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Who Is in the drivers seat? Your Mind or you?

As I was sitting in my comfy bed, drinking my morning coffee the author Anthony De’Mello took me by surprise when he asked the question have you ever thought maybe your anxiety isn’t actually yours?  After reading this line there was a long internal pause as if I was frozen in space and time, like my whole body was taking in this question.  Once the thaw began and the “does not compute” look disappeared from my face I thought holy s**t this guy might be onto something.  

In this part of the book Anthony De’Mello goes on to explain how from the time we are born we are starting to be programmed by our parents, family, culture, media, religion.  And in this programming we are learning what is “good”, “bad”, how to act, how to interact with friends, family, what is and isn’t appropriate, what a relationship looks like, belief systems, and this list goes on.  As I was pondering if my anxiety is actually mine, initially it was a little uncomfortable to feel like maybe I don’t really know who I am, maybe I have taken on the beliefs of others versus figuring life out for myself, maybe someone else is in the driver's seat?  

My take on this idea of being programmed is if we saw what our parents were stressed, anxious, fearful, scared, angry, or sad about certain events or situations our MIND began to take on those things.  And like a well oiled machine our MIND began its reign over us…I should be angry about X situation, I should react when someone says this, I should fear X, versus YOU actually deciding if these “things” you are having emotional responses to really matter and are worth having an emotional “stress” response over.  

The YOU I am talking about is the part of us that was pure, untouched when born into this world.  It was the YOU that was that adventurous little kid climbing trees before your grandma yelled at you out of her own fear and said that’s not safe, stop.  Your MIND may have heard it enough to then take that on as its new belief, so YOUR adventurous side may have gotten turned down a little.  

After reading this and feeling like Anthony De’Mello himself picked me up and shook me…he gave me a potential solution.  Basically he answered my question of soooo how do “I” become the one in the driver’s seat versus my MIND? And the answer was awareness.  Watch yourself like a scientist observing their experiment, no judgment, no interference, just watch.  I began applying this right away, seeing myself be/feel anger, sadness, frustration, aloneness, fear and when observing myself experience these things and the situations they were based around and was like well that was mom who would have been fearful of that, well that was dad who would have been angry at how that person spoke to me, well that was my religion who told me I should fearful of damnation by thinking X.  I felt a miracle was beginning to happen in my life. I began to wake up to the recognition that many of my thoughts, beliefs, stress, fears, etc were not mine, but my MIND certainly had been telling me for a long time they were.  There is a 2nd helpful step I began to implement after a while of just being aware  and that was detachment. First I had to be aware of the feeling/thing and then I could detach from it by recognizing that it was not mine even though my MIND wanted to tell every essence of my being it was.  

I share this with you because my life has been forever changed by Anthony De’Mello.  The things that used to so easily get me in a frenzy are slowly dropping away from me.  My stress and anxiety have decreased significantly!  And my once never ending noise in my head is beginning to quiet more and more.  I am that person who tries all the things like meditation, breathwork, soundbaths, yoga, and I have never felt the amount of consistent peace and love in my life as I do now.  This simple question of is your anxiety actually yours, or who is in the driver's seat, is one that I know can help to change your life too.  

You want to know one of the most consistent factors that impacts ALL Health Conditions? Pain?  Disease?  Cancer?  Mental health disorders? ...Stress.  Stress can come from physical, chemical, and emotional players.  Doctors talk a lot about the physical and chemical stressors to your body but still no one is talking enough about emotional stress’s toll on our bodies.  Here the catch 22, stress is a healthy, normal response, but for many of us, especially those of us with chronic health issues, this stress response is in a non-stop ON mode.  What is often attached to an emotional stress response is a belief.  Maybe a belief that I’m still not good enough so I have to reach a certain level of success in my work…then I’ll be enough?  Will you?  Because why aren’t you enough just as you are right now?  Maybe a belief that if I don’t look a certain way people won’t like me?  Maybe the MINDs fears are just that…the MINDs and not YOURs.  So out of love for myself, humanity, and you  I challenge you to ask the question is this anxiety actually mine?

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