Inside us lies a world of secrets. Secrets we share with one or two trusted people, and secrets we never ever tell a soul. There are secrets we won’t even share with ourselves.
I am learning the wonders of Mindfulness. What it asks of me, this Mindfulness thingy is that I pause long enough to notice my responses to any stimulation, any event, any person, any words aimed at me, and so on. For instance, if you say to me something like ‘ I wish you wouldn’t always kick my donkey when you walk through his field’ I might respond angrily, especially if it wisnae me in the first place, but just some woman who bought the same red jacket last Autumn. If I did kick the donkey, then I might respond defensively, maintaining that the donkey is bad tempered and sly, watching out for me crossing his field and making sure he whaps my shin when you’re not looking.
In both these cases I am holding a secret. The first one will be that I think you are a stupid smug donkey-owner and I never liked, nor trusted you one tiny bit. You are a gossip and probably spreading no end of rumours about me down at the shop. I don’t tell you this, of course but hold this secret within my soft interior, a secret that rises like bile in my gut every time I have the misfortune to meet you in the road.
The second one could be that I do sneak about kicking donkeys, even if they do mind their own business and are astonished any time my boot makes contact.
I appreciate that the above example is a tad silly, and I would also like to state, for the record, that I have never kicked anyone’s donkey, even though anyone’s donkey most certainly has kicked me. But that’s another blog, another time.
My thoughts, my private thoughts are my secrets. I like them, but there are times when I must allow them to fly away because holding onto them will harm me.
Anger and resentment for example will make me ill, or, at the very least, bring me lower back pain and plooks. Oh I know, absolutely know that people who say anger is a bad thing have never been angry enough. Fear of anger, my own or just anger in general gives the powerful emotion very bad press, and quite wrongly so. Anger is an energy, creating adrenalin and heightened strength, and, mindfully employed, can achieve remarkable good things – lashing out with sharpened weaponry not being one of them. If I can accept and be thankful for this surge of anger and think about why I felt it so strongly when all you did was break my favourite coffee mug, I will eventually be able to understand the root of it all. In the current climate, someone will probably tell me it’s all my mother’s fault, but I must look beyond her. Although she is a convenient soft landing for the punch of blame, she won’t be the whole reason I can promise you that.
My over response to unkind words, or of being abandoned, rejected, accused or blamed will have its roots in childhood. Could be at home, at school, anywhere in the playround of youth. Often, the lineage of those roots is untraceable back to source. So what? Mindfully I can accept this and move on, but not move on and hold onto them. I must move on and let them go. I don’t need them, they weigh me down and make me secretly kick donkeys and over-react to broken mugs. I know I don’t like unkind words, but I also know that you may not have meant them they way I heard them. I know I don’t like the accusing gossip in you, but you very probably don’t like much in me either and, as we don’t have to meet, let’s not. I don’t want to be rejected or dissed or ignored or abandoned, but life is going to throw all of them my way at some point. If I am mindful of my response to any of these as they cross my path, I am going to hear my own secrets. Instead of pretending that it is all ok and that I don’t hurt at all, I will be able to honestly allow anger to rise against the pain and deal with it all by myself. I won’t need to snap at anyone, or kick a donkey. Then, when you break my replacement, replacement, replacement coffee cup I will be able to say (and mean it) that it doesn’t matter one jot because it’s only a cup, and can be replaced (providing there are any left), whereas you are irreplaceable.