What happens when you hear this from a person that wants to know more about you?   You mind will tell a story of you.     The story will be shaped according to the setting or the environment.  If you are at a job interview, you will most likely talk about your education or similar past job.  If you are at a parent/teacher conference and the teacher wants to know more about you.  Your story will be shaped to tell how good of a parent you are or bragging about your child.    There is nothing wrong with these stories, but how did these stories come about?

The mind creates a perception based on prior things that happened throughout life.    As a baby,   you had no story of you.   You couldn’t even talk.   All you could do was be an observer.   You looked to your parents to understand the world.  If they saw a spider and screamed, you learned that behavior.  If you see a spider today you might scream.   On the other hand if they said “hey look at that!  It’s a daddy long-legs, isn’t that interesting.”  You would not scream; you would find it interesting.

Experiences in child hood that we do not remember have a large impact on our life.   When I began therapy I never understood the reason why they were so interested in my childhood.   I was never taught that our brain is like a computer.  It takes all of our experiences throughout life and builds a program.  This program is frequently accessed to interpret the world that we perceive.

Growing up I was a very sickly boy, from these experiences I learned that I had to go to a doctor to fix me.   To fix me would require medicine.   And I would get better after taking the medicine.   Unknowingly,   I had written a program on how to heal.   See doctor, get medicine, and get better.  Simple program, that caused a lot of issues.

It wasn’t only child hood experiences;   it was all experiences throughout life that shape our view of the world.    Our brains build programs based on each experience.    Often times, the experience you are having now is modifying or adding to a prior program.    On occasion the brain will write a new program, if it’s a totally new experience.   We become dense with all the programs that we acquire as we move through life.   This is why a baby appears so innocent, compared to an adult.  The baby had little to no programming while adults are bogged down.    These programs shape our ego.   I see the ego as all mental activity not restricted to self-esteem which is the typically definition of ego.

By the time I had my first mental breakdown in my 20’s, before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I turned to a therapist to “fix” me.    Talking alone didn’t work, I would require medicine.     I had a mental program,   see a doctor, get medicine then get better.   Talking alone didn’t work since it did not satisfy the requirements of the program.  I was missing the medicine requirement of the program.   When I got medicine then I started to improve.  It took some time to get the medicine correct to provide mental stability but it didn’t “fix” me.  I still had bipolar.    The stability lasted for about 10 years, than life decided that it was time for something different.

“Different” was being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).    I saw a bunch of doctors to “fix” me, and they gave me a lot of medicine.     That was my program, see a doctor, get medicine then get better.   This program was wrong.  Doctors cannot fix or cure bipolar or MS, I suffered a great deal.   I was taking around 24 pills a day and wasn’t healed from the bipolar or MS.   I did not know that I had a “faulty” program.  As time went on,   I became sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I then went on a period of exploration and stumbled upon meditation while reading a book.

From meditation, I discovered a lot about myself.  I saw the stories that my brain were telling me about myself were false.  I wasn’t seeing things as they were.    I was seeing the world based on my programming.   For my health I was following the program that I need doctors and medicine to fix me.   Through meditation I had developed the ability to see my thoughts,   once I saw the thoughts I could separate myself from them.    Separation of thoughts entails noticing when thoughts arise and not paying attention to them.  I did not give them power over me.

For example, when sitting in meditation your mind will start chattering that you are “wasting” time and that you have more important things to do like checking email or household chores.    Instead, I saw that I wasn’t “wasting” time.  I was giving myself a needed break from the mental chatter.    If I gave into thoughts by checking email or doing something else I then gave the thoughts power over me.   I was guilty in the past by allowing thoughts to have complete control of my life;   they had absolute power over me. Through meditation I had learned that I could separate myself from thoughts, which gave me the ability to rewrite the programs.   These programs are not permanently fixed, and can be changed.   I now question everything that comes from the mind and “write” new programs as I find “faulty” ones.

I was very self-critical, and I was creating a hell on Earth with my thoughts and programming.  Those “faulty” programs had to go!   After I dropped the “faulty” programs, through meditation, I learned to be kind to myself.   It wasn’t easy to tame the mind,  but with practice it happened.  The most amazing thing happened when I no longer allowed the thoughts to have power over me, I stopped suffering.   I no longer suffer,   the thoughts simply drift through the mind without power.

The next time someone asks you “tell me about yourself?”    Stop and observe the program, what story is it telling?   Is it true?  Are you sure it’s the absolute truth?

 

P.S.  If you wish to learn more about meditation, see my blog on “breaking from the bipolar brain.”