Taming the “houseguest” from hell
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on October 4, 2016
Imagine the houseguest from hell.
This person follows you room to room, pointing out your flaws, reminding you of every stupid thing you’ve ever done. Every time you try to accomplish anything, the houseguest throws a monkey wrench into your whole program by telling you all your efforts will come to naught, sabotaging you. Just policing this houseguest as he knocks over all your furniture drains your energy, your will and your spirit.
Of course you’d kick him into the street.
If you won’t entertain a poison pill in your house, why do you tolerate him in your head? An eviction is in order.
First step: Be a conscious being
How often do you lose awareness of your separateness, not only from life events but from your thoughts and your emotions?
Try the Movie Meditation: Next time you go to the movies, don’t get lost in the film, lying back in your seat, your mouth dropping open. This time, observe yourself experiencing the film. Notice the feel of the seat, the taste of the popcorn, the reactions of the other spectators, how you’re responding to the images on the screen. Notice your inner dialogue with the characters, how you’re anticipating the action, which emotions and thoughts the film triggers, how your mind wanders to your own stuff.
This time, do not become one with the movie. Retain your observer status. Conscious beings are aware of their consciousness.
You are not your thoughts
Your thoughts are the same as the external movie.
You’ve had the experience, often before bedtime, frequently when you’re trying to do work you love, when the voice in your head launches the attack.
Once you are conscious, you will see you and your sabotaging thoughts are not the same thing. The thoughts are unwelcome houseguests, open to expulsion any time.
Steps to evicting the houseguest:
- Name the saboteur.
Choose a name that doesn’t pack a personal wallop, and say, “You’re back, Ralph?”
2. Change the subject.
Instead of allowing Ralph to manipulate the conversation, shift to Ralph. Is he firebombing with memories of shame, failure or abandonment? And why now? What positivity is Ralph subverting?
3. Separate from your physical reaction.
Draw an outline of your body on a piece of paper. With a red colored pencil, shade the areas of your body responding to Ralph’s attack: upset stomach, headaches, tight shoulders.
Then, grab an eraser and slowly erase the red, exhaling all that no longer serves you.
4. Ask, “Who am I?”
You are not your past. You are not your failures. You are not your moments of shame. Ralph is a scamp, a trickster, a gremlin, and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“I am joy.”
“I am wisdom.”
“I am consciousness.”
Think before you think.