By Justin Cude
Many times in our lives we are the only one’s keeping our story or our narrative alive, through the internal dialogue we choose to let run in continuum, many times allowing it the autonomy to remain on repeat; stop this, unless of course you remain entertained by the story you partake. Become more aware if you don’t.
This can be hard. This is hard. But, it doesn’t always have to be.
Lately in many ways I haven’t been entertained, but I will admit, in a few I have, but that’s not what this is about. Walking down the street today after grabbing an unusually timed coffee to sip on, I caught myself, well, thinking.
Catching yourself thinking can be an enlightening moment, and today it was for me. I realized today, as I have realized before, but have failed yet, until now, to write on it, that by catching yourself thinking you are grabbing a moment of complete awareness of you and of your long running, usually tumbling, narrative you have playing within. And it hit me. In the moment, surrounded by so many unfamiliar faces, embedded within a place becoming more familiar by the day, I alone am the only one aware of my own internal narrative, and I don’t necessarily know how or what to think or to feel about that, which is probably the reason why I’ve chosen to write on it. I want to see where this thought takes me.
Lately I’ve been in my head a lot, and not in the most productive or endearing of ways. Though I have understood where my mind has been of late, I admittedly have not been able to make much sense of it, finding myself overwhelmed by an unorganized clutter. Even as I write this I feel there to be no point or direction, no ending to this thought, no clarity to its muffled presence. I don’t know where this will end, but I will continue to try to write anyhow.
With this I have felt lonely lately. Alone. Not in the physical sense, because I am surrounded by people everyday; ones who love me, strangers who quickly becomes friends, apart of a group even, working towards something that the collective gathering has deemed as worthy. To me it hasn’t been lately and I don’t know why. I just feel here, somewhere on the planet, with no grounded sense of place, no anchored sense of self. Yeah, that’s what it feels like. I’m here, I know that and I see it, but lately I have not felt it and I have not understood why. The only part of me lately that feels any type of anything is my mind, my thoughts, my internal narrative which I feel I have little control of. It hasn’t been running wild, though at times it has slipped away. No, it’s very much so been here, steady even, though too heavy to pick up, too frivolous to grasp, it’s been here and I am caught in audience of its oration.
I started writing this piece almost a year ago to-date. Having just recently revisited it, I am approaching it with a different perspective from which the life that has been had since its commence has cast its influence and provided more of itself.
The internal narrative is powerful. It’s with whom most of our conversing is had. Where ideas are honed and thought through, and where the thinking of what our lives are, at any moment, occurs. That’s the big one. The thinking of what our lives are, at any moment, occurs in the internal narrative we carry with us, and that influences our lives a great deal.
Throughout our waking moments, of any given day, the internal narrative is playing. And, usually we allow this to occur without our influence. We just let it play and we find ourselves lost within its rolling. If its words are sad, we are sad. If its words are joyful, we find our selves joyful the same. If they are lost, we can’t find ours either. And if they are directed, we focus on their point. Whether this is good or bad, I truly do not know. But, if the question is asked whether or not we have influence on this, the answer most definitely is yes, if only we practice such awareness, of ourselves, of the narrative, and of the relationship between the two.
Awareness is not concentration. We do not have to focus solely on either participant of the relationship (the narrative or ourselves). Rather, we simply must be aware of the relationship between the two, the conversation they are attempting to have, and the influence both have over the other. Neither is in complete control of the other, and I don’t believe we should allow it strive for this to be so. That may seem frightening, given that we like to think we are in control of our mind, or equally as frightening to think that our mind may be in complete control of us, but the relationship is one more of involvement rather than of control. Like any strong and meaningful relationship, this is one too built upon communication.
View the narrative as open space for dialogue. Interact with the words of the narrative and communicate back with your own. If they align at moments, allow them their connection. If they don’t, given no mind to it. Give space and they will find each other again. Both will always be there. They are able to coexist in harmony or in disagreement, and they will. Nether is the end of the other. It’s a relationship to be maintained. A dance, sometimes a fight, to be had. And, simply, it’s the most meaningful conversation you could have. The catalyst for every other relationship within your world. Acknowledgment of this dialogue, awareness of its exchange, becoming apart of it rather than an a sufferer to either, ends the horrific monologue it can unrequitedly and unrelentingly become.
“You are always a slave to what you’re not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. It’s there, but you’re not affected by it. You’re not controlled by it; you’re not enslaved by it. That’s the difference.” — Anthony De Mello, Awareness