Where is your mind?

Do you know where your mind is?

We've all heard the question on the late-night TV: Do you know where your child is?

After making sure we do know, we should make up a sticker for our mirror, the fridge and our computer, asking ourselves where our mind is.

Not us, our mind.

Even the most frazzled of us know where we are, although we often wonder how we got there.

We've all started our car and parked it 15 minutes later without any recollection of what happened in between.

We don't remember stopping at red lights — or running the yellow ones — turning corners or crossing the bridge. Fortunately, our subconscious mind is more focused than our so-called conscious mind. It keeps us alive when we're gallivanting into the past or the future and a few dimensions in between.

Our mindlessness starts before we get dressed. While we're in the shower, before we lather up, our mind is running down metaphorical rabbit trails, imagining our own version of Alice in Wonderland.

Before we know it, we've kissed the kids and our spouse goodbye and before we stick the key into the ignition, we're off on another mind trip.

We have to ask ourselves why we go through life on auto-pilot, why it is only pain, disaster, emergencies and being cut off in traffic that yank us back into the now, where the present and our lives intersect.

So where is our mind?

Is it doing what it should or has it been usurped by the voice in our head? Has it taken over our lives, like a program taking over the computer? From deep within in its mechanical entrails a message shoots out, what am I, and the answer comes back, you're a computer, an iMac.

There's a problem if the answer comes back you're Microsoft Windows — Mac version — and the computer accepts it.

Many of us never ask Who am I and some who do are content with the lies, that we're"

  • not good enough
  • not smart enough
  • not worthy enough.

Instead of having the courage to be everything we should be, we believe the programming that was installed when we were little.

But our parents, our friends and our society were merely passing along their conditioning, just as our parents passed along our grandparents' chromosomes.

We can't do anything about our genes, but we can change our conditioning.

We can fight the misconceptions and half-truths we were force fed. We can go beyond the woulds, shoulds and coulds.

We are not who we were, we are who we choose to become.

We have to keep choosing at every moment. It isn't enough to say we will quit; we have to make that choice every time a nicotine fit or chocolate craving hijacks our wishful thinking.

Then we have to make it again after exhaling that final puff or licking the crumbs off our lips.

Practice might not make perfect, but it makes us better than we were. Every loss makes victory certain; every defeat increases knowledge and resolve.

We must, however, remember that our body is constantly eavesdropping on our mind, turning thought into our reality. If we have the sniffles on Monday, and think we'll have a sore throat on Tuesday, followed by a chest cold on Wednesday and a runny nose Thursday, and the flu on Friday, we'll be calling in sick.

Every word that shuffles through the cerebral cortex is a seed and the mind is as fertile as an Okanagan orchard — what's planted bears fruit, or thistles and thorns.

While our image was created, is created, by our conditioning, it's re-inforced by that voice in our head, the judge — whether it is our mother, our priest or third-grade teacher.

What reflects back from the external world depends on whether they told us we were smart or stupid, ugly duckling or black swan — and whether we believed them.

It determines how we deal with a spouse who yells at us because we don't make enough money or forgot to get milk or our boss telling us we are incompetent. If we believed, and still believe, we're not likely to harvest positive self-esteem.

But it's not to late to be what we could have been.

We can cut the conditioning that anchors us to our self-imposed limitations, and disembowel the past. We don't need it. We only need the now, the present, real life, as opposed to the imaginary one in our head.

We deal with now rather than what might have been or what might be and not whether we have the right haircut, whether Joe will like us or whether our children will get good grades or dent the new car.

That's what causes the mounting stress in our lives: being here, but wanting to be there, preferring this, but getting that.

Our thoughts sweep us along like a river in spring, pulling everything into the stream.

Occasionally, we can grasp a branch or a rock before we are washed back into the maelstrom of white foam. Sometimes, we flow along, complacent, almost blissful, sometimes we are battered by boiling currents, but we are always at the mercy of the river.

Every river has its rapids and water falls. One day, it's the Penticton channel, the next, Niagara.

Life is as it is. Our challenge, our choice, is to accept that — or not.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Ross Freake, a former managing editor of The Daily Courier, has worked at 11 newspapers from St. John's to Kamloops. He is the author of three books and the editor and ghost writer of many others.

He can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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