I was sitting in the glorious morning sunshine this morning in the park, the dog lying at my feet the birds tweeting, it was a moment of perfection. And yet my feelings would not cooperate and surrender with this moment of perfection. I felt a resistance present. I said hello to the resistance, the tension felt, the holding back of joy, and breathed a few times slowly. Only thing to do with any feeling is accept it as I have been discovering, they don’t take kindly to being ignored, squashed, or replaced. I felt the ground under my feet, I patted the dog, smelled the air.
I pondered on how our minds are programmed to look for and solve problems, and that is just part of the biological inheritance. I thank that part of me for looking out for me so well. That threat detection capacity that is designed to keep us safe. I find it difficult to relax even when no threats are present and I wondered if I am addicted to problems, and maybe if we all are?! I see post after post on Facebook from friends and the content is about 70-80% problems the see in the world. So I am sitting with my own addiction to detecting problems which is in conflict with a strong sense that everything is perfect the way it is.
I have to consciously take steps to soothe that hyper alert part of me and the anxiety that travels with it. I continuously have to bring myself out of my head and back into the present all day long. Over and over I return to here and now, and mostly I use my body sensations to do it.
Normally I just sense where I am touching the chair I am sitting on, or the ground under my feet. I breathe slowly a few times and enter into the brief space between thoughts. Immediately I relax a little. The other day I put my arms around myself when I was feeling stressed and anxious and the soothing effect of it was instant. I put each hand at the sides of my body with my arms crossed over the front under not over my arms and held my body for a while gently.
At other times I put a hand or maybe both hands gently on my heart area as I feel compassion for myself, and for all I have been through in this life. For all of us, we have all been through a lot of difficult experiences, and I feel compassion for us all together. And we have the constant bombardment from the media and news of all the dangerous and awful things going on and that could happen to us, so many warnings. No wonder our threat detection system is stimulated. This is so constant that many of us just get used to a constant low level sense of danger, stress and anxiety even when sitting on a bench in the sun in the park!
Here we all are on a planet, in these bodies, doing our best with what we have in our hands. I think we are doing really really well. We need to remember how far we have come. I saw a picture of a spiky torture seat in common use in the middle ages earlier and was reminded that we have come a long long way. I often make a conscious decision to bring my attention to find the good and the beautiful in the world, because there is so much of it. And when I have calmed myself enough, I can feel the gratitude returning for what I have, all the resources, the support and the qualities inside that have helped me along, and I thank all of these things.