Fixing the top four fixations
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on September 23, 2014. Posted with permission.
How much time do you spend thinking about the top four BS fixations?
What am I going to eat? I’m cold (hot). What do people think of me? This is what I should have said!
How can minutiae steal so much energy?
According to the Vedanta, there are three kinds of minds. The restless mind is the most self-absorbed and is only concerned with satisfying selfish, immediate needs. If you have a restless mind, the interests of other beings do not register. You talk on your cell phone in the library. You tell people to get out of your way. You unload 30 items on the supermarket express lane. You tailgate.
Given that the world is not structured to serve your needs alone, you live in perpetual frustration and antagonize others while they antagonize you. The restless mind is the one most likely to fixate.
The imperfect mind is more stable than the restless one because the interests of others are on the radar. However, if you have an imperfect mind, you have triggers. A single incident can ignite agitation that lasts for minutes, hours or even months.
The perfect mind is not agitated. If you have a perfect mind, it is not possible for anyone to derail your serenity. You are aware of disturbances in the outside world, but you note them with detachment and intellect. The world is powerless to agitate you. Your only concern is fulfilling your selfless purpose.
Needless to say, a perfect mind is rare. But remembering that it exists can be useful. Use your fixations to practice your yoga, to examine the perfect mind and to Know Thyself.
What you’re going to eat.
What’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner? You define your entire day and life around where you are going to eat, when you are going to eat (because you have to eat) and with whom. You can shop every day at your local organic market and go to your favorite restaurant whenever you want. You eat whatever you want and with people you love.
And nothing has changed.
A perfect mind is not consumed with the scheduling of consuming. To begin taming this fixation, try this meditation: Eat the same thing for lunch every day for a week. And eat alone. Slowly.
Immediate physical comfort.
This is the category that throws the restless mind into spasms. They are the people shoving their feet between the airline seats in front of them because they are dissatisfied with their legroom. They demand that the room temperature be adjusted to their specifications. If they have headaches, life ceases and everyone knows why.
A perfect mind notes discomfort, detaches and celebrates the opportunity for practice.
To begin taming this fixation, try this meditation: Sit on the floor in the middle of the room in a comfortable cross-legged position. It will become uncomfortable. Set the timer for 30 minutes and breathe. Be still, and be quiet.
This fixation has a broad spectrum. It includes standing in front of the closet, deliberating over the day’s outfit; primping, plastic surgery and staring in the mirror; working out for hours; crafting the perfect Facebook profile while stalking others; snapping endless selfies; censoring yourself and when you do speak up, seeking endless feedback: “How was I?”
The opinions of others matter so damn much that a single dirty look or criticism sparks a tailspin or rage.
To begin taming this fixation, try this meditation: Wear the same outfit every day for a week.
The French have an expression for this, “The Wit of the Staircase.” You finally figure out that perfect comeback to that co-worker’s annoying comment, but it’s too late. So, while driving, lying in bed or jogging, you repeat it over and over.
The people who rehash, or even rehearse, are not living in the present and have lost confidence in their abilities to exist in the moment. The past no longer exists and the future is a dream. The present opportunities are lost.
To begin taming this fixation, try this meditation: When you begin rehashing, press your lips together. Remember that the perfect mind is consumed with only three questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing?
Say these questions aloud and permit your mind to ponder and return to purpose. Practice.