MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR MIND
Last weekend I was reunited with my friend Peter after not seeing him for a year and a half. Peter is a fascinating man, who happens to be a masterful haircutter. Peter has been cutting my hair for many years. Peter is also deeply spiritual. In fact the reason I had not seen him was Peter took off from his successful career (he also had his own reality show) and spent the last eighteen months in an ashram in India.
He was always an odd combination of peaceful and a bit hyper. Now the hyper is gone and he seems totally at peace.
I asked him what was one of the biggest changes after his time in India. Along with not caring about stuff, learning to just follow the path set out and loads of other things, he said something that really stuck, it didn’t just stick, it hit me right in the third eye. It lassoed me into its simple common sense and the essential life lesson that I needed to hear and incorporate. It’s at the heart of gratitude and trust and if not followed it is what takes us off the trail
He said, “My mind has become my friend.” Just take a breath and calm the chatter in your brain and think about that a second. “My mind has become my friend.”
So much wisdom in those six words.
We all know that our mind is where everything starts, the good and the bad and the ugly. The ego has its headwaters in our mind. Greed, anger, fear, envy, lack of self-esteem, over-compensation, and impatience all hang out there. If they stayed there and then washed away it would be fine. But they have a tendency be the tour guide for our reactions, our mouths, and our addictions.
And the things we allow our minds to tell us we would probably never accept from a friend.
If a friend told you your processions defined you or the fact you had a cool car, lots of money made you a better person, that person would likely not be a friend for long. Yet, we accept this from our mind. Our hunger for more is our mind telling us we are not enough, that nothing is enough. It might start somewhere else, but it really takes root in the mind. So instead of saying “Hey mind, are you out of yours?” We accept this and go out and feed the monster our mind has created.
If a friend told you you would never get the job you really wanted or realize your dreams because you were either unworthy or didn’t have what it takes, you would hang up the phone and never speak to them again. But yet again, we somehow accept this dissing from our own minds and often, too often buy into it. We head off for that job interview thinking “We won’t get this, we aren’t up to it.” There are too many out there more qualified.” And then if we don’t get it, for what could be a million reasons having little to do with us, our mind says, see told you so. You’re jinxed. Your life will never work out.
Would you like it if a friend said you had a lot to be afraid of? That all the things you were fearful of had real meaning and would most likely come to pass? Would you storm out of the room if they insinuated such a thing?
Let’s say you were having a coffee with a friend and they looked over and told you you were unlovable. You might have parent issues, love life problems but you, the essence of you was unlovable and therefore you would always be rejected. Friend or foe?
“Something needs to change and it’s probably me” is still important. Often our behavior, usually our behavior is what sets us back, but most of the time it’s because we are listening and responding to the negative feedback coming from our thoughts.
What if like Peter we make our mind our friend? What if instead of letting our minds whisper “lack, lack, lack,” we say “Hey mind let’s hear it for gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.”
Why can’t we turn our minds into our best friends? Again, not the kind that blow smoke up our ass and tell us only what we want to hear, that is merely the mind stroking our ego. Good friends are honest, good friends are kind, good friends tell you gently and kindly when you might be screwing up. But they certainly don’t call you every morning with a laundry list of problems and fears to start your day with.
Good friends help us to stay on the path of right action. They calm us when we get upset or nervous they don’t create all sorts of scenarios to make us more agitated. Good friends pull us back from saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. They have perspective. They know when it’s time to let go. They see our world and our lives from a place removed, without an agenda.
Good friends are the ones who say, I know this moment might suck but look at all you have to be grateful for.
Not all of us can take off eighteen months and live in an ashram, but we can all stop and observe when our mind is causing trouble and being a bad friend. We can take the time to turn the rebel rouser into a peaceful, supportive part our lives – our best friend, instead of the birthplace of most of our problems.
If you live in the LA area or are passing through and want a great haircut Peter Ishkhans can be found at MECHE SALON