I have always had a fascination with adrenaline junkies in the way I imagine an alien would be fascinated with the human race.
My mind is constantly taking me on a mental roller coaster throughout each and every day.
The thought that someone would seek stress inducing thrills is something I simply cannot relate to. A list of activities that I avoid due to the “buzz” they offer includes: drugs, theme parks, sad and/or scary movies.
The world is filled with so much danger, sadness and pain—why do some seek it out?
Rather than trying to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, I really should turn my pondering inwards. What all of these activities in which I avoid have in common is they require giving up a sense of control. Why do I crave control so intensely? I think many of us who have overcome difficult experiences in our lifetimes grasp for the reins of our lives in order to avoid pain.
Personally, I have gone through traumatic health related crises that enlightened me at a young age to the fact that danger lurks around every corner. I became keenly aware that, as human beings, we are incredibly fragile. I learned that I was a target and had to protect myself from any potential hazard and risk.
So I tried to gain control over myself and my surroundings. However, the more I’ve attempted to manage and oversee the elements of my life, the more out of control I have felt. This is because the world is completely indifferent to my demands. What I would like to happen in my interactions with others never seems to come to fruition.
Moreover, my own mind and body similarly do not heed to my commands. This feels like the ultimate form of betrayal. For some reason, trying to force myself to feel a certain way never quite works, and in the process I become my own adversary.
I turned to mindfulness when I was tired of the constant internal battle for control between me and the universe. It had become abundantly clear I was losing the war, and my mental and physical health were suffering as a result. A central tenet of mindfulness involves letting go of perceptions of what we think our life should be.
It is about taking our experiences as they come, moment by moment, in a non-judgmental way. In practicing mindfulness through meditation and yoga, I have begun the process of loosening the reins on control.
I have officially handed in my resignation for the position of authoritarian dictator of the Kingdom of My Life—after all, I was never very good at ruling it anyway. In the quest to control my life in order to avoid pain, I was inflicting a level of anguish upon myself that was cruel and unnecessary.
Who knows, maybe I will try bungee jumping now? On second thought, I think I’ll stick to ground-based activities.
Author: Montana Skurka
Volunteer Editor: Terry Price / Editor: Renée Picard