Mastering the Mind Warp

Photo by Alexander Klein

This is a post I wrote 5 years ago in 2012, after a few years of practicing Vedic meditation. I thought to re-post it as my experiences have definitely changed but the journey remains as relevant as ever!

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Recently, I met someone that I knew straight up, was out of the ordinary, yet somehow was strangely familiar. It struck within me that infrequent state of fear, nausea and self doubt when your heart opens; or what I like to call the mind warp.

You carry into your mid-20’s a suitcase full of love, heartbreak and everything in-between. The game changes (or so you think). The nonchalance of your teenage years slowly fades into a more serious questioning of life. What difference am I making in the world? How will this next decision effect my future? Who will be there to catch me if I fall?

The past three years have been the most expansive of my whole life. I learnt Vedic meditation and now practice twice daily along with my weekly yoga classes. I’ve travelled the world; eaten ice off a lake in Hungary, interned in New York City and swam down the Ganges River in India. My awareness of the world has both broadened and diversified. My sense of self has become established deep within the roots of the unseen. Oh and I can now touch the ground in a forward bend too.

However, put a prospective relationship in front of me (one I believe could be serious) and what happens? Mind warp. It’s like my normal coherent way of thinking goes haywire and the peaceful thinking circuits break. The two loose ends make friends with old behaviours, I start experiencing ridiculous ways of thinking and then whole-heartedly jump on board the roller coaster ride through irrational emotional hell.

I’ve been there. Quite a few times. And I have definitely seen others trapped in the relationship mind warp too. Anything from guys sending super long passive-aggressive texts after one date you didn’t want to follow up on. To girls falling into self-doubting critics followed by a deep neediness if the one they're newly dating doesn’t make contact for 24 hours. Noticing this was going on in my current experience (thanks to the greater self-awareness from my years of meditation) I realised it was time for a change. I needed a new way of interacting with myself when the mind warp started to bend. I was done being a slave to my mind. And from all the magnificent knowledge I had garnered over recent years of meditation, I knew I was well equipped get into action.

In that moment, I thought back to something my teacher said at a group meditation - "The world is simply a reflection of your state of consciousness. Look through a pair of red glasses and you see a red tinged world. Look through a pair of green tinted glasses and you see a world of jade-hued wonder. Take your glasses off and experience the world as it is; clear, neither this way nor that, simply existing." Great I thought. This is where I'm going to start. I recognised my current view of the world had suddenly become a fragmented, foggy reality and I wanted to take those glasses off.

So I did what I knew best. I sat down and meditated. Things settled down a bit and I was able to think a little clearer. And slowly I remembered what I had been taught. Our minds have been hardwired to think in certain patterns. These patterns have developed over years of experience; more pertinently over the perception of our experiences. Bruce Lipton, a magnificent M.D. wrote about this in his book The Biology of Belief. He speaks a lot about how we 'become what we see'. Our beliefs, or more to the point our perceptions of external experiences, shape and alter our biology as form adapts to function. In essence, if you think you're about to experience something stressful, then you most probably will. 

The next week my teacher reminded me of a beautiful piece of Vedic wisdom that relates to this. "All experiences are created to serve a purpose and show you where ignorance still exists". Each experience was here to teach me, to reveal the work still to be done, and to help me resolve the past that makes me think and behave in particular ways. And in this process of revealing and letting go, you may have to experience the old memories coming to the surface as they dissolve. Basically, you’ve got to bag up the rubbish before you can throw it out.

And the best way to remove the bags of rubbish? All we need to do is sit quietly with our eyes closed and surrender into the innate intelligence of ourselves. When you sit and meditate, you literally feel your physical body melting as your feelings, emotions and intuition become free. And into this oceanic space of consciousness, we let go of our old thoughts, our conditioned mind, and anything else no longer serving our evolution. We sit with it all in deep self-devotion and no expectations. We do the daily work, and over time we see the mind expanding, the body becoming more free, our thoughts liberated and our actions powerful.

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." Marcus Aurelius

Your mind should be your servant not your master. If you are ever confronted with an emotional experience, try to view it as something that is showing you where growth is taking place. Allow it to come to the surface, practice what you've learnt and if it gets too overwhelming then reach out to someone. Your power lays in doing the daily work, committing to the process, and loving yourself deeply through the whole thing. The mind warp never lasts. You'll take off the glasses of misperception and liberate yourself. And over time you'll notice a whole new way of seeing the world and your role in it.

I'm looking forward to that.