Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Chronic fatigue and the reactive mind

Here's something that is very, very useful to get to grips with and see with our own eyes (well, minds eye). It goes something like this:

Although we experience physical illness and are limited by it, 99% of the suffering associated with the illness is caused by the reactive mind.

This is something that is highlighted by doing a mindfulness based stress reduction course or by spending some time studying Buddhist practises. It may seem a little far fetched until you see it in action:

- we feel exhausted,
- it's not very nice,
- our mind starts up with judgements, anxiety, aversion and a whole set of reactive thinking,
- we feel even worse, to put it mildly
- we go into a downwards spiral of thoughts, unpleasantness, and more thoughts
- we feel helpless, we can't fix it
- we believe the thoughts and the negative situation seems wholly convincing
- and so on

This reactivity seems to be a feature of our minds and it would be ambitious to try and stop it doing this all time, but if we can see it happening during a difficult spell then it is possible to make room around it, thus lessening the reactive stress. Even this might seem impossible, but if we persist then we get a glimpse of our extraordinarily powerful minds in action. A glimpse becomes an eyeful, an eyeful becomes a mindful, and a mindful has quite large capacity for instigating faith that we can adapt to this thing called illness.


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