When things go wrong
You know that feeling… say, when you float out of a really amazing, transcendent yoga class, for example, when you’re feeling super centred and everything is aligned? You feel solid, deeply grounded, unshakeable, invincible, totally calm. You have such clarity, you feel full of love and connected to all things and beings and you react so mindfully and sweetly to everyone, and feel boundless compassion, even for that jerk in traffic?
I call that feeling being “blissed out.” It’s lovely and delicious — and it’s just not sustainable. It’s just another state, and all states are transient.
The truth is, no one is like that 100% of the time (not even that yoga teacher that seems to always be glowing). If they say they are, they’re fucking lying.
But here’s the thing. The point is not to be in this state of blissful tranquility where you’re buzzing and high and it’s all easy and nothing ever bothers you and you react perfectly and with compassion to every jerk that crosses your path.
The aim is to be okay, come what may. Enjoy the buzz when you’re feeling it, (don’t deny yourself of pleasure), but also be okay when it wears off. Enjoy it when everything is going well, and be okay when things go “wrong” (on the outside or on the inside). The aim is to be okay when the inner landscape is not rainbows and butterflies.
This is what Mindfulness has to offer. With practice, we get better at watching the content of our mind as it fluctuates, without reacting to it, fighting it, trying to change or control it, or judging it. We notice when we’re in a good mood and thoughts are positive. We notice when we’re in a bad mood and thoughts are negative. We notice when we are feeling connected and patient with difficult people. We notice when we are irritated and impatient with them. We just notice. We don’t congratulate ourselves when we’re feeling good. We don’t make ourselves feel bad or guilty when we are feeling bad or having negative thoughts about others. We just observe. And that space between the observer and the thoughts and feelings — that makes all the difference. All of a sudden, in that space, there is some freedom. There is choice. (And we can act deliberately, guided by an inner wisdom, rather than re-acting on auto-pilot, a slave to the mind and its thoughts.)
We are not the thoughts or feelings. We are not the irritation or fear or anger or sadness. We are not the contents of our mind. We are over here, watching it all arise (and pass, as it inevitably does) like the ever-changing weather. And here, in this place, we are okay.
My intention for this week is to give less of a voice to the thoughts. To take them less seriously.
Because that’s all they are: Thoughts (that weave into stories that give rise to feelings).
Ideas Self-limiting beliefs Anxiety, worry Fear Regret Anger Memories Plans Rules to live by All those should’s
Call them what you will. All the same. Just thoughts — most of which are utterly unnecessary and cause us a lot of suffering.
We can instead choose to take a pause, step back and be the knower of the thoughts.
We can rest in the awareness behind it all, and chuckle at that chatter, all that drama…
Don’t believe everything you think!