There was a marathon of Forensic Files on and I couldn’t stop watching. Probably 5-6 episodes. It was around 5am when I forced myself to turn off the TV and turn over in bed to confront my brand new paranoia that someone was going to break in through the sliding door, or was hiding in the room and watching me. There was a heavy darkness that wasn’t there just hours before. I began to question if I really truly knew the psychology of friends, neighbors…the man I slept beside, and even myself. Who can be trusted? Are we ever safe? I began to think very darkly of the world.
But I knew it was all in my mind and I was layering dark filters over reality.
I was lying in fluffy a warm bed at a 4-star Disney resort hotel. The sun was probably coming up soon. There was a manicured lawn outside lined with pink flowers. I was at Disney World, mentally cowering. Why? Nothing felt awful before I watched TV.
The mind goes places and takes me with it. It’s ok, everything is ok. Just tame it. Just calm it down, take it back down to reality, remove those dark lenses. Look at what’s here. Here’s a moment. Here’s another moment. Here’s some light peaking through the curtains, shining off the silhouette of Mickey Mouse’s head on the base of the lamp.
Watching scary things are an amazing example of how the mind can color our reality and steal joy from otherwise perfectly fine moments. If these things — which we know are just contained within a screen — have the power to steer our minds so much in one direction, it’s no wonder that we are so easily influenced by things that happen to us in real life.
Someone yells at me from a car as I’m trying to cross the street, and suddenly for hours after, the world seems like it’s full of rude people and I feel dismayed. But it’s still the same day I was having earlier, when all seemed well and right.
Put it into a beautiful practice. Mind where I put my focus.
Just a dude making a noise in a car. Just someone passing through my day.
Just a show about stuff gone wrong. Just a story with images.
Look at what’s in front of me, physically here. Is there anything truly wrong at this moment?
What is good at this exact moment?
My keyboard glows a pretty purple backlit hue. The heater is on and I am warm. I have a bottle of water.
Breathe into the moment and feel what’s good about this second, and then the next.
Take it moment by moment and find what’s already just fine.
Everything is just passing before us.
I can’t control what will happen, but I can practice minding my focus. Each happy moment is just a practice of focusing. It’s making a choice of where to put my mind. If my life’s purpose is to be happy and live in hope, that’s a clear focus to choose.