The Mind Trap

Here I am sitting standing, doing, not doing, trying to relax, thinking about all sorts of things, trying not to think about many others, and I am tied up in knots.  I am frightened, angry, confused, and helpless.

What happened?

Only the thinking mind can produce that sort of chaos out of nothing. Of course my mind objects. “What do you mean ‘about nothing’?” What about what about what you did; what about what your mother said; what about your bank account” My mind will never stop.

 There are many situations in life that deserve my attention and my action, but how few, if any, of the dire consequences created by my mind have ever come about? (I am reminded of Mark Twain saying, “I am an old man, and I have many problems, but most of them have never happened.”)

 How much of my vital energy is burnt away through fear and worry?





For much of my life, including now, I have attempted to battle the mind with the mind. I have attempted to use the mind that has created this upheaval to simultaneously quell it. Gasoline on a fire, pouring water on a drowning man, or as Alan Watts put it, “Trying to bite my own teeth.”

The solution? Surrender, acceptance and moving my focus to God, Spirit, what I know is true even if I do not feel it at the moment. Stop trying to figure it all out. Even if you had it all neatly wrapped up and stowed away in a nice compact intellectual compartment, the problem would still be there.

Recovery literature offers this bit of wisdom, “Pause when agitated.”

Stop what you are doing, put a halt to your thinking. Breathe deeply a few times; remind yourself of the presence of God and Spirit, say the Serenity prayer and allow yourself back in the flow.

These solutions will need to be practiced over and over, and the thinking mind will claim they are too simplistic.

Only the mortal mind will label these practices as naive, your soul will know their wisdom.