The Mind’s Commentary Habit


If direct experience is like a movie that’s playing all the time, the mind is like a person who adds subtitles and commentary to the movie. Imagine a movie with commented text constantly plastered all over the screen — all over the place, all the time. You’d never actually see the movie!

That’s what our minds do. We have this miraculous reality right in front of us, and our minds block it all out with constant commentary and fantasties.

A few of the things our minds are constantly doing include:

  1. Judging whether something is good or bad
  2. Labeling things — pleasant, unpleasant, unhappy, unfair, idiotic
  3. Judging whether we’re good or bad, whether other people are good or bad
  4. Getting caught up in a narrative about something that happened earlier
  5. Getting caught up in fantasy or worry about what might happen later
  6. Getting caught up in a story about what’s happening now, why it should or shouldn’t happen

These things also get us irritated, frustrated, angry, sad, worried, anxious.

These are not terrible things, but they come from these commentary habits of the mind.

What would it be like if we dropped the commentary habit? What if we just experienced the movie without all the extra things overlaid on top?


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