The Strangeness of Consciousness: Stray Observations from My Morning Meditation

The Buddhist Therapist
4 min readJun 13, 2022

A stray observation from my meditation this morning: being alive is really weird.

As I sat on my cushion and tried to be with my breath and in the moment, I did my best to use mindfulness to reflect and observe myself. I paid closer and closer attention to my thoughts and feelings and had a few realizations:

Firstly, I’m a solipsistic, narcissist whose every thought and feeling centers around me and my needs. That’s not shocking, I suppose because that describes everyone to some extent. But as I sat with myself, I saw how self-centered my conscious state is. No wonder most of the world’s religions try to take our self-centered gaze and try to direct it elsewhere, whether in compassion or through God because left to our own devices as humans, we are often violent and selfish.

Secondly, unless directed intentionally, almost all of my thoughts and feelings are about my own survival. One way to put it: my body and mind form what I perceive as me, Anthony, the therapist and writer, who has a projected self-image about what I do and who I am. My body or ego’s job primary job is to do two things: have me survive today and procreate so my DNA can survive beyond my death.

So as I observed my thoughts this morning, my consciousness became flooded with hundreds of thoughts about my survival. Some of the thoughts that went through my head include: boy am I hungry, I’d like to make some breakfast after I meditate. Why do my body and mind send me thoughts about hunger? Food is essential fuel to my survival.

Other thoughts that went through my head: that person is really attractive. A strange thought to have during my morning meditation, but as I get to know the weirdness of my consciousness more and more, I see how often sexual thoughts come up in general. And why wouldn’t they? Everything in my biology is about not only my survival but my DNA’s survival.

Another theme that kept coming up in my thoughts and feeling: was fear. I’m often shocked by how much of my daily consciousness is all about fear, anxiety, and avoiding danger.

For example, as I imagined myself walking toward the subway stop this morning, I had many an anxious thought that quickly…

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The Buddhist Therapist

The relationship between mental health, spirituality and politics told from the point of view of a working psychotherapist.