The brain can’t tell the difference between whether we are physically doing something or thinking about it. It produces the same chemicals and synapse patterns when we do both.
Try it now. Think about something that makes you nervous. Going to the dentist for example. I bet it doesn’t feel a million miles away from how you actually feel when you’re physically there. Heart pounding, a sensation similar to stage fright in your stomach, anxiety. But you are not even there. You are somewhere else only imagining it.
I use this to my advantage when I have something to do that is tricky or needs practice or repetition. By sitting quietly and visualising myself going through all the steps and completing the job. Doing this over and over until in my mind I feel more competent.
I’ve done it with sketching. Imagining drawing the object over and over. Going over the individual shapes that form it. The over all form, the tones, the details, everything; sketching it out in my imaginary sketch book. When I eventually come to draw it in the physical world I have less problems. It is like my mind has already sorted out and resolved the difficulties during my inner world practice. It’s because the brain can’t tell the difference.
I’ve used it to remember important pieces of subject matter. If I want to remember a story or research information from books. I read it, sit quietly and repeatedly retell myself the information or story. I make up characters or archetypes to put things into a pictorial form.
A Double Edge Sword
It’s a colourful way to learn and practice new things. However it can be a double edge sword. It can also have a tendency to go the opposite way and start to replay past situations. Which can then start to play on the mind and bring us down.
Ruminating on yesterday’s news or replaying past difficult conversations in your mind. It can be tormenting and distract us from the joy of the moment. If we don’t take control of the mind chatter we waste time, relive past difficult situations that we can’t change. Mind chatter weighs us down.
The shadow self tells us to drop this unnecessary weight. I had a personal trainer who once said to me weights are made for lifting, not carrying. It may sound trite or cliché but there is a lot of truth in that sentence.
When I see myself going down this path, I stop and try to focus on the moment. Look at what is around me, the colours, the sounds, the blood running through my veins, my heart pumping it. I try to ground myself to Mother Earth so that I don’t miss out or waste this wonderful gift called today.
It is not an easy thing to master and as human being who is aware of my shadow self, I’m not looking to master only to be aware and not to allow it full control over me or dominate my time and thoughts. I’m proud to be a work in progress. It means I’m trying, I’m learning. I’m not just floating along unaware.
All our todays when curated more mindfully have the potential to blossom into a beautiful tomorrow.