The Cluttered Mind and Its Opinions on Life

The way the mind works, it often seems like commentators on a televised sporting event. The game is going on matter-of-factly. The commentators are in a room way above the event, giving their opinions and feelings on what is happening. In the same way, life goes on its way, while the mind has strong opinions and judgments on everything it observes about life. What ends up happening over time is the commentary becomes more important than what is actually going on. That becomes the normal way of being. We no longer question the over-involvement of the mind in our lives. We begin to value our opinions about what happens more than the actual experiences.

It's a hard habit to drop. We get used to the over-stimulation of the mind. We adapt to getting energy from the adrenalin this produces. This process exhausts us. The more tired we get, the louder the mind's opinions and judgments of life become. The louder they get, the more they become things to us. We get attached to the experience of them. They become clutter in essence because they are not serving us. They exhaust us and use up our essential energies. This makes us more addicted to the adrenalin opinion responses to life.

If you watch a sporting event for a couple of hours and you turn off the sound, you feel uncomfortable. You were used to seeing the game from the commentators' perspective. It's hard to see the events for what they are. You aren't used to seeing the events for themselves. It might even seem boring. "How could this be interesting in and of itself?" You could feel restless and want to turn the volume back up. You do. But now the commentators sound loud, opinionated, irritating, and there's a sense they are afraid to stop talking. A lot of the things they talk about are things they make up just to fill space. "Why would I need to know that?" They sound nervous. "Their uncomfortableness is making me feel edgy. It's distracting me from enjoying the game."

I felt this when I was a kid. I used to watch football games on TV with my dad. Then a few years later he began taking me to games. It was weird at first to not hear the incessant commentary. But then it felt relaxing to not have the verbal noise. There was the game. There wasn't anything to interfere with my experience of what I was seeing. I felt present with the event. There was the intensity of the play. Then there was the quiet space between plays. It was a nice combination of rest and activity.

I remember once seeing a guy who sat a row away from us. He brought a radio with him. He wore earphones and listened to the radio commentary of the game. I could hear the commentators' voices coming through. I recall him seeming more agitated than everyone else. Plus I could sense that he was less present than the people watching the game.

Noticing how involved we get with the mind's opinions, judgments and fantasies about life is valuable. The vitality of its insidiousness in our way of being is amazing. Awareness allows a separation to start to occur. We begin to notice life as it is, at the same time as the loud sounds of the mental commentary. It can be confusing. You might wish the commentaries to stop. But they've been on for a while, so there is momentum and it might take a little while for it to diminish. Meanwhile, you're not as much under their spell. They don't have the same kind of sway they used to have.

Awareness itself is the peace of mind. Being aware means there is a part of you that is quiet and notices the over-involvement of the mind. That's the peace of mind that begins taking over. That's your essential nature. Clutter covers it up. Today we are uncovering it so it begins to become familiar.