Is “catastrophising” a common phenomenon? Do lots of people do it?
If you have a wild horse secure in a stable and you open the door what happens to the horse? It bolts off down the paddock and then it is very difficult to get a calmed down wild horse back into the stable. There is no point shutting the stable door it is too late for that. One would have to spend a lot of time and effort to coral the horse and get it safely back into the stable. One might have to use ruses and tricks to re-capture the horse.
This is a metaphor for the catastrophising mind, once you have started to catastrophise mind pisses off down the paddock quicker than Usain Bolt and all calmness is lost. One lurches from terrifying conclusion to the next getting ever more fear full and anxious. Mind jumps from A past Z until it is halfway down the add symbol menu and well into the Cyrillic section.
I’ll wager that over the last year or so many more have catastrophised that they will die of Covid-19 hooked up to a ventilator than have actually done so. Someone coughing across the aisle in the supermarket is obviously the direct precursor to instant infection and prolonged painful death.
The trick with catastrophising mind is not to open the door, so to speak. The moment you open the door more than a smidgeon the wild horse will bolt. By all means takes a quick peak at the future but don’t fully open the door. Do not conclude that your worst fears will manifest immediately.
Some people, I guess, actually enjoy catastrophising because it gives them an excuse not to do anything.
Once catastrophising has set in scaling is very difficult to bring about. This is where the simple just like this can be very helpful.
One can use bizarre questions to help scale:
Are you likely to experience full on gang rape as a part of organised ethnic cleansing in the next 24 hours?
Is a 400-year-old European vampire going to drain you of 80% of your blood tonight?
Is that freckle on your thumb actually stage four skin cancer?
Nah, I don’t really think so..
Is it possible Donald Trump might get re-elected?
Yeah, it is possible.
If you are wrong and lose the argument, will a vortex open up in space-time and suck the entire galaxy through it into another dimension?
Seems a tad unlikely.
If someone disagrees with you does that mean that they hate you and will do so until the end of the Kalpa?
No, I guess not.
Are you overreacting?
Maybe you might be a bit more proportionate?
Yes, I guess but what if the werewolf comes to eat my gizzards?
That is unlikely. Where do live?
On the seventh floor in a secure flat in central London.
What is the data concerning werewolf density in your neighbourhood?
There isn’t any…
Why do you suppose that is?
Because they can’t afford to live in Chelsea.
You do know that your nail will grow back, don’t you?
I suppose so….
On the other bank
out of reach
Not a finger
for the bitter
The ambitious debris
slate black scree
on the mountainside
The fitting seizure
of a moment passed
a crushed portcullis
Not an ounce
to the eyes
And that egret
Or coals of passion
As a feather
Sailing a tendril breeze
Past all the senses
Somehow so close
A wafting memory
Before the dawn of birth
A fuzzy peach
On the hackles,
A mystic dew
Unhurried and free
No price, no condition
The fabric through
And, without curtains
Yet Marianas strong
Pulls the hidden umbilical
A tug of war
The timorous heart
Knows, it knows
That certain mind
Runs for the hills
Raw fresh nectar
To call it
A Soular yearning
And an ache
Leaves his raindrops
Perfect earth she catches
This fragile love
Beyond the known
And now, home
“You must recapitulate your entire life right from this moment all the way back to the instant of your birth. Otherwise, you will forever remain a clown re-enacting your folly.”
This is paraphrase of one of the key Toltec Aphorisms.
Here is my summary recapitulation map which was drawn from similar maps prepared for each year of my life.
Life can also be presented as a learning journey. My whole life began to pivot in 1995-6 around my crisis point.
I found drawing the map with key life events placed in chronological order helped me get my head round my life. To make sense of it and then to stop trying to make sense, stop making sense.
I’ll make a wager that most people have some unresolved issues, which continue to bug them from time to time and as a consequence they have a button. Say one has resentment about a given situation and from time-to-time festers on it. All someone has to do is press this button, even by accident, and off one trots into rage and disproportionate emotive behaviour. This is because one has not been able to resolve a certain “thing” and even when one revisits it there is a tendency to indulge rather than face up to one’s own role in a situation. People blame more readily than accept their part. Until one can gain a measure of objectivity about what has transpired there will always be a button. That button could cause mild anger or metaphorical nuclear attack.
There are other versions including melancholy etc..
One can make mind-maps as a method of self-analysis.
Any button, any unresolved issue is a marker of work still to be done, which may / may not be of karmic nature. Rather than avoid them and pretend they are not there it is best to approach these buttons and try to figure out why there is a button, or a hang up. This requires above all honesty but also courage.
I heard once enlightenment loosely defined as having no hang-ups. In other words, no karma to work on.
Have you got unresolved issues?
If so, are you going to try to resolve them?
