Thoughts as Spam Email


You may have heard of a type of spam email called “phishing.” The initial ploy in phishing is actually quite simply: you are send an email message that results in a powerful emotional response. For example, you are informed that someone appears to be using your credit card illegally or there is a new virus out there that from which you are not protected. The email asks you for private information like you SSN, credit card number, date of birth, and driver’s license number so they can help keep you protected. Of course, this is all so they can steal your identity. What if your mind sometimes acts like this phisher? If can put an upsetting message in front of you and get you to impulsively attach to a thought, emotion, memory, or body sensation. Like the phisher, your mind will tell you that what it has to say is the absolute truth and requires a response. Like the email, you don’t have to respond to your internal experience. Slow down, step back. See if you can notice where responding will take you. You might be able to start to notice when your mind is throwing these at you, just as you’ve learned to spot spam emails. These experiences probably have somethings in common. Are they all-or-none, negative, provocative, urgent? Remember that the mind is not you, the mind is a tool. But it isn’t helpful tool 100% of the time.