What do you do about “Mind Spam”?
Let’s talk about mind spam. Yikes! What’s mind spam? We often see ads for Spam—the canned meat product. We are not talking about it. Spam in your email is a common thing these days and some spam comments come into blogs. But what about mind spam—unsolicited thoughts, feelings, and reactions?
This morning when I started working on this blog, I opened the Dashboard, as usual, to deal with the comments. Often I get great comments about the articles I’ve posted. Occasionally, I get comments by someone who thought the article was wrong, needed changing, or just didn’t measure up. I welcome and appreciate both. And for a while I was getting spam. Spam, as most of you know and are all too familiar with, is unsolicited bulk messages, usually indiscriminate advertising.
For example I received this really nice message in the comment section of the blog and it had approximately 20 links in it to all kinds of places:
I want to show my appreciation to you just for rescuing me from this particular dilemma. As a result of scouting through the search engines and seeing concepts which were not beneficial, I was thinking my life was over. Being alive minus the solutions …
Nice, huh? It was a comment to a Holly Clegg recipe for a shrimp, avocado salad and an attempt by a major product brand to get their links on my blog. I sent it to the spam folder.
Here’s another one that comments on an article posted in 2011—like they just read a 6 year old post! Yeah, right! It, too, was posted by a huge name brand product that could easily afford all kinds of legitimate advertising (and you can be sure that I won’t buy their product again when there are so many great alternatives). Here’s what they said that had nothing to do with the article:
This website online is known as a walk-via for all of the information you wished about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll undoubtedly discover it… (It had a large number of links in it and, of course, I sent it to the spam folder)
Sometimes the spam is funny and I get a laugh from it before I hit the delete key. But generally I consider spam to be a nuisance—more than that, I consider it an invasion of my space, a violation of my blog, and a damage to this piece of Internet real estate. It is the same, to me, as theft—they steal space that does not belong to them. It wasn’t too bad when only two or three came in each day but when they come in 50s and 60s it gets to be an annoyance and I need to find a better spam filter. (I DID find one and the problem is solved)
But the thought came to me that we have spam in our lives, too—unsolicited thoughts, feelings, and reactions—indiscriminate input that diverts us from our purpose and takes up space in our mind.
Mind spam often invades our meditation, for example. We sit down with all the best intentions to quiet our mind and go within. And, before we know it, the grocery list begins to come through or what we’re going to cook for dinner. That problem at work were wrestling with floats through with a couple of possible solutions. What we’ll wear on the big Saturday night date or who will win the game are also great topics for what I call “mind spam.”
But, we don’t have to be meditating for mind spam to invade—it can come in at all times during any occasion. While we’re driving, while we’re in one of those long committee meetings, or sitting in a classroom, attending a church service, or—well, almost any place at any time. We keep trying to get our concentration back but “spam thoughts” just keep coming.
So what can you do about it?
Start by becoming aware of when and where “mind spam” is at its peak. Is it when you’re tired, when you in a situation that doesn’t get you fully engaged? Perhaps it occurs when you’re feeling uncomfortable with what is happening around you. Sometimes awareness solves most of the problem. For examply, you try to get more sleep or you make an effort to focus on the task.
You are the only one who knows if it’s a problem you and what you can do to remedy it. Sometimes it simply gives your mind a break—allows it a brief escape and time to recoup and regroup. However, if it’s interfering with your job performance or important relationships, then you may need to take steps to break the habit. The most successful tool I’ve found is brain wave entrainment. This is not a commercial but a suggestion. Google “brain wave entrainment” and find something that speaks to you. My personal favorite is Project Meditation.
Find what works for you. It took me a great deal of time and effort to get rid of the spam coming to this blog. It will take time and effort eliminate mind spam as well, and it certainly will be worth it.