I’ve been enjoying the tremendous benefits of mindfulness since I first started meditating in summer 2014. We talk about it here and there on the blog and I wanted to bring it up again today, because I really think it helps so much with life!
First of all, if you are reading this and you suffer from anxiety, you should give meditation a try. It is proven by solid scientific research to alleviate anxiety and depression- in addition to tons of other benefits. Honestly the only benefit I ever cared about was alleviating my anxiety 🙂
I have decades of fearful reactions and negative thought patterns to undo, so I never run out of things to work on! Learning to dis-identify from all these old thoughts is what I am doing in my life every day! And sitting in meditation for a few minutes slows you down and helps you get in touch with your real self, so that you can start to do this:)
The other day I was just going about my chores, doing laundry at one point, and when I opened the dryer, a spring broke and the door just flung open. I jumped a mile with such a startle response. This is how I live when I am not being mindful- I am tensed up without even realizing it. So much so that opening the dryer door can make me gasp!
I used to think I just had super duper reflexes. Because, if you hit my knee with a mallet to check reflexes, it flies up in the air like a rocket. That is not a coincidence. I know that is because I have always lived my life so tightly wound up.
So watching my daily thoughts, reactions, and behavior patterns is very interesting.
Because watching yourself have fearful thoughts without letting those thoughts take you over is how you undo it.
Just watching your thoughts and emotions in general is interesting.
Earlier in the week I was at the gym, in the same room I was the other day when I was in a weird mood. And that show off girl was there again. This time I wasn’t anywhere near her. And I wasn’t in a fearful, contracted gloomy mood. What a difference being in a different head space can make!
But the real challenge was driving into work yesterday
Driving into work yesterday was the toughest point in my week. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I had all sorts of negative thoughts about the work day that lay ahead of me. I was agitated while meditating and then getting ready for work. by the time I was driving in, I was a mess. I was convinced I would not be able to handle being at work. It was a horrible, scary helpless way to feel. I tried to listen in to my Eckhart Tolle CD The Power of Now, but I had too much fear inside. I couldn’t concentrate on anything but how horrible I felt.
And this is how I undid the fear
I turned off the CD and said aloud “Holy shit I feel horrible!” As I continued to drive, I realized I needed to focus my attention elsewhere, and that is what I did. (And by the way, I have had that exact fearful thought of “not being able to handle being at work” many, many times. It is an old recycled thought).
I did my slow, mindful breathing. I looked- really looked at all the nature around me- the early morning light and the trees all around me all getting ready to come alive again with the spring.
Now I know when I am in the anxiety state how sticky the mind is. It wants to draw me in and keep me in fear. I know this- and I know that with focused attention away from the thoughts, they go away.
I continued to focus only on my breathing and what I could see on the drive. I kept on breathing and looking. Focus. And all at once I remembered- I am connected to everything alive. There is one consciousness in this realm and I am one expression of it. I forget how connected I am all the time, when my fearful mind takes over. It tells me through negative thoughts that I am to be afraid, that I am isolated, or different somehow.
I was so grateful to remember not to take my mind so seriously.
Most of what it spouts off about is nonsense. As someone who has studied the workings of the mind for years, I know this to be true!
So in that moment, I was able to dis-identify from my negative thought stream and rise above it. I was anchored in my breathing and by looking at and taking in the nature around me.
I stopped at a gas station and while I was filling up my tank, I just felt the coldness of the air and was so grateful for my sense perceptions. The smell of the gas, the sounds of the cars and trucks whizzing by me. I was so grateful to be in the Now and not off somewhere in the fear-based mind.
I went into work grateful and thoroughly present. The fearful energy was dissipating out of me, so I was wobbly and shaky walking in. But I was so very happy. I felt so triumphant to have gotten out of my mind! 😀
This is what I wished I remembered to do last Friday when I went out to lunch with my girlfriends. I was totally caught up in my mind that day, and all the negativity and fear. And it ruined my day!
All of our fearful thoughts that bring anxiety are old, recycled thought patterns. Have you ever noticed that?
That’s all they are. Broken records that aren’t real. If we don’t listen in and let them take over us, they have absolutely no power over us.
How was your week? Was your head in a good place? If it wasn’t, can you see how dis-identifying from negative thoughts could make things better?
I wish you peace,