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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Metacognition

I am aware of my own thought processes and I seek to understand them. My renewed practice of Zen Buddhism has increased the intensity of these examinations of my thoughts, especially with regard to recurring, intrusive thoughts which may occur in my mind as frequently as several times per hour, or none at all for long stretches of time. Why such a variation in occurrences?


I also wonder if there is something that any particular recurring, intrusive thought might solve for my mind? What purpose do they serve? What are those old traumatic memories that pop up into my mind like bubbles of swamp gas, startling me, offending me, beleaguering me, disrespecting me, saddening me, depressing me... Why do I have these thoughts, why are human beings susceptible to such unwelcome, intrusive distractions? Do some people learn to escape them, dodging right when the thought goes wrong?


I am taking my recurring thoughts to task, analyzing them, controlling them, discarding them when possible. I reassure myself in the process that the antecedents to these thoughts, the awful real life events that they attack from, were over long ago. Those events are far in the past, dust off my feet, miles away, and a lifetime ago.


But sometimes I check around the corners and under the edges of those old, unwanted memories to see what else is there. Is there anything useful, maybe even something good for me? Do I want something from those bad memories?


Well, I know this, I want to be comforted about these old, horrid thoughts that continue to arise in my mind. My subconscious offers up those fetid bubbles from some dank emotional swamp in my deepest mind because it knows that I want to reconsider them. Maybe I want to ferret out some chance for a do-over? Yes, my mind fiercely WANTS a do-over. But my only recourse at this late point in life is to remember, learn, grieve, laugh, and then say goodbye. I literally wept with gratitude to know this because it appears to be a path out of misery.


Metacognition

by Annmarie Throckmorton, copyright 2023



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