Is self-expression a shortcut to mindfulness?
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
An open conversation with my inner-self
“I don’t know what I am doing. I mean I am feeling so negative right now. I am feeling like something terribly wrong is going to happen.”
PC - http://we-are-star-stuff.tumblr.com/
What could this be about?
“Maybe it's the conversation I had with my colleague yesterday. She was telling me how we should focus more on sharing our story and less on building more features on the product. I feel she is right and I feel guilty that I did not think of this before. I think I wasted a lot of time focusing on product features”
Well, could there be another reason for the way you are feeling right now?
“Maybe I am just tired, it's the fatigue. I am feeling down, maybe I should grab something to eat?”
“I think it could be it that I have not been myself in the last few months. I have been under a lot of “performance pressure”. I have never been good in such situations. I always overthink and wilt under pressure.”
“yeah.. maybe I should try and change the game. Maybe I should not make it a performance-based game. I should just focus on ideas that are inspiring to me.”
“A comment on my Facebook post on how ‘self-expression’ is an easier way to meditate and be mindful for people.”
What about it?
“Well, the routine analogy given for meditation is that sometimes our mind is like muddy water and we need to let the mud settle down. But for some, the way their inner self is designed, the mud never settles down. In such a situation, we need a strainer to throw out some of the mud. By talking out our innermost thoughts and ideas, we can choose which mud to throw and which to keep.”
Excellent. Any other inspiring ideas?
“I came across this post on Medium where the author says how it took 6 months of mindfulness practice for him to be able to witness his thoughts much more easily. Immediately what struck me was this — how many people have this time and energy to practice?“
A lot of people
“But it doesn’t always work. How many years I tried this practice?”
Maybe you did not do it right.
“This is exactly the problem. When meditation or mindfulness works then it's an awesome tool. If not, then I am, as the meditator, is the problem.”
Wow. Seems like you caught an insight there.
“When I started ‘talking out’ my ideas, I started being self-aware of my thoughts in a couple of weeks' time. There are people for whom self-expression is useful in being mindful and self-aware, but very few people know about it.”
This might be just you.
“I don’t know. The point is that as we speak millions of students, professionals, artists — are struggling with their mental health. ‘You should be able to watch your thoughts’ is the panacea for our emotional troubles. It’s like everyone trying to win Olympic gold medal”
What’s wrong with that? Isn’t it good to have a goal?
“Emotional well-being cannot become a goal that you chase. Because when you fail, you might lose all interest in gaining well-being in the first place. This is what we are so good at doing as a modern world — convert everything into a rat race”
You are digressing.
“Right. Days after I started talking out my thoughts, I could clearly see a pattern in my thoughts. Emotions I thought were my intelligence speaking to me turned out to be repeating patterns in my thinking. When I talk I remember. As a result, my overall awareness of my mental state has increased. I am able to see the underlying triggers easily.”
You mean me — the self-talk, it’s been easier for you to understand me after all these years of not listening to me properly?
“Yes, you — my self-talk. The more I talk out my ideas and fears and emotions, I am able to hear you more clearly. I used to hear you like a feeble voice behind my emotions, as the person driving my emotions crazy. Now I can hear you say things, sometimes even in my sleep”
That’s crazy dude.
“I know. But that’s the truth. I know that you are in my head as a way for me to make sense of my environment, to help me take actions. But as I grew up I couldn’t hear you that clearly— my emotions have gotten complicated”
Your point is...
“ Meditation does not make it easy for me to hear you. If anything I become more sensitive to all the things in my head and I get overwhelmed. Like I said before, it's like a million mud particles are crushed into my bucket of water and there is no way these particles settle down that easily. You are more like a desert storm. I just can’t see anything”
So the solution is…
“The solution is self-expression, at least for me. Talking out emotions, ideas, asking intelligent questions can be a great guide. I have a list of questions. I use them for different life situations. I filter out thoughts that are not important and keep the ones that are relevant to my work and life. I become better at hearing my self-talk better and knowing where my emotions are coming from”
“I have few more ideas to add”
No, please shut up and get on to work.