This public art project, as with many of my artworks, was inspired by the books that I kept by my bedside table. Many of these authors I’ve learned from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. As I am trying to figure out this life on earth and learning from these “thought leaders” and visionaries” as Oprah calls them, I get inspirations for my art. Some of these spiritual teachers include Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer, both of which talked about the “voices in our heads.”
Michael Singer said in this Super Soul Sunday interview, the voice in your head is not the real you. You are the consciousness that is aware of this voice. I’ve heard some names for this voice: mind chatter, mind freak, ego, mini me and it’s based on fear. Our true self is much bigger and rooted in love.
As I became more aware of this voice in my head, I am trying to listen to what it is saying. Here are some of the common thoughts that I’ve observed in myself:
- Replay of things that happened in the past (this person said this and I should’ve have said that)
- Things I worry about (too many to list here but I will give an example later)
- Fears (usually felt as emotions and I tried to avoid thinking about it)
- My to-do-list
- The funniest thing I observe is that I would actually imagine in my mind how I would do some of the things on my to-do-list, even mundane things like mopping the floor. But this is pretty useful when I think about how I would create my art or work out each panel of my comics.
I think the mind is a very powerful tool if we can learn how to use it correctly. When it is rooted in love or from our true self it is an amazing tool. But when it is rooted in fear or what Eckhart Tolle called the ego, all hell breaks loose and we see people fighting or even killing each other.
As Tolle said in this interview, we can choose to take our attention away from our incessant thinking and try to feel the energy inside our body. Can you feel your hands right now without touching anything?
Another spiritual teacher I love is Esther Hicks. She said often times, it is difficult to stop a train of thought when the momentum is too strong. She recommended meditation to quiet our mind. Just sit comfortably and listen to the air conditioner or something like that. She also said if you want to jump to a positive place from a negative place, it could be difficult because the gap is too big. But we can take baby steps.
In her book, Ask and It’s Given, there’s an exercise called “Which thoughts feel better?”
Right now, I am waiting for a shipment of my picture book Emet’s Box to arrive and I have to deliver them to the schools that I visited. The estimated arrival date is between June 20 – June 28 and the last day of school is June 29!
I know it’s a small worry compare to a lot of problems out there in the world right now but I just can’t stop thinking about it because I really want the students who have ordered my book to get it before the end of the school year.
Last night, I couldn’t hold it in anymore and I spilled my guts to my husband about my worries. He said it’s out of my control and the books could arrive any day now. But my mind won’t shut up with more worries such what if the estimation was wrong? What if they changed the estimated date of arrival?
Instead of thinking “my books have not arrive yet”
I feel better when I think “my books can arrive any day now.”
If this doesn’t work, I tell myself “whatever happens, it’s all good” or “I will figure it out when the time comes.”
On the other hand, if I keep thinking along the line of “my books have not arrive yet,” then I would add to that thought and started blaming: why didn’t I order them earlier, why did my publisher not get back to me right away, is there something wrong, etc.
If I think my publisher is probably very busy with two new books coming out and I feel better because that is a better feeling thought.
I also have a list of good feeling words on my wall. I think about the feeling that I want instead of going down the negative spiral. Or I can do something else to distract myself, meditate, take a nap, go for a walk, read some inspiring books, watch comedies, etc.
“It is out of my control now, there’s no point struggling against it and suffer.”
“We’ll know in a few days if I make the deadline of delivery of not. No big deal.”
My thoughts go up and down but when I am aware of it, I can do something about it.
Oprah said: What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Many other spiritual teachers said similar things and from my personal experience I am learning to believe it more and more.
In this public art project, I am inviting participants to become aware of the voices in their heads. What are they saying? Are they judging, critical, blaming, encouraging or empowering? What if we have the choice to pivot our thoughts step by step to ones that help us rather than harm us (and everyone around us)? What if we are able to break out of our past conditioning and choose to use our amazing mind to empower us?
The first part of the project is where I invite people to record their deepest fear or worries like I’ve shared here. During BC Culture Days weekend, I will set up a dark tent where I play these pre-recorded audios to mimic the chatter in our mind.
Participants on BC Culture Days weekend (Sept 24-25, 2022?) can walk through this tent to experience the mind chatters made obvious. The participants then open the blinds of the tent to face an open green space surrounded by trees. It is spacious, quiet and beautiful, representing our true inner being. This is where participant will be invited to write down what they want instead. Wishes, dreams for the future, or simply better feeling thoughts or just feeling they want like I’ve posted on my wall (see below picture).
PS. As I am writing this, and working on my own thoughts, I got a message from my publisher that the package is arriving tomorrow. Thank you!