It is the nature of the mind to be constantly in motion. Thoughts come un-abided and wreak havoc on the mind. A great Yogi once said that his “disobedient thoughts are scattered like birds before a hunter”.
One key to controlling thoughts and calming the mind is the breath. Have you noticed how the first thing one says to anyone in a panic or in an agitated state is “calm down – breathe deeply”? That is the key. Controlling the breath helps in controlling the mind.
When we face real or perceived danger, our breath changes. It comes in short gasps. Our heart beats faster and our body tenses up. To reverse this process, we need to deepen our breath and slow it down. Breathe deeply and hold the breath for a couple of seconds before exhaling slowly. Repeat this a few times and your body starts to relax. Practice this daily and you will learn to cope with it when the situation arises.
Practicing meditation is the key to unlocking our lives.
When meditating, it is difficult to control thoughts. They come and go like the wind. You may find yourself replaying scenes from the past or plan the future. You may worry about an event that may happen. You may imagine different versions of a possible event. This is basically the “fear” attribute of your brain gearing up. Fear is an illusion – most of the time.
Fear is an illusion – most of the time. There are times when, for instance, you are faced with real danger – fire or a building collapsing or an accident or facing a wild animal – when fear actually helps the body prepare for action. However, that fear is different from the fear that most of us face every day. Financial issues, relationship issues, and many more situations in our lives are not real threats. They are illusions in the mind.
Losing a job or not having money, you say, is as real as facing a wild animal or trapped in a burning building. How can it be an illusion? Agreed. Let us analyze it then.
If you feel that you are about to lose your job, you start to worry about the consequences. No job means no pay. No pay means no way to pay the bills. Perhaps you have a family that depends on you. Perhaps you have debts that need servicing. Perhaps you will end up losing the things that you hold dear to you – your car, your possessions or perhaps even your house. You get the idea.
Now, when do you think these things would happen? In the future right? What about ta the moment you are thinking about these possible scenarios? Each of these things that may happen can only happen in the present moment – when they happen. What is happening right now? The only thing happening at the moment is that you are considering the possibility that you may lose your job. As you move from moment to moment, your only concern has to be that moment and what “action” you can take in that moment.
As you move from moment to moment, your only concern has to be that moment and what “action” you can take in that moment. When you and if you are called into your HR office to be given the pink slip, you take that slip in that moment. But till then, you are at this moment. You would be better off considering what your options are – is there something you can do salvage your job? What else can you do to mitigate the risk? Perhaps it is time to analyze your skills and see if there is a possibility of starting your own business. Can you start looking around for another job?
However, what most people do is to panic and freeze up. They either replay the past with regrets and “should have” scenarios or play the future again and again of whatever they fear happening. This constant fear will block the energy in the spine and lead to a host of problems – both mental and physical.
Why be afraid of something that has not happened yet? I am not saying you should not think about the future and be reckless. What I am saying is that you should not worry about the future. Whenever a thought comes to your mind about the future – become aware of it. See if you can start to identify thoughts that are nothing but movies clips of the future playing out. Once you start identifying them, you can start to letting such thoughts go.
This is the first step to progressing in your meditation practice.