As Miley Cyrus crooned on Saturday Night Live last weekend, “I wake up in a bad mood.” Every morning, I wake up with thoughts that trouble me and scare me. They set the wrong tone for my day, and it takes me awhile to redirect my thoughts and to become focused and productive.
In popular music, artists often refer to their dark thoughts and mental health issues as “monsters” or “demons.”
“Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide.”
Demons, Imagine Dragons
“A monster, a monster,
I’ve turned into a monster,
A monster, a monster,
And it keeps getting stronger.”
Monster, Imagine Dragons
Many cultures of antiquity believed that mental maladies were literally caused by demons. They thought that the sufferers were possessed, and were treated through prayers and exorcisms. (For an interesting article on this topic, go to Psychology Today.)
If all it took to make the thoughts go away was an exorcism, believe me, I would go for it in a heartbeat. But nothing is that easy.
A few mornings ago, somehow, in my sleepy state, I was able to remember a basic tenet of mindfulness. As I’ve read in The Untethered Soul, “you are not the voice of the mind– you are the one who hears it.” Don’t become attached to your thoughts- let them go by, like clouds being guided across the sky by a gentle breeze. So I used that image- my thoughts were clouds. Some were white and pure. Some were a dreary gray. Some were as black as soot. (Those were the “bad” thoughts.) But, they were all together, in the same sky, and they came and went at the same rate. I was able to let them go.
This was able to relax me.
I’ve only read 20 pages of The Untethered Soul, but it is clearly making a positive impact on me already. This book was sent to me last month when I won a contest. I think maybe it came to me at the right time.