I get a lot of negative thoughts. I’ve been getting them for as long as I can remember.
Wait. Scratch that.
I actually have no right to use the word “remember” because that's just it. I don't remember. I can't possibly remember.
I know nothing about the lifetime trajectory of the resident negative thoughts in my head.
I mean, how could I? I’ve been living on autopilot for much of my life.
The workings of my brain have been under the control of a “secret” autopilot system I never knew existed. I was never in charge. I was always reacting to what the system told me to do - where the system said the plane needed to go. I was always the passenger in this whimsical flight.
That’s until I discovered meditation.
With this seemingly strange practice (as my ego would call it), I suddenly woke up. I woke up to realise that I had been in the cockpit the entire time. I realised that I could have actually taken charge but hadn’t.
In my pre-meditation era, my thoughts were running things. They were running everything. Great thoughts. Negative thoughts. Pompous thoughts. Empathetic thoughts. Ugly thoughts. Delicious thoughts. You name it.
They had all figured out how to effectively run things. How to effectively run me.
It didn’t really matter how or why they appeared. They just did. And I can’t blame them. I was dead asleep in the cockpit and the plane had to keep moving. It had to be controlled. And someone had to do it.
Once awake, I was quite surprised at how long the plane had stayed in the air with very little help from my conscious self.
Perhaps the secret of staying airborne for that long was the unique blend of piloting thoughts that were available. The great thoughts neutralised the negative ones. The empathetic thoughts toned down the pompous ones. And the delicious thoughts dilluted the ugly ones. It was interesting to watch.
One thing I noticed though was that the negative thoughts were way more tenacious. They thrived at any little form of success they achieved. They were great at recalibrating. They were the best handlers of the autopilot system. They quickly noticed bugs and glitches and adjusted accordingly. So it’s hardly a surprise that they got more system time.
Being awake and watching all this was truly something. How had I not known that I could actually do this? How was I never taught about this? Why the hell was I asleep for that long? Why didn’t anyone wake me up?
As I watched the negative thoughts do their thing, I stayed mum. I had to learn their secrets. I had to learn their tricks.
Obviously, the other thoughts also had their say. They were great at keeping the plane stable. Everything seemed normal because of them. But since the negatives had more system time, they pretty much decided the direction of the plane - seven times out of ten.
That’s why I kept watching them closely.
I had to take back control.
The best way to do this would be to take it from where it was the strongest. I had to take control away from the negative pilots. I had to be the one to decide the direction of this plane.
One thing was clear to me. The fact that my butt was still in the cockpit, despite my many years of slumber, meant something. I chose to make it mean something.
So in the past couple of months, I’ve gained a lot more control. I’ve been studying the negative thoughts. I’ve been memorizing their every move. I’ve noted their every trick in my book. A few times, I’ve used something from their repertoire against them.
But make no mistake. They’ve been really hard to pin down. They always come back stronger. They always adjust their tricks. They are always upping their game. They are always coming back.
Now that I'm aware and mindful, I must say I've become quite the badass.
I’ve been eating negative thoughts for breakfast.
I mean this both literally and metaphorically.
The battle with these connoisseurs of negativity is alive and thriving. Now that I can see them for what they really are, they've been making my life tougher and I've been making their job a little harder.
Tit for tat is the name of the game.
Especially when the strategies being used are extremely advanced.
On certain days, these negatives don’t even allow me a few minutes to breathe as I wake up. They’ll appear with the sound of the alarm clock. They’ll attack right after I step out of bed - sometimes right before. Other times, they’ll work their magic while I’m in the shower, or when I’m brushing my teeth. The most nuclear of their attacks, however, are the ones that strike while I’m looking at any of my goals or mumbling any ass-kicking mantra. Worse still are the ones that creep in while I’m meditating.
One interesting thing I’ve managed to learn is to not look at these negative thoughts as enemies. I don’t do that anymore. Yes, we are in a battle for supremacy. But they are not the enemy. I consider them contemporaries in this brain of mine. Contemporaries programmed by a multi-million-year-old code based on survival. Contemporaries that are guided by the oldest remnants of the evolved human brain.
They want to take the plane in a certain direction and I want to take the plane in another. Sometimes they win. Sometimes I win. In the long run, the idea is to have them winning with much less frequency. The big hairy audacious goal? To have them never winning at all.
What’s most disturbing, though, is the fact that they’ve been around and in charge for way too long and mostly without any interference from me. They’ve had free reign for most of my life. They’ve enjoyed the vastness of zero boundaries for eons.
That kind of history has made them really powerful. Like really. And the fact that they now know I'm awake and watching them is increasing their potency.
But as they increase in strength, I’m gaining new superpowers. Sometimes the superpower is as simple as being able to laugh at their convoluted suggestions. Other times, it's being able to unpack the reasoning behind some of their ridiculous whims.
Despite the mindf*ck-ness of it all, I’m learning a ton. With me awake and mindful of my thoughtful (and thoughtless) contemporaries, this plane will certainly reach new heights and newer destinations.
There are absolutely no limits in this sky.