And choice. One leads to fear and suffering, and the other leads to the victory of being bigger than our fear. To listen to the fearful thoughts or to decide instead to see them for what they are, just the comings and goings of the general dynamic random fray of life, the movement of being alive, thoughts, emotions, sensations, all dynamically changing each moment.
To get caught up in them leads to experiencing being embedded for a while in fear with all the physiological responses which can take time to subside. The body generates fight or flight responses, adrenaline and cortisol, believing it is under threat. And that can happen just from believing a scary thought is true. The primitive part of the brain which is over sensitive to threat has taken charge.
And yet we are not just our primitive brains, its responses can be subsumed by the part of us that can soothe these primitive responses. By being kind to ourselves. ‘Oh there is a scary thought, hello, I hear you and I give myself a little love in my suffering’.
‘May we be safe, may we be peaceful, may be well, may we be kind to ourselves’ is a meditation I do several times a day. Every time it soothes me and reminds me that there is nothing to fear. And that is a much more fun place to occupy.
I noticed this morning that some thoughts sort of stalked to me and tried to gain traction. Thoughts of impending insurmountable difficulty and financial ruin. They come regularly and seem to choose times of the day I am more vulnerable, like if I wake in the middle of the night, or early morning as I am rousing.
I put on Chris Germer‘s guided meditation and I am restored, comforted, I remember it is okay. Here is a link to a variety of his guided meditations which I often use. And here is a lovely little article about how self compassion can help us with difficult emotions and gives a short exercise.