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How I Was Wrong About Mindfulness

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

“A thought is not a fact – a thought is just a thought.” —Jon Kabat-Zinn

Given an extended recovery time, and since movies can’t be my pastime, I tend to dwell on philosophical, ambiguous, and non-scientific thoughts and ideas—something we often ignore or are unaware of in our daily lives.

This may be my third post on mindfulness, a topic that is both too obvious and too complex to experience and appreciate. However, there is no dearth of content on it.

I gain a better understanding when I get introspective about my thoughts and then write them down.

Two days ago, I found myself entangled in an emotional labyrinth over a past event. It felt so fresh in my thoughts that it seemed to be unfolding again in reality. I was convinced I had been wronged, and my mind went into a whirlwind of self-defense and blame. The thoughts spiraled, each feeding off the last, and soon enough, a web of emotions filled my mental space.

Thanks to some training in detaching myself from thoughts, I realized I was wrong in assuming I was the lead character in the internal dramas my mind scripted.

Positioning myself at the center led me down a complex path of not just primary emotions like anger or sadness, but also secondary emotions that complicated the entire landscape.

I thought I understood mindfulness, but this experience was different. I had initially turned to mindfulness to quiet the incessant chatter in my head. Yet, now I see that the chatter isn’t the enemy; it’s the stage where my biases and assumptions play out, many directed at myself.

This shift in perspective was illuminating. I recognized that my secondary emotions were the offspring of my self-centered role in my own thought narratives.

By acknowledging this, I was able to immediately distance myself from my thoughts, as if they were playing out somewhere away from me. I loved the feeling, and my mind immediately became free, disowning everything it had been thinking or feeling about the past event.

I felt a weight lift. I learned not to confine myself to the lead role in the complicated script of my own making.

My true journey to mindfulness has just begun.

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