The mind is an often overlooked part of the self that is difficult to love. While it may be quite possible to love someone for their brains, to love someone for his or her mind is a different thing entirely. Intellectual prowess, fierce conversational skills and book smarts are notably different than the complex and confounding mysteries of the mind. We can love our faces, our bodies or our sense of humor but, to love the mind is a different concept altogether. Our minds are at times regarded as our own worst enemy; a fertile battle ground whereby we are both villain and victim.
The mind can be our own worst enemy by which we second-guess ourselves, we doubt, we fall prey to self-victimization and fear. We allow ourselves to cycle in negative thought processes; ruminating on the past and weighing all possible (future) outcomes in an effort to prevent anticipated pain. Our minds “play tricks” on us and, more often than not, what we perceive to be an accurate representation of reality is really nothing more than an illusion. In an attempt to make sense of the nonsensical and rationalize the seemingly irrational, we allow our minds to war with the innermost desires of our hearts.
In Buddhism, the mind is likened to a monkey; a creature that is notoriously fickle and difficult to tame. Focusing efforts to tame the monkey mind may be misguided, however. When you are unable to fully step outside your self to investigate and explore inner workings of your mind, rather than seek to tame the monkey mind; examine it. Seeking gives the impression that you are chasing after something. What you chase after evades you and you will be in a stage of endless pursuit. Instead of becoming thought-wranglers, what we must do is learn the way of the monkey mind by climbing into our own heads to figure out how it works. Follow your own thought processes, evaluate your misperceptions and (false) negative beliefs. Learn the ways of your mind and transcend beyond the fickleness and superficiality that prevents true introspection, hence, true connection and communion with others. In matters of the heart, your mind is your own worst enemy.
We have set up barriers in the corridors of our minds that overpower the desires of our hearts. We are inundated with mixed messages to ‘keep a level head‘, that we should ‘weigh our options‘ yet, somehow, still we are to ‘always follow the heart’ . It should be no surprise, then, that the manner in which we conduct ourselves in relationship to one another when our heads and our hearts are at war is a complicated dance of conscious and subconscious attempts to exert control and manipulate as we each try to get our needs met. When we don’t slow down to assess and openly discuss the truth in our hearts or the battle of wits going on in our heads, we don’t offer one another the chance to truly connect, to truly be accepted for who we are.
Renouncing your old perceptions and starting over is the only choice you have to achieve the relationships you desire. The belief that the outer world or, worse yet, that your own inner world has power over you is holding you back. You must change your reality to what you want it to be. When we express feelings for someone, we are revealing to them our perception of the relationship but the relationship becomes a reality only when both parties agree on the same perception. Every perception gives rise to a world that mirrors it. As human beings, we are so busy doing life that we miss opportunities to really connect and engage in meaningful interaction with one another. We allow ourselves to fall prey to the illusory game of cat and mouse, chasing one another and losing sight of what should be a common goal; to learn, grow and discover something new about ourselves with another on a profound level.
In matters of the heart, don’t second-guess yourself. Love isn’t rational but instinctive. Don’t rationalize your way out of connecting with someone. Always follow your heart. As for the rest of the details…things have a way of working themselves out.