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The Fly In The Room

Dealing with the thoughts that keep buzzing around your head.

Sometimes when you are sat in a room doing something quiet and relaxing, like reading, writing or meditating, a fly enters the room. There is no saying how the fly has entered the room as all of the windows and doors are closed. Nevertheless, he’s in the room now.

He lets you know he’s there too by doing a flyby as close to one of your ears as he possibly can, without endangering his wellbeing. He buzzes loudly as he passes by, it sounds like he’s carrying a pair of powerful hair clippers and is attempting to give you a short back and sides.

Once your awareness has been pricked by his presence, he goes silent so you think he’s gone. But, he’s lulling you into a false sense of security, and he waits until you settle back to the task in hand, and then attempts a second and more daring kamikaze journey past your head.

There’s simply no way that you can return to whatever you were doing until he has now been ushered once and for all out of the house, and any potential re-entry points have been sealed off permanently.

There are several types of fly that can torment you in various ways. You have those really little piddly ones that are so light you could blow them away, they are fairly harmless but still annoying. There are those mid-size ones, that resemble a small raisin but with wings, these are probably the worst of all because they are nimble and fast and make a very loud buzz when they fly. Then there are the big flies, that often resemble a small bird. Although these are unsightly, they are overweight and sluggish and easily ushered away.

Now I am one of those muddled humanitarians who believes that all life is sacred, even the tiny speck of consciousness that is this stupid, annoying fly. So, I have to do everything in my power to remove him without causing him any harm whatsoever.

This isn’t a pretty process. It initially involves frantic swiping, just to let him know I’m on his case, but with no real intention to cause him harm. In my head, tiring him out seems a reasonable possibility and so I chase him around the room until even I am tired. I figure that if I am tired, he is covering more mileage pro-rata, and so he should be somewhat fatigued by now.

He is. He rests on the window. I can hear him catching his breath. I think I can even see a little patch of condensation from his warm, tired breath on the cold window pane.

Now I employ the cup and paper method. I trap him in a cup (easier said than done, and can take anything up to ten minutes, patience is a vital attribute at this stage). Once trapped, I slide a piece of paper under the cup and then carry him over to the window and release him back to the wild, with a small and silent prayer, “I wish you well young fly, but never must you cross this threshold again.” He looks back and winks.

Peace and normality resume inside the house.

Now with all that said and done, I can apply the exact same description for what happens when certain thoughts enter into my head and then buzz around, often for days.

A thought (fly) enters into my mind. It is usually some form of irrational paranoia, worry or concern but can also be a classic case of hypochondria.

The types of metaphoric fly that can get in your head can vary as much as the real life flies. There are the little niggly thoughts that come and go, and though you are aware of them, they don’t really cause you too much concern. The mid-size thoughts are troublesome though. They buzz away inside your head, distracting you from any decent activity. They hide at times and wait patiently, lulling you into believing they have gone, and then jump out from nowhere and hijack your sense of wellbeing, like a hostage.

You have to apply the same process to the metaphoric thought fly as you do the real-life fly. A patient process of paper and cup. Patiently wait until the thought has stopped racing around, after the unfortunate mental swiping process has finally tired you out. When starved of its frantic energy, the thought can be gently ushered away through a process of loving kindness and gentle acceptance, and then released to another world, hopefully never to darken your door again.

Of course, if you aren’t as karmically neurotic as me, there’s always fly spray.

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