Halloween and the haunting season are now over. Horror movies have been and gone.
Some supernatural horrors, such as The Exorcist and What Lies Beneath, may have made a strong impression. They may linger on in our minds for years. However, more hauntingly scary and much closer to home are our very own traumatic incidents from the past that we tend to re-play in our mind. Once triggered, these memories roll on automatically. Like all thrillers, we get caught up in them, tense and glued to the screen, without blinking! We let them spook us without wishing to switch them off or walk away.
When a horror movie is over, we feel a sense of relief. Phew! But our past memories can do better than any horror blockbuster, for they have become golden classics that we keep playing, watching and screaming, weeping, cringing, getting upset about, over and over again, without wanting or knowing when or how to exorcise and switch them off.
Someone did something you regarded as rude or unkind, leaving you seething, feeling hurt and disappointed. But that was yesterday. Why are you still fuming now? The incident could have happened ten years ago but you still get upset every time you think of it. The other person may no longer be around, yet you still torture yourself with the incident because you brought it into your mind and let it live. Your anger lies dormant like a cold sore, waiting for your immunity to drop before striking again and again.
When the house is a mess, we tidy it. When the body gets dirty, we wash it. When the mind is muddy, instead of sweeping it clean, we ignore it or try to distract ourselves to avoid dealing with our thoughts. We watch TV, we party, we have a drink to forget our misery. Or we pretend that it doesn't hurt, that we don't care, and push it to the back of our mind.
If the mind were a room, it would be infested with all the unwanted emotions we throw in there. Ours can be an obscure, muddy, discontented mind, full of all the emotional junk we have been hoarding. And many of these thoughts are petty, useless and negative. We are, in effect, dumping rubbish into the mind-bin.
But from rubbish emanates an unpleasant odor. For us, that comes as stress. Nutrients are rushed through various parts of the body, the heart is pumping faster, the lungs work harder and the body temperature rises. To cool down, the body produces sweat. The more we sweat the more body odor is emitted.
The mind lives with you 24 hours a day. When the body rests, the mind doesn't sleep: it carries on weaving dreams and nightmares - so scary that you are woken up, startled and sweating. You are, in effect, sleeping with the enemy! If you feel a lack of happiness or energy, it's time you spring-cleaned the negativity out of your mind! One way to do this is through mindfulness meditation.
When the mind is still, you will be able to see what lies beneath - what lies beneath the back of your mind. This sometimes happens during meditation. People often wonder why, instead of obtaining peace of mind, these thoughts or feelings from the past seem to spring up during meditation and disturb them, rendering them unable to carry on. However, these memories can be used effectively as an object of meditation so that one can learn from them and understand them for what they truly are, allowing the mind to let go of them.
When you practise mindfulness meditation, you bring awareness to the sensations of what you are doing, thinking, feeling, seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, sensing. You realise, for example, that a feeling is arising, that it continues for a little while and that it falls away of its own accord. It is, after all, a passing sensation! Nothing more! Like all things in nature, feelings, thoughts and memories will pass if we don't cling to them, dwell on them and let them live on through not understanding our own mind.
Deal with the rubbish in your mind now before it gets out of control. No horror film can haunt you or play havoc with your physical and mental health as much as what lies beneath, in your own mind-bin!