The computer of our mind sometimes finds itself busy solving self-invented problems. If no satisfactory solution can be found, it may spiral into loops of anxiety, anger, palpable agitation. Create an emotional background that may eventually wake up a sore spot, make mountains out of molehills, and take no hostages…
First signs: “muddy waters”
At first, we notice restless thoughts accompanied by internal “fuzziness”, tightness, minor tension. If we cannot easily stop the stream, bring back internal clarity, lightness, focus on the task at hand, — the dependency on consciousness, its processes, or artifacts may be the cause.
Such moderate mind-wandering has not yet triggered a stronger emotion. Our consciousness is merely clinging to an object that appeared on our internal “screen”.
We hold the reins
WE govern. Even if the topic our mind is clinging to seems important, but it is neither the time nor place for it — we can tackle our dependency on this process. There is no viable reason to support it other than a habit we can change if we choose to.
Tackling dependency on consciousness and its phenomena
1. Notice/become aware, name
We can work with it if we can see it. Initially, our mindfulness reach barely scratches the surface. However, as we start investigating, processing the state, reducing its influence on us, both clarity and depth improve. We label the state, find a fitting reference, name it. So that we can specifically address it now and easily notice in the future.
We can use “dependency on consciousness” or any other term, our personal best fit to pinpoint this experience.
If it’s been a while, renew a theoretical understanding of what consciousness is. Remind ourselves about its utility: simple day-to-day functions as a sensory perception and processing instrument. Basically, a computer, “the internal screen with a ruler, a calculator, and a memory stick.”
We operate this instrument, not vice versa. We can free ourselves from dependency on its operational outcomes, clinging to thought loops, getting stuck in baseless worrying, etc.
If we maintain a notion of a mind as a black box and us as mere puppets, it will be naive to expect it to change.
3. Train the mind
Accept the fact and practice the chosen understanding, make it work. Make a theory functional: adopt desired relationships with our mind and its processes. We persuade ourselves not to get carried away by the next uncontrolled train of thought. Reduce our dependency on topics that may provoke and support such clinging. Like internal causes of specific fears, excessive control, obsolete reactions, etc. Obtain a personal roadmap of restoring clarity, balance, focus. Repetitively nurture the new habit until it becomes embodied.
One of the practices that help develop non-engagement with arising thoughts and other internal phenomena is mindfulness meditation.
The tangible result we obtain is our uncontrolled mental activity loses the “uncontrolled” component. We are able to fully extinguish such residual activity just by noticing it. Until it stops arising at all: we fully replace it with consistent awareness and desired focus.