The Pendulum of the Mind
“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong”
- Carl Jung
If we pay attention, we will see that the mind is in constant movement, swinging back
and forth like a pendulum. We live in a world of opposites. We can not know good without also knowing evil. We cannot know pleasure without also knowing pain. This causes our mind to oscillate, to swing back and forth. I like this, I can't stand that; this is fun, that is boring; this is right, that is wrong; this is beautiful, but that is ugly, etc..
This swinging of the pendulum directly influences and is directly influenced by our emotions as well. Happy vs. sad; love vs. hate; joy vs. despair; anger vs. tranquillity. Every emotion has an opposite. To experience one requires us to also experience the other. Then in comes the Ego trying to protect us from all this movement. The Ego will try to cling to the pleasurable side of the pendulum swing, and wants to prevent the pendulum from swinging back to the other side. It is this attraction to one half of the swing and aversion to the other half that causes all of the stress and anxiety we experience in life. The Ego is trying to protect us from that which it has no control over. It wants to avoid that which can not be avoided.
Those persistent thoughts and worries that haunt us and just won't go away always bring with them a tendency to want to suppress them, reject them, deny them and push them away. Yet the harder we fight against them, the stronger and more persistent they become. If fighting against them doesn't work, then what does? Self Awareness does. Observing and becoming aware of how they affect us does. When we become aware of a thought, we have separated ourselves from the thought. We have risen above it. Using the pendulum analogy, if we rise above the thought, it is like moving up the shaft of the pendulum. As we move up the shaft of the pendulum, we are not being carried as far back and forth. The further up the shaft of the pendulum we move, the shorter the swing. The more we can separate from the thought and objectively observe it, the higher up the pendulum's shaft we rise. If we can rise all the way up to the pivot point, we are no longer being carried along by our thoughts and emotions, and therefore are no longer being subjected to the effects of the swinging. We separate from the emotional roller coaster ride. At the pivot point, we find true inner peace. We can observe the coming and going of a thought without being carried along by it. We are no longer being driven by our Ego.
At this point, we are able to truly see and observe reality as it is, without any judgements or mental formations. This change can only come about through self awareness, through mindfulness. Objective observation is the key to making this shift. Become mindful and self aware and you will decrease the distance you are being carried between swings, and increase the distance between a peaceful mind and a turbulent one.
|Michael L. Fournier|