“Thorn in my side” PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 March 2015 23:46
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“Thorn in my side”

What would you say if I told you that most people allow the weakest part of themselves to run their life?

Let me borrow the analogy that Michael Singer uses in his book, ‘The untethered soul’. Imagine that you have a thorn in your body that directly touches a nerve. It hurts like crazy every time the thorn is touched. It makes your life extremely difficult, because when you try to sleep, you might roll over on it. Whenever you get close to people, there’s a chance they might touch the thorn.

To solve the problem, you have two choices: You can make sure nothing touches the thorn or you can take out the thorn. If you choose the first option, it becomes the work of a lifetime. For example, you design a night-time apparatus that protects you so that you can turn over in your sleep without fear.

Your solution works so well that you think you’ve solved your problem. You’re so excited that you think you should patent your innovation: anybody with a similar thorn problem can buy your protective device and you might even get rich out of it.

At this stage you’ve built a whole life around the thorn and you’re extremely proud of it. But then you fall in love. Huge problem. In your situation you cannot even hug anyone. That’s when you decide that you need a full-time device to walk around in; one that doesn’t have to be changed for daily activities.

But your new device is too heavy to drag along, so you add wheels, control it with hydraulics and install collision sensors. And no, it’s not really a problem that you had to change all the doors in your house so that the protective apparatus could get through.

You say to everyone: “I have solved my problem. I am a free being. I can go anywhere I want to. I can do anything I want to. This thorn used to run my life. Now it doesn’t run anything!”

You might be avoiding pain, but the truth is that the thorn is now truly controlling every aspect of your life. You didn’t solve anything. All you did was devote your life to avoiding your problem. It is now the centre of your universe. It is all there is.

Michael writes that most people’s instinctive reaction is to solve their problems by protecting themselves. However, your attempts to protect yourself actually create more problems. In the process you become a sort of control freak, and have to keep arranging things, people and places.

Your mind will always be telling you that you have to change something outside to solve your inner problems. But, your real job is to reorient your relationship to the problems and even to the word ‘problem’.

According to Michael the so-called problems in life help you in exactly the same way that an ache in your body warns you that something needs your attention. If a situation outside of yourself stimulated pain inside of you, it means that you’ve unearthed something stored inside of you that needs to come out.

How do you get it out? Michael says you have to calm down and let go of your fears. Letting go of fear is not the same as giving up. Fear is just another thing that you are capable of experiencing. You can do one of two things with this experience: Recognize that you have it and work to release it, or keep it and try to hide from it.

He says that if you are resisting something, you are feeding it. Any energy you fight, you are feeding. If you are pushing something away in your thoughts, you are inviting it to stay.

According to Michael you will only find a way out when you become more interested in being aware of your thoughts than you are in the thoughts themselves. The important thing is to relax and realise that 99% of what goes on in the constantly chattering monkey mind is a complete waste of time. These thoughts do nothing but freak you out, Michael says.

And, girlfriend, who knows what you might be up to in a freaked-out condition? Chances are you’re going to devote your time to building all sorts of contraptions to prevent your thorn from touching a nerve.

You’re going to allow the weakest part of yourself to run your life.

 

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