Have you ever reached to take off your hat, only to find you’d removed it earlier? More poignantly, have you ever reached for the phone to dial a friend with a special story, then remember she had died a year ago?
Preparing dinner, my wife and I review our days. She relates a phone conversation with a client who was so abusive that she began to cry. Hours after the fact, I get so mad that I’m jabbing my finger in the air, raising my voice, ready to go find the guy and give him the business. I’m getting vegetables out of the refrigerator. I jump up, fuming, ready to nail the . . . .
Bam! I actually gash my head on an open cabinet door! Amazing! He got me first ‑ and he isn’t even in the room! My emotion has so disconnected me from the real world (the kitchen, with its open cabinet door), that I almost need stitches in my scalp! Don’t you love that? My interior world has masqueraded so persuasively that I’ve reacted to my imagination as though it was the outer world. I’m dreaming, but I’m wide‑awake! (Well, maybe not awake at all!) I may not actually be delusional, but it comes pretty close.
The Tale Wagged
My “monkey brain” (a popular nickname for the amygdala) sometimes runs my whole show. My “ghosts” can be so convincing that calling them “real” almost makes sense.
It’s liberating to see that they’re mere thoughts, no matter how strong may be the emotions attached to a thought. It’s very beneficial to stop believing that They Are Me.
They are not. They are mental events. They’re like squalls out on the lake. I am learning how to haul in my sails.