How to get Off the Runaway Train Called Self

I lose my keys and in a flash my mind is saying to me: “How stupid and careless can you be! What will you do now. You will never find those keys. You are hopeless.” Would I deliberately think and say this to myself? What a terrible way to treat anyone. Our minds work so fast that instantly the present moment is referenced against the belief of who I believe I am with self-judgement and criticism of one’s action. I create a sense of self appropriate for this moment to compensate for my inadequate behavior. As soon as I am aware of my problematic self I identify with it and carry on with further amplification and proliferation of the story of self. This all happens beyond my conscious control of what is happening. This is the way our minds normally work. This instantaneous reaction may just be an attempt for survival purposes. How to prepare oneself for the possibility of a threat.

What is interesting about our minds is the subsequent presence of a gap. Our thinking mind naturally slows once it has initially judged and we become aware of the created self of the moment. There is time to consciously decide how we are going to be in relationship with the self. Does one carry on with further storytelling and judgment of the self or step into mindful discernment. Perhaps this reflects our minds attempt to pause and reflect on what our minds initially and instantaneously have created to be sure it is skillful.

As you become aware of the process of mindfulness and the presence of the pause, there is a greater potential for the gap to become more obvious, well-defined and prolonged. It is important to be aware of the pause and cultivate it. Step into the gap and get off the runaway train called self.

Step into the Gap

by Dr. Phil Blustein
March 6, 2023