Self-honesty requires simply observing the mind, and the behaviour that flows from it, as it gestures itself out to the world. We think we can keep what’s in the mind secret, but if you observe what you do (or don’t) say or do, you’ll start to see that often the only person not aware of what you’re thinking is you. The body gives it away every time. We’ve all heard the one about actions speaking louder than words. Unfortunately, it’s true.
This week I started a self-honesty exercise, which involves asking yourself a series of questions and simply observing the thoughts that come into your awareness. No judging, just observing. This exercise is part of a practice that leads to genuine silence, the silencing of that voice that interprets everything and every thought in accordance with your conceptual framework, those things you believe about yourself and the world.
To give you an idea of how it works, here are a couple of the questions the teacher poses for us to consider:
- Have I ever had a murderous thought?
- Have I ever had -shall we call them – disrespectful sexual fantasies?
Most of us have a good boy/girl self image and we don’t have such thoughts, do we? Well maybe, if we’re being honest, we’ve had a couple but we certainly don’t have them on anything like a regular basis, do we? And, if we have such thoughts, we censure ourselves and suppress them. We certainly don’t admit having them to others. What would they think if they knew we wanted to kill them for that hurtful remark or for ignoring us or taking credit for our work? No, we have to maintain that good boy/girl self image we invested so much energy into constructing. So, we grin and bear it, and tell ourselves nobody knows how we feel or what we’re thinking. Strange how we often know what other people in those situations are thinking when we’re the perpetrator, isn’t it?
There are some urban myths out there on how often we think about sex. Regardless of the myths, we all think about sex. Maybe not every ten seconds but generally more than once a day. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are assessing everybody you meet from a sexual perspective, even if only fleetingly, and sometimes you might indulge yourself with a prolonged fantasy……and if you suppress it, it comes back later as one of those hot and sweaty dreams. The body again, letting you know what you were thinking.
And, if we’re honest we’ve all wanted to kill somebody at sometime. There have been lots of nights recently when I’ve wanted to kill someone, while watching the TV news.
Maybe it’s not surprising I have murderous thoughts or sexual fantasies. After all, I’m into crime writing. This week, for example, I killed the same character twice – I wasn’t happy with the result of the first attempt. Sure, he was dead, that’s generally the case if you use a car bomb, but I’didn’t like the mess. I had to find another way to suit the storyline I’m developing. You can find out how I, or rather Clare because I’m not actually in the story, did it when The Holiday comes out later in the year.
A little ironic that we spend so much energy judging ourselves for the murderous thoughts and sexual fantasies we have, while at the same time we enjoy crime stories full of murders and all sorts of sexual fantasies. I’m no different, I’m currently reading Above Suspicion by Lynda La Plante – it’s full of murders and sexual fantasies.
You can read my murderous thoughts and sexual fantasies. I’m not ashamed of them. It’s a lot of fun, liberating even, getting them out in the open.
The question I invite you ponder is this:
- if you’re ashamed of your own murderous thoughts and sexual fantasies, why do you enjoy reading other people’s?
I need to go and write some of those words required to meeting my writing goals.
Thanks for dropping by, Peter