I have an image which comes to my mind often, when I am lost in some emotion like anger or fear, which I find really helps to stop me in my tracks. When I am deep in the throws of a negative emotion and I’m gesticulating wildly to some poor victim, child or anybody who happens to be in front of me – body language, breathing, gestures, tone of voice all in unison to suit this emotion – the image which comes to mind is that of people dancing at a disco.
Dancers in a disco are happily lost in the music as their bodies sway, arms swinging wildly, appropriate facial expressions to match their moves, difference in breath and often singing away to the lyrics. This behavior is completely understandable given that they are listening and moving to music. Now, imagine if one was to cut the music suddenly, these poor innocent dancers would be left wondering at the absurdity of their movements and the relevance of it, not to mention feeling a bit foolish. They would probably stop what they were doing immediately, look down at their bodies, realize they were doing crazy actions and resume another activity/distraction. Without the noise/music, it doesn’t make sense to keep ‘dancing’.
So as for me, when I’m in the midst of performing my angry dance moves, complete with voice, gestures and body language, if I were to simply ‘cut’ the music/noise which has been playing along, then without the ‘noise’ everything looks slightly irrelevant and doesn’t make sense to carry it on. All these actions are completely appropriate and only make sense when the noise is there. The dancing analogy isn’t the only way to shake yourself out of an unwanted behavior -the phone could ring and distract you, or perhaps one of you might laugh at the absurdity of you both in this anger dance and see it for what it is. The end result is the same, the noise suddenly drops. You fall into a quiet mind. In a quiet mind it just doesn’t make sense to continue what you were doing.
So how can we cut the noise, like a dj cuts the music? Well the noise is only Thought. It’s our thinking and it is always there, a bit like an orchestra, with every instrument playing at the same time. We have the free will to either tune into it, believe it and act on it -hence the unfolding dance. Or we can choose to ignore it, see it for the constant babble that it is, and by not engaging with it, you get to hang out more in a quiet mind. Treat your Thoughts like an unwanted relative – if you don’t feed them they will leave. Try it next time you catch yourself in the midst of an anger demonstration – Cut the Noise/Thought streaming, like you would the music at a disco and then look down at your body and see in this silence, how completely inappropriate and irrelevant that ‘dance’ you were performing now is.
The more you do this, the more you see it, the orchestra starts to quieten, until a lot of the time, you are just listening to one beautiful instrument, perhaps a flute – which has always been there, but you couldn’t hear it for all the Noise going on. This is your Wisdom speaking to you. Start hanging out with it more. It makes the perfect dance partner.
I would like to finish with offering you an image of A Silent Disco. A place people gather in complete silence, everybody wearing headphones and dancing together but to the beat of their own playlist. I feel this represents how we turn up in life, how we move, how we connect and ultimately how we create our reality. Our reality is subjective, being streamed though our headphones – let’s not assume that everybody is on the same page, as they’re not. We can only ever feel what is running in our head, and this works the same for every human being. They can only ever experiencing what is playing through their headphones from their playlist. Even to the extent of when you may stand in front of somebody, explaining your stance, your ideas, why you are right and they wrong – whatever the interaction – they will only experience you through their Thought/their Music/their Favourites. Knowing this, can help us all to be a little more compassionate to somebody else’s thought generated world and explains why we often forget that somebody else is streaming a different Thought List to yours and will never see it exactly how you do.
Remember: Without the ‘music’ your feelings and actions will not make sense to you. If you don’t like your behaviors, it’s not the outside world that you need to change, but your playlist.