In this short post, I’d like to offer a teaching that can be very helpful in not losing yourself in what’s happening in your own thoughts and emotions, and in really cultivating a sense of detachment as a trader.
It is particularly useful for us to become more aware of our hard-wired tendency to identify with our thoughts and to relax it because this tendency often causes us to not see our own errors in judgments which leads to unproductive ends.
So, let me just share an analogy with you, and hopefully, it’ll help you understand better the ‘whys and hows’ of detachment.
The Mind Movie
Suppose you go to the theater to watch a movie. You’re there sitting comfortably, and the opening credits suddenly appear on the screen.
You’re getting ready for what’s about to show up, you’re analyzing the sounds and the music.
And then, comes the first scene, and now you’re evaluating the actors, you’re trying to understand the context…
Suppose the movie is especially good, so you quickly forget that you’re watching it. And you get completely immersed in it because it’s just so damn captivating.
Here’s the thing. Your mind… it’s like this movie. It’s a great piece of cinema, so much so that 99% of the time you forget that you’re watching it.
In fact, most people spend most of their lives completely absorbed in this “mind movie.”
That’s because the mind movie is composed of thoughts and they’re served up in a constant stream and there’s no stopping it completely.
And, mind you, it’s anything but an ordinary movie. It’s actually an Oculus Rift – 3D IMAX – full-on Dolby Digital epic motion directly beaming into your head.
And it’s been playing probably since birth.
So, no wonder we’re not even seeing that we’re watching a movie. We’re just so accustomed to it!
On top of that, what makes it so difficult for us to pull ourselves out of the mind movie is that we’re not taught how to do it. Sadly.
Hence, most people live their lives not knowing that there’s an alternative to watching a movie they don’t want to watch – and that alternative doesn’t include dying.
Noticing The Mind Movie
But before we can cultivate detachment and break free from the mind movie, above anything, we must first learn to see that there is a mind movie playing in our heads in the first place and that most of the time we’re lost in it.
The movie can’t be stopped, unfortunately, but, with the former understanding comes the capacity to:
1. Choose which parts of the movie we want to watch — you can say “today, I’m not going to watch this or that part of the movie.”
2. Rewrite parts of the movie – you can change the script so that the movie is more agreeable to watch.
This is the first step to mastery of the mind. It’s awareness of the mind movie. It’s awareness of thoughts.
And this mastery of the mind is the basis for tremendous success in life.
So… how? How do you break free from the mind movie?
Try this… sit comfortably, close your eyes, let your breath settle (you’re not controlling it), and turn your attention within for a few minutes…
Witness your mind – inner narrative, songs playing in your mind, images, memories, planning, projections, etc.
That’s the mind movie.
Sometimes, the movie can be a feel-good family comedy: funny memories, pleasant thoughts, hopeful daydreams….
In these times, the adage “Your mind is your best friend” makes perfect sense.
But other times, the movie is depressingly sad — thoughts of despair, depression, hopelessness, pain, frustration, anger, disappointment, jealousy…
In these times, it’s easy to see how the mind can, in fact, be your worst enemy.
Just observe that.
Watch how the mind movie works.
And with detachment, be careful not to get lost in the content.
Here’s a guided meditation to help you with that:
You can find more of these meditations here.
Now here’s the thing: the fact that you can observe the mind and think about it objectively shows there’s an observer of mind that’s independent of the mind movie.
And that observing quality… nothing gets to it. It’s pure, inherently peaceful, and never entangled in anger, happiness, sadness, frustration… it doesn’t even feel physical pain.
It’s not colored or affected by anything, it’s just a witness, a passive, impartial observer…. naturally detached, naturally peaceful.
Now, imagine what this means in terms of your capacity to trade effectively…
A greater awareness of your thought process can help you not lose yourself in your own inner turmoil (there goes the mind movie again) when things get tough in the market.
But not only that, it can also help you be more disciplined, patient, focused, because now you’re operating from a place of greater discernment and detachment.
And that, my friend, can be a game-changer.
So, do yourself a favor… work on this… not once, not twice… make it a habit. Strengthen your awareness muscle, and I promise you, you’ll be amazed by the results.
Memorable Lines From This Post
Before we can break free from the mind movie, above anything, we must first learn to see that there is a mind movie, to begin with, and that most of the time we’re lost in it.
The first step to mastery of mind. It’s awareness of the mind movie. It’s awareness of thoughts.
A greater awareness of your thought process can help you not lose yourself in your own inner turmoil.