I was having a conversation with a few people the other day about the masks we put on for survival. Yes, we put them on for survival. In Buddhism we talk about seeing clearly or the truth of the experience. To practice this self reflection we have to look at the different masks we use to protect ourselves from actually seeing the truth of the experience. So often when triggered by something we put on our mask, it may be a mask of defensiveness, or anger, maybe manipulation, but either way it is a mask to help keep us safe from the threat we are now triggered by. When we see things clearly however we see that the mask is taking us away from the truth and not allowing us to see if the threat is really there. The mask takes us away from mindfulness and only allows us to see through one lens instead of different lenses. When feeling attacked we often get defensive, but was it really an attack or did we perceive what the other person said as an attack because of our mask of defensiveness? See, what I’m saying here?
I often take inventory of my masks, I have survived for years with different ones. The ones that say “I’m tough ill fight anyone” “leave me alone, I’m fine alone” “I don’t cry, things don’t bother me” “I’m fine, I’m focusing on the positive” “I don’t need anyone” “I can handle it I’ve been through worse” “You don’t deserve it” The masks we put on kept us safe so we could not be harmed by situations in the past, and now we keep reliving the same situations because we are putting our mask on as soon as we our triggered.
So often I say to myself “make friends with your mind”. The masks will never allow us to make friends with ourselves, they will continue to allow us to stay hidden and afraid forever.
So what would happen if you let your mask down? What masks do you use? What would happen if you looked at the experience from a different point of view?