Our mind can operate in two ways – with a narrative focus or with an experiencial focus. Our habitual mode of operation is with the narrative focus – meaning that we are constantly telling ourselves stories ABOUT what we are currently experiencing. We are barely aware of what we are actually experiencing in the moment, being instead preoccupied with the story about it. We are not living our life, we are living in a confused story ABOUT our life.
The narrative focus works as an uninterrupted stream of thoughts, which bears almost no relation to concentrated, focused thinking. It consists of endless repetitions, daydreams, indistinct wishes and fears, fragments, half sentences, memories, strange murmurs and other such mental rubbish. This narrative of mental rubbish has far more power over us than we acknowledge – it produces our self image, our “ego”, a thought construction which actually does not correspond to reality.
This “ego” knows exactly that it is an extremely fragile thought construction, liable to break apart at any moment. For this reason it is fearful – fearful of collapse, fearful of being dismantled by reality. That is the reason why we often feel fear, without knowing what we are actually afraid of. The fear is a malaise arising from an insane thought form within us, a malaise that we mistakenly take as being part of ourselves. It is a tragic fallacy, from which many never find their way out of in their lifetimes.
There is one, and exactly one, way out: The experience based focus, which offers a direct access to reality. Mindfulness, and walking in mindfulness as an example, is the key. In this way we recognize the reality behind the thoughts. We recognize the world, and life itself in its beauty and wonderful possibilities. All the latent fear appears all of the sudden as sick and unnecessary. That is the path. That is the path away from the insanity of the ego within us and towards reality, towards being, towards life. At the beginning, this path always requires a bit of effort from us, since the ego (the uncontrolled thoughts within us) does not want to be dismantled and struggles – as always using thoughts – against this way out, against awareness, against reality. Once we start down this path, however, it becomes a true pleasure, a deep joy, an indispensable part of our day, compared with which all other seems grey and helpless.
Hence – start down this path. If you are already on the path, walk down it more often, and with greater determination. It is a path of joy – what can speak against it?