Little Miss Know-it-all

My meditation teacher gave the analogy tonight of going half way up a mountain, taking in the view and thinking that means you know what it’s like at the top.

Remember that Spin Doctors song from the early 90s?  Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.  I was a young teen at the time and I can remember my mum saying it could have been about me.

Back when I was a teen I, like I’m sure almost everyone, was almost entirely mind-identified.  I had no concept of the idea that my circumstances and my image were not all of me.  I was a clever girl.  Life – acceptable life – was easy.  I got most things right without much effort.  I was so used to getting things right that I had no coping mechanism for when things went wrong.  If I was criticised or if I failed.  To me at that age such things would have been unthinkable, so I went to all lengths to avoid them.

Which pretty much meant I went to no lengths at all.  I stayed safe.  I stayed quiet.  I assessed situations for risk of humiliation and made sure that at all times I sat strictly within the limits of acceptable.  As a result, I got quietly confident on shaky ground (pillars of sand, anyone?).  I was smart.  I aced exams, boys liked me and, all things considered,I aced teenage life.

My sharp little mind consistently cast its busyness ahead, assuredly assessing and categorising the future. Forever a quick learner, once I’d been to one party I knew parties.  I knew to reveal the right amount of flesh, I knew not to drink too much, I knew to let people approach me.

I knew, I knew, I knew.

So here I am, 20 years later, at tonight’s meditation class.  A couple of years ago when I started to meditate, my breath consciousness showed me waves and colours.  They swept around my torso, thrilled me, scared me, showed me myself and pushed me into the truer life I live now.  Except now I’m in a different class where the focus is all about mindfulness and simplicity, I am still looking for my coloured waves.  For me, without my coloured waves, I wasn’t really ‘doing’ meditation.  I had decided what meditation was.  WHERE WERE MY COLOURED WAVES?  I better get making my coloured waves.  I had decided what meditation was.  Before it happened, I knew.

You know, I think my coloured waves are valid.  I think they just happen as a result of meditation sometimes.  But I am always so, so keen to recreate them.  My mind was like ‘oh yeah I know this.’

And this I realise, is how my mind habitually works.  Making breakfast, taking the train to work, meeting a new girl, navigating lesbian sex 101…my mind is like ‘oh yeah I know this’.  Even when it doesn’t.  

Sometimes, all this stops me from even having an experience.  I don’t go to the end.  I don’t go fully.  I live something in my head first then decline to live it in life.

Huge lesson.  Baby steps.

Does anyone else do this?

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2 thoughts on “Little Miss Know-it-all

  1. I live in fear of the first time I do something wrong.

    Hah! I used to drive my GF crazy with this kind of thing. Before GPS I would be the road-trip navigator, and would tell her where to go with all confidence … and generally get us lost.

    The funny thing is afterward she’d always say that she should “know better by now.” But when I asked her why she kept listening, she’d say, “Because the way you say it sounds like you actually know what you’re talking about.”

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