Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Crocodiles of the Mind

A wise Indian swami once warned me that “there are crocodiles in the mind.” What he didn’t know is that I love crocodiles. So, ever since, I’ve been comforted by this notion.

Sometimes I worry about my mind crocodiles; that they don’t have enough to eat, or that they can’t find a warm spot (imagine the stress of being cold-blooded and unable to warm yourself). I worry, just generally, about crocodiles - though not the way everyone else does. You may deem them fierce, but, to potato chips, we are the fierce ones. Crocodiles aren’t ferocious; they’re just hungry. As are we all.

I recognize that every word of that sounded loopy. But as I once wrote,
Human beings spend their lives in conflict with imaginary people: mentally rearguing old arguments, worrying about faceless attackers and detractors, reliving bygone humiliations, and generally using our imaginations to make our lives a living hell.

That's considered "normal", but using the same faculty in positive ways to help us cope seems, for some bizarre reason, childish and loopy.
To use my more recent parlance, it is absolutely normal to reframe perspective to self-indulgently drum up anger, anxiety, and heartbreak. That seems mature and solid and adult. But reframing toward comfort seems juvenile and dopey. Why?

I figured out as a child that "If you're plagued by nightmares full of scary monsters, the trick is to love the monsters (this was surely the original intent behind giving children teddy bears)."

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