Star Trek is loaded with Tao.
I’m an attractive, successful, well adjusted woman of a certain age. I have my issues like everybody else, but I like to think that I am doing pretty well in the game of life. So, when I say this, please don’t head right into the stereotype, okay?
I love Star Trek. No, let me explain that—I love Star Trek. I have followed every single series from the Original through Next Generation right on to Star Trek: Enterprise. I have worn the insignia and owned an instructional CD on conversational Klingon. Leave me to my own devices and one day you will see me dressed as an Andorian slave girl wandering around a major convention. I know, I know—but I like to think of this quirk as part of my questionable charm.
It isn’t the costuming that I love—because honestly, some of it is awful—even the science of it—although that is cool (Ipad, anyone?). It isn’t even the utopian vision of our human future.
It’s the fact that Star Trek in all its cheesy glory is loaded to the gills with good old fashioned Tao.
Allow me to illustrate.
So, there I am meditating and of course, instead of sitting silently in my mind, I am chewing on a problem that is currently driving me insane. I can feel my head and my heart spinning in circles as I am desperately trying to figure out what went wrong, where I screwed up and what I can do to get this situation to right itself in my favor. I can hear other thoughts in the back of my head—negative thoughts—quietly outlining the worst case scenario as if this were the only possible outcome. It is trying to prepare me and protect me from the pain of the possible reality.
Suddenly, I am remembering an episode of The Next Generation—yes, a perfect illustration of the money mind. Captain Picard and crew sail into somewhere and encounter a something. It appears harmless, but what is the first thing they do? Standard procedure, shields up. Suddenly, this harmless object begins to generate an energy wave that could damage the ship. So what do they do? Standard procedure, increase shields. The energy wave gets stronger. So, naturally they route all available power to the shields. The energy wave gets stronger still. Eventually, this process perpetuates itself until full power from the warp engines is flooding the shields. Destruction is immanent and nobody can figure out how to get the shields strong enough to save the ship.
Until some genius realizes that it is the shields that are causing the energy wave. They themselves are creating the power that is going to destroy them. It isn’t until they shut down the shields completely that the wave passes over them like a whisper and they can move on about their business.
Hello, Tao anyone?
We all possess our very own set of shields. In yogic philosophy, these shields are called the negative mind, and it has a very specific and valuable function. The negative mind assesses all dangers and compares them to past dangers, and the possibility of future dangers. The negative mind doesn’t want you to get hurt, so it tries to protect you by tossing up all kinds of memories and thoughts that will prepare you—or shield you—from the aspects of a situation that could hurt you.
However, it does become all too easy to allow the negative mind to step up to the forefront of our thinking.
The more we have been hurt, the more damaged we become, the safer it feels to reside in the protective embrace of the negative mind. Maybe then, we think (subconsciously) we can actually avoid getting hurt or damaged again—and maybe we can. Maybe the situation we are embroiled in is dangerous, but then again maybe it is something we need to experience in order to reach the next level. We just don’t know and if we reside solely in the negative mind, we never will.
It is important to recognize that our shields are a tool—not a way of living.
And, if you reroute all of your power to the shields, you won’t get anywhere and you might be creating the instrument of your own destruction.
You can’t live in the negative mind. You cannot live in a state of self-protective worry, constantly comparing what has happened with what might happen because, bottom line, you don’t know what is going to happen. The shields you put up to protect yourself from one thing, will “protect” you from everything—and then where are you?
I had to finally realize what I was doing in that meditation. I was shielding so intensely that I was actually making the situation worse. I was making myself crazy. I was making myself unhappy. I was working overtime to convince myself that all of these awful things were true, so that I wouldn’t have to face the reality of my feelings or experience the shame and embarrassment that came hot on their heels.
If I had listened to my crafty negative mind, I would have to believe that the situation was hopeless, that I was a poorly behaved moron and the best course of action was to just turtle up and disappear. I know none of these things are true and I also know that I am going to have to face myself, my emotions and my behaviors square on in order to move on.
Thank you, negative mind, but shields down.
I hear what you are trying to tell me, but I’ve gotta let it happen, no matter how much the situation sucks. In other words, face it head on, bold as brass, chin up, balls down. Because, truth be told, nothing can destroy you unless you let it. It might wreck you, break you or knock you down, but you know what?
You’ll be fine. Skip the shields and think deflector dish, folks, deflector dish.
Jamie Shane teaches the art of yoga and practical spirituality through her blogs and daily classes. She owns of Bija Yoga, lives in Naples, FL and can be found at www.jamieshane.com
Editor: Maja Despot
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