I often get caught in the mood swings. Like an unseen pendulum, the mind move back and forth looking for a temporary refuge. There is no permanent dwelling for the mental state. It wanders looking for peace it may never find.
I guess we are playing with words, but phrases spoken in the privacy of the mind determines the mental state of affairs. We don’t see our faces, but the cheerful mask we try to maintain sometimes slips to show the deep lines of concern.
The real problem is that as we go interacting with one another, we provide a bridge for a train of thoughts to travel up and down. It is these thoughts that keep calling at the stations of our minds to disrupt the routine. I used to sit on the beach and focus on the waves and was able to think of nothing. That was 20 years ago. Now, every ripple of the water reminds me of unfinished business. Something I have to say or do urges me to take immediate action.
Perhaps, the core of our wellbeing depends on our ability to flush out unwanted feelings. It is easy to say that than doing it! When the mind is on the high gear of demolition only one thing can save you. Embark on the road of selfishness. The mental stress disappears when you only have to think of yourself and the rest can burn in the eternal fires. At least temporarily, until you are convinced that you can put your house in order when you want to.
Giving yourself a priority, and not the welfare of others, restrict the traffic to the channel of thoughts. It should not be exactly a one-way street, but a few barriers on the right places can pay a good dividend. To learn not to do many favours to people is one example. To oblige to personal indulgences, if not done in excess, is the other example.
Hence, a certain degree of selfishness may be the only way forward when the roof threatens to cave in. After all, you mend your fence first before you consider fixing your neighbour’s. Sometimes, it pays to give the pendulum a rest. When the wild swings that knocks the hell out of the sides stop, you begin to see things in their proper perspective.
While we cannot completely disregard family obligations and professional problems, at least they can stay in the queue for a while. In theory, only a fool can mess up with the mind. In reality, most of us are complete fools when it comes to mental health. The mind is like a sponge; it soaks up a lot of weight, but splashes out at the slightest pressure.
Well, there is no obvious remedy and that is why they keep building hospitals that have the back entrance to the cemeteries. At least, the final destination is peaceful, or so we hope it would be. As for me, I am caught between selfishness and consideration for others. A limbo that many of us are trapped in a vicious entanglement.
The writer is an Oman-based columnist. This article has been reproduced from the Khaleej Times.