Rational thinking, in other words, ratioing one thing against another is considered sensible in some circles. It can be called reasonable. It is a basis of modern scientific thinking, where one compares hypothesis against experimental data, it is however also reductionist. We are encouraged to weigh things up, to compare one set of data against another. There is a whole bunch of this going on at the moment. For some bizarre reason people are comparing national COVID-19 responses, playing a game of who is better.
In school we are taught to compare things, even in literature. We are ranked according to grade averages. Schools which get their students through exams with a higher grade average are considered better than. Universities who do well in research excellence frameworks are better than, whilst others are worse than. People may even be prettier than or fatter than, uglier than or size zero. Someone might have a nicer more expensive car. This whole notion of comparison is in many cases a rod for our own backs. A rod of judgement, a rod with which we judge our own success and failure. A rod which on occasion we beat ourselves up with.
Comparison mind has permeated out of the theatre of appropriate use and into a mainstream. It is so widespread, and I’ll wager that it does not bring happiness, peace and acceptance. Because of this abomination the word enough can never be sated. It, comparison, is a part of the gross illusion on the mental plane. People devote and inordinate amount of time to comparing. Who has the nicest arse, the biggest cock, the most plastic surgery? It is more than a little bizarre.
I sometimes refer to comparison mind as top trumps thinking. People look to have one metric with which they can somehow be better than someone else. If you so wish you might even be so bizarre as to call it a unique selling point an USP.
My hypothesis is this:
Comparison Mind is a Root Cause of Suffering
How much time do you spend / waste in comparison?
See I have asked you compare how much time you waste comparing, it is fucking groundhog mind!!
Love and hate are not so very far apart…
Not now, not ever
Nor through gritted teeth
Clenched harder than titanium nails
I won’t grimace it out
Not even were he
The very last man on earth
He won’t get the satisfaction
Nor merest glimmer
Of the damn I do not give
I’ll batten down the hatches
Deaden that swelling ache
And suffocate any rebellious word
He will not see a trace of me
Behind the lace curtain
No spoor, nothing, nada
This secret and I shall die
Together, silent, unspoken
I’ll stich my lips so tight, binding
Not now, not ever…
We human beings can imagine that we understand where someone else is coming from, be convinced we know their motives and then find it difficult not to opine thereupon.
On the wind,
Carried by the wings of perception,
The words of another,
Telling of how you feel.
Convinced and convicted in the beginning.
Tenuous and stretching,
Well meaning but wrong,
Painting themselves in impressionist points.
The message and the shield,
To massage and deflect,
Holding that point in sea of the floating things.
Formed in the rust of trust,
Sewn into the fledgling in the nest,
And rewarded by the worm of the early bird.
The clamour of the glamour of it all.
Life is too short to be right.
Dressed in dead-letter logic,
And the twelve-bar blues of again and again,
The so-called facts question.
But hidden beneath and,
In different clothes,
The sound echoes an empty tone, going through the motions.
Under the carpet,
Where all the fears lie,
Are brushed the fragile bones that hold the tissue intact.
The cabbage patch dolls,
Huddle to write their play, to have their say,
Performing to conform and looking at their cake.
Consent and compromise,
Coerce and corrupt, rob the spirit,
And drive the man from the parapet.
The courage of silence is not.
Life is too short to be rite.
In the clay cup he puts the Tea,
Pours water and takes the brush,
Deftly he stirs.
In the swirled of the floating things,
Searching inside for:
The meaning of it.
The raft of bubbles breaks,
And foams in the Maya of it all,
Yet another storm in a teacup?
Words like tiny purses,
Score double top, as sharply,
As the dart players take chalk in hand.
Five hundred and one,
Itches under his skin like mosquito bites,
On a summer’s night.
He never liked the Joneses anyway,
Their white picket fence and pet crocodile,
Were Saatchi and Saatchi.
The salt of the Ganges is ours.
Life is too short not to write.
What is a truth,
And how does it taste?
Clear on the palate and fresh on the tongue.
Far from the pre-packed and processed,
Wrapped in cling film
And sold at Sainsbury’s on Saturdays.
Personal and specific,
Not agreed by committee,
A feeling of feelings and a knowing of knowledge.
No less than a flame,
Kindled inside and singular,
An island in the floating things.
Seen in a dream as in the dream,
Watched in the circus,
Without puppeteers’ strings.
There is more to life than process,
Immeasurable and imprecise,
No key performance indicators here.
The air that we breathe is free.
Life is too short not to read.
The pages of Kells,
Illuminated with love
And decorated with care on the journey of the Dove.
Set free from the Ark,
The un-caged bird in search of the olive branch,
Comes back in sea of floating things.
Soaring in gentleness,
White with vulnerable beauty,
To tell of its travels and share of its fare.
The memory of before,
And the sense of the divine in each,
And the eyes of a child, awestruck and in awe.
The warnings are there,
The cloying sterility of the Vulcan mind
Overpowers the beating passion of the heart.
I re-member Martin,
And the Christ in each of us.
I have a dream and it dreams me now.
Brave heart be strong and beat on.
Life is too short not to see red.