“Krausersatthva, how do I find vibe?” asks the intermediate
grasshopper daygamer. “I have looked hard for it but haven’t found it.”
“Where have you looked?” I ask.
“I read some books on inner game. They tell me many things about my mind, about the conversations in my head and they try to get me to correct my self talk.”
“When you engage in self talk, who is it that is talking? And to whom do they speak?”
“Well…….” the intermediate daygamer thinks, screwing up his eyes and putting a finger to his lip. “It’s my observing ego talking to my base self.”
“So what is it that watches your observing ego talking to your base self? Who is observing the conversation of the observing ego?”
“I’m not sure that’s the point” he replies. “We could call it a theoretical structure to represent what’s going on in my mind. It need not be literally true. The point is that by understanding the dialogue I can gain some kind of control over it, and steer it in a better direction.”
“And how do you do that?” I ask.
“I learn better self talk. The inner game books give me new things to tell myself.”
“I see” I nod sagely. “So your answer to the problem of being in your head – that is to say of a noisy chaotic self talk that creates anxiety and thus prevents you finding vibe – is to attempt to attain greater control over self talk, and to shackle it under even more conscious control?”
“Yes. That’s mental mastery”
“Is it?” I ask, wishing I had a long beard to stroke thoughfully. “Is that not like trying to calm disturbed waters by swiping your palm across them?”
The intermediate daygamer looks disturbed. “No, no. It’s not like that at all. It’s a more positive mindset.”
I sip my green tea. A gong sounds somewhere up in the hill, probably at a temple. I decide it is time to nudge my conversation partner in a different direction.
“The problem with finding your vibe is that you can’t find it, because it isn’t there. The very act of trying to analyse, control, and shackle your internal thoughts is precisely what creates the disturbance, and with it the anxiety.”
I’m enjoying this. I continue.
“The way to find your vibe is to look so hard for it that you eventually realise it isn’t there and then give up looking. It’s precisely by turning over every little corner of your brain and rattling off every silly mindset mantra that you realise your vibe isn’t to be found inside your head. It’s only when you’ve looked everywhere there and not found it that you can be confident it isn’t there at all.”
“I’ve done as much as I can. I’ve followed all the advice out there. My vibe still sucks. Sometimes it comes, but usually it doesn’t” says the intermediate daygamer. He looks like he’s about to cry.
“And that means you can stop suffering” I say. “You’ve done the work and you’ve suffered enough. Your penance is over and you can stop punishing yourself for not having good vibe. You are ready to let go and accept the vibe was there the whole time – but it’s out here.” I wave expansively at the world around us. “It’s in the air, it’s in the feel of the sun on your face, and in your connection to the street. It’s in the very absence of all these futile attempts to develop your mindset.”
“You know what” he says. “I feel like the pressure is off.”
“Great. That’s the best time to hit the street. That’ll be £50 please.”