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    « The Politics of Bondage (part 2) | Main | The Politics of Bondage »


           In a dream the other night, I had this awful experience of what it would feel like to live my life while wearing a perpetual, very heavy, very confining, claustrophobically oppressive, Helmet. I didn’t have this Helmet on in my dream, but I had the experience of wearing it. I was looking at two women who had huge hair that came over their faces like giant visors. That image got my dream self to start experiencing the dreaded Helmet that I just described.
           In my dream, I thought aloud that I would rather be dead than experience the rest  of my life wearing that Helmet. Expanding on that, it occurs to me that the Helmet can be a metaphor for living my life with a closed, confined mind. Of living my life without personal expression. More than living inside a self induced prison, this kind of confinement follows me. This kind of constriction is not because of where I’m at physically, like being in jail. This restriction is actually a part of me. My Helmet is with me no matter what. It is inescapable. Unshakable. It’s a part of my head. It can not be removed, no matter what. Even writing about it takes me to an uncomfortable place and creates a sense of confinement in me. I literally want to take off my baseball hat and go run outside and start screaming “I’m free! I don’t wear a Helmet!”.
           I’ve had this feeling before in dreams. And it is always very powerful. So much so that when I awake from such a dream, I have to consciously explore what it was all about and work at getting myself out of that space. Lest my very waking experience becomes tainted by this dream. Sometimes, like now, I write about it.
           The waking, physical experience of having something heavy on my head, confining my face and skull, pressing on the back of my neck, is terribly uncomfortable for me. Probably one reason I shun from ever wearing a helmet when I cycle, even through the busy streets of Boston. And even though those cycle helmets weigh next to nothing and don’t rest on the neck. Just the experience of having anything on my head that weighs more than a baseball cap is distasteful to me.
           Metaphor withstanding, I realize that, to one degree or another, we all live in the prisons of our own mind. Especially if we aren’t even conscious that we’re held captive by what’s inside our own heads. My mind may be free in some areas, but it’s very confining in others. I have recommitted myself to opening up my mind. I have challenged myself to shed old, negative, ingrained thinking patterns that no longer serve me, if they ever did. I want to rid myself of any semblance of the Helmet.
           But I still wear that Helmet. We all do. Some of us are a lot more aware of it than others. Some of us can see the Helmet of another, as clear as we can see the shirt they are wearing. They show us their Helmet by the words they speak. They show us through their behavior, through their attitude. Those who remain unaware of their own Helmet are doomed to wear it until they die. Sometimes, I want to go over to somebody and just take their Helmet off, and say “Look at what you’re missing by keeping that thing on. Look at how you’re words and behavior and energy effects others. You don’t even see it. Look at how it effects you.”
           The Helmet itself is hugely responsible for keeping us blind to the very fact that we are indeed wearing it. That’s one reason it is so insidious and difficult to take off. It has a very formidable, built in self defense mechanism. The worst thing about a closed mind is that, by definition, the mind can not realize that it is closed. Only when the thinker is able to separate themselves from the thinking is space created for some new insights to enter the closed loop of a mind shut down.
           I offer the same truth for one’s heart. A closed down heart, one that is afraid to fully feel, or fully express, or be vulnerable, is like a closed mind. The wall constructed around our hearts and minds, our Helmets, prevent flow. Virtually nothing gets in, and virtually nothing gets out. To open up, to remove the Helmet, we first have to realize we have it on. That means we have to see it. Feel it. Touch it. That can be a realization of life changing proportions. Then we have to want the Helmet off. And often, we don’t know how. That takes us down another road of self discovery. Because we ask for help. And if we truly want help, we get it. Then we have to grow. And that can be positively frightening.
           With the Helmet off, we are more exposed. More naked. More vulnerable. We can see more clearly, hear more clearly. But we are seen and heard more clearly as well. Instead of hiding, we put ourselves out there. Our armor is peeling away. That is very scary for most. But I can say from experience, that the rewards of living with a more open heart and a more open mind are well worth the risks.
           I like the expression that says “A mind is like a parachute. It only works when it’s open.” The same is true for the heart.


    ©2012 Clint Piatelli. All Rights Reserved.

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