In the world we live in today there is no question that our minds are constantly being sent messages that aren’t ours. Drive down any road and you will see billboards, signs, commercials, all trying to put an idea of what you need into your brain. All these messages create an illusion that sends a message to the brain that says, “I need that, it looks so good, why do I not have that.” At times these thoughts will become overwhelming for some people who are battling certain mental health conditions it may even over take them and they won’t be able to control or stop the thoughts. I think most of us struggle with these messages.
Part of the problem here is that we look for things outside of us to comfort, heal, or give us an experience of pleasure. We tend to chase pleasure, for some even just shopping without buying creates a level of pleasure. We so often can’t sit with the uncomfortable feelings in the present moment that when our brain is already conditioned to look at these billboards, commercials, signs, we automatically go to these as options for fixing the unpleasant feelings. Sometimes we may notice we find fixation on these things as a way out of the uncomfortable moment.
In the world we live in where we are bombarded with advertisements it’s easy to get stuck in the cycle of fixation from one thing to the next. Even things that were supposed to bring us healing are now commercialized, look at yoga, meditation, mindfulness. They try to sell you rocks, candles, books, the list goes on. All with the idea that it will bring you back to yourself but really you are just continuing the cycle in a different way.
So how do we break this cycle, how can we teach ourselves to let these thoughts pass and not get so caught up in the escape of instant gratification and quick fixes?
First we have to become aware and practice self kindness. It’s okay to buy something that is helpful for you, but being aware of the time you spend searching for that thing and counting on it to “save” you is an issue.
We have to learn to go to the basics again, knowing your body and it’s basic needs, simplifying our needs. Asking ourselves questions about why we are fixated on a particular object or advertisement? Does my body really need this, does my brain really need this?
Use your meditation practice to calm the mind, start with focusing on your breathing, feel the belly move in and out, then notice the rise and fall of the chest. Slowly bring in the need to mind, what does my body really need in the moment to provide myself with healing?
Don’t be afraid, you have all you need inside. Don’t be fooled by the quick fixes. Continue to be kind to yourself.
May this help someone today.