I used to date a girl back in the 80’s, who was determined to hear her favorite song every time she got in my car. To make it worse, it was a sappy Willie Nelson song. I didn’t have a tape deck.
If we were in the car for an hour, it was an hour of non stop channel scanning and sudden volume changes.
It was maddening.
Sort of like our thoughts. If you were to monitor your thoughts all day, and notice how all over the place you are, you would know that the mind can be a terrible thing.
Usually, your mind is not your friend. Most of the time, you’re not using your mind, it is using you.
It can take you places you’re not prepared to go. And you will suffer.
Enter conscious awareness.
Consciousness refers to your individual awareness of your unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and environments.
Essentially, your consciousness is your awareness of yourself and the world around you. This awareness is subjective and unique to you.
I learned to meditate back in 1979. In desperation.
I was desperate to kick drugs and alcohol. I lost my job and my band had kicked me out. I had no income and was terribly ill from all the chemicals still circulating in my body.
As you can imagine, my nerves were shot from years of alcohol and amphetamines. I was sitting alone in my little apartment chain smoking, shaking, and crying.
I remember some nights, sleeping on the floor next to my mother’s bed, just to make it through the night. Sober.
To darken my thoughts a bit more, the Jonestown Massacre was crowding all three networks. It was bleak.
I was not in a good place, to say the least.
Then someone gave me a meditation tape. I always thought that stuff was foofy. Like something someone from Harvard Square would do. I can smell the incense now.
Slowly, I learned to become still. I learned to breathe and focus on my body.
I would sit in a straight back chair, drop my right arm and cradle my left arm in my lap. Then I would start to focus my attention on each one of my fingers until I felt a tingling sensation.
Over time, things started to quiet down.
When you become quiet, you start to notice the ridiculous thoughts coming at you from every direction. Scary.
Then I knew why I drank and took drugs. It was to numb that noise upstairs.
My life so far has been a roller coaster, and learning to meditate or “quiet the mind” has most likely, saved my life.
When times get tough, as they always do, I roll my eyes upward and say what the lady downstairs used to say, “Hey, knock that racket off up there.”
Oh, does that feel good.