It is always here. Instant wellbeing is just waiting for us. It never left us, we just forgot it was there. And it is accessible at any minute of the day if we just notice our temptation to fear, if we see the fear instead of ‘becoming’ the fear, and return to being present in the open space. I do this by noticing my breath, somehow coming back to my body physically takes me out of the mind created scenarios and back into this present moment.
A magical pause is all it takes, to rest in the space between thoughts and breath into that space, aware, awake and still. Just for a moment or two, it is enough time to press the reset button and drop the story. Each time the story arises again, we bring ourselves back to our breath, take that magical pause, and relax with what is happening right now. We do nothing with the thought other than acknowledge it as a thought. It is not the truth, it is a viewpoint, an opinion, it is just a thought. ‘Oh there’s that angry thought again. Hello angry thought’. Its welcomed, not feared, denied or replaced with some positive affirmation. It is just a thought. No need to be scared of it or ashamed of it. Thoughts are random, unpredictable and constant. No need to take them personally! We no longer have to elevate thoughts to the status of ‘the truth’.
I’ve been practising this over and over. I have to. The present is my only safe refuge from the storms of drama that my mind creates. It seems as though life is testing this new way of being for me, with circumstances appearing that are perfectly choreographed and designed to stimulate any hiding fears or anger or worry. And as soon as I have learned to relax with one set of circumstances, and demonstrated that I can be in ease with them, and resist the temptation they present to fear, then the circumstance changes or even gets worse, and becomes even more tempting to worry and fret.
I have to then up my effort of being aware, and practicing over and over coming back to the breath, to being present. I am not denying the thoughts, I allow them, but I have to rest back deeply into the arms of the spacious awareness that contains all and everything, including these thoughts. This increased awareness is the great benefit that adversity bestows on us if we choose to use it in this way.
So I take each one of these circumstances and do the same thing, and nowadays I throw in a little self compassion too for my suffering. That further softens any defensive response that the primitive part of my brain responds with. The fight/flight part of our minds, the so-called ‘reptilian brain’ is a very old evolutionary inheritance that we carry around with us. It has a highly sensitive threat detection system and if we allow in thoughts of impending disaster, it can be stimulated almost immediately to a frenzy and then our bodies become flooded with stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. To apply compassion for ourselves and our suffering when this takes place, is an excellent way of soothing this part of us that feels so easily threatened.
So, I have been pestered by a persistent storyline in my mind the last couple of weeks. About a family member who is angry with me. Wow, my thoughts have been trying to drag me all over the place! And sometimes they have succeeded and I have found myself ranting insanely about this person in my head, throwing insults at them, rehearsing imaginary conversations with them, writing rude letters to them….and feeling really awful after it. That awful feeling, that pain helps me to notice what I am doing to myself, and then I bring myself back to what is happening right here, right now. I ground myself, and drop the story. I am well again, I feel compassion for my suffering, I am safe in the refuge of the present, where all is well.
Another circumstance right now is a big tax bill due yesterday which I have no money to pay at the moment. Another one is due in a few days, and I have suppliers bills outstanding as well as an ongoing hmrc investigation.Whew!
Now in the past this would be enough to have me screaming inside in an agony of ongoing impending doom scenarios, waking up worrying in the middle of the night freaking out, sweating, heart racing. I have done that so often and seen how unhelpful it is to actually pay those bills, that now I am just not going there. I acknowledge the worry about it, ‘hello worry’ and I remain present, and also doing what I can in the present to improve my financial situation.
We can observe and notice our thoughts, and this shows that we are not just our thoughts. We are also the observer, the underlying space of open awareness in which thoughts, feelings and sensations come and go. If we learn to rest back in and as this open awareness then there is no need to come out of it and become distracted or fixated on one or other particular thought feeling or emotion. This open field of awareness underlying all our experience has room for everything, for hmrc investigations, tax bills, thoughts, emotions, sensations, they can all come and go and be noticed by us without any need for us to leave open spacious awareness. We can relax in the safe refuge of nowness all the time and experience the wellbeing that is our birthright.