughts are not reality – they’re just the best guess at it and there could be multiple interpretations.
Which leads me to another point. When you’re using Mindfulness you don’t feel the need to interpret everything. Do you like to do an autopsy of every event and every conversation? Mindfulness helps you accept situations just as they are. And if you accept them, why would you need to analyse them?
The great thing is, the more you practice Mindfulness, the more the Lunatic in the Attic is tamed. Until eventually, all the chatter and wailing and gnashing of teeth in your mind quietens. The peace is blissful. Of course it often starts up again but not with the same vigour as before.
So if you want to tame your Lunatic in the Attic, start your Mindfulness practice.