A walk along a beach will give you a fine view of the sea, the taste of salt in the air, screeching gulls, long stretches of sand and miscellaneous bits of junk. Bottles, bits of wood, battered fish boxes, shreds of net, dead sea birds and a thousand other things that shouldn’t be there cluttering up the beach.
Sometimes our minds can feel like they’re cluttered with little bits of junk, stuff that’s annoying but not so bad that we have to do anything special about it.
In ‘flotsam and jetsam’ articles I’ll introduce some of the kinds of junk I find on the beach of my mind and offer ways of removing them. Even if you don’t have my kinds of junk, I hope you’ll be able to use the articles to assist you in dealing with your own flotsam and jetsam.
If they’re only small bits of junk, niggles, apparently random thoughts or feelings why bother? In small doses it really doesn’t matter, we can usually shrug them off and get on with it. However the constant drip, drip, drip of negative thoughts and feelings, and the stress inducing chemicals that are released, do have an effect on our emotional wellbeing and eventually our health. Even if that weren’t the case what’s so great about being mildly unhappy?
Life will still send us storms and sorrows, but on a day to day basis if we were rid of all of this junk we’d probably be a lot happier or at least more comfortable.
I’d like to suggest that although these thoughts and feelings can be disagreable, and we tend to suppress, ignore or distract ourselves from them, they are a great resource for becoming happier and more contented. Each one is an opportunity for emotional recycling.
This isn’t a new idea, in Tibetan Buddhism there is a strand of teaching called the Lojong Training (mind training) which uses a variety of different methods to embrace and transform life’s junk. I’m going to use some of those principles in these articles, if you’re interested in the original meditation based practices, I highly recommend the books and recordings of Pema Chodron an American Buddhist nun who teaches widely on these topics. Rather than use meditation techniques my intention in these articles to demonstrate NLP and EFT approaches in working with mind junk that you can use to ‘start cleaning the beach’.