After a recent session with a client I was moved to ponder more deeply on the question; Why do we fill up our time with busyness? It’s because it makes us feel (or not feel) something… more of something- more important, valuable, powerful, needed, secure. Or indeed avoiding by feeling less of something- angry, sad, disappointed, not good enough.
This is why so often we feel like a hamster on a wheel, doing things on autopilot without being connected to our truth. There’s so much burnout from over commitment and therefore feelings of overwhelm take over. Two of the most common experiences I hear people complain of when I’m supporting clients in their self-realisation process are anxiety and depression, both of which are states caused by being in our heads, over-and projecting into the future or the past. At the extreme end of this pendulum this habitual over-thinking is often diagnosed as manic depressiveness and Bi-polar disorder. The challenge of a diagnosis like this is that it gives the already over activated mind even more to define itself by and in a way closes down on the opportunity for self healing which leads to the reliance that builds on conventional medication. While there is not a judgement around taking the medication route, indeed in some cases, the potential window of relief that medication can offer does allow a person to begin the often more challenging aspects of shifting their experience naturally, such as learning to express emotional energy, meditate, practice present moment awareness etc. In my experience of working with clients who have been on medication, the relief window is often short-lived and can come with more side-effects than benefits. In essence, yes it may be the more challenging route to learn to be emotionally resilient but there’s a benefit that comes with an individual taking personal responsibility for their healing. We all feel stronger and empowered and have a greater sense of self when we experience change through our own conscious choices rather than it appearing that we are reliant on anything or anyone around us.
The paradox is that even if it does appear that we shift into our power because of something, a coach or mentor, a new exercise regime or medication, ultimately it comes down to ourselves choosing that shift to occur. Often it’s because we are not conscious of our choices and where our choices are coming from which is a whole other conversation!
Starting the process of self healing and detaching from the limited thoughts in the head can be daunting at first, as is anything that is new and brings change. That’s why it is so important that you have support whilst undertaking this journey. Its interesting to me that whenever I look back over my life and acknowledge powerful shifts in my awareness and life feels like it expands, it has always been after a period of often quite extreme challenge and change. Ive observed this for many other people too and so it begs the question, why then should we fear the challenge of change? why, when we have many examples of joyous expansion following a time of challenge and hardship would we avoid finding the comfortably uncomfortable edge where so much happens?
Partly its because our ego mind attaches to the roles we play, the stuff we accumulate and the relationships we have and defines itself by them. It holds onto things for the fear of losing power or credibility, in fact it fears annihilation if it doesn’t have these things. It will conjure up the most amazingly complex ideas about itself to ensure its preservation. It clings to the experiences it deems positive just in case it never has that experience again and denies the supposed negative experiences in case its fragile bubble of positivity gets burst. This fragility is why it is so vigilant. It is always on high alert looking for anything that comes along to question its validity and is the master of shape-shifting. Morphing into whatever is required in the moment for it to stay relevant.
At some point it must be asked, why would something that is real, that truly exists, feel the constant need to stay alive and relevant? After all, we never need to defend anything that we know is true for us do we? Even if we are faced with a million doubters seeking proof, when its something we know and believe, the doubt is irrelevant and washes over us like water off a ducks back.
So how do we ‘tame the mighty beast’, the ‘master of trickery’, the silver tongued devil in our head with its 1000 voices?
Becoming conscious of our choices, our motivations, our beliefs and thoughts about ourselves, others and the world in general is a large part of the process. Recognising the mind and its cleverness from a position of a conscious observer or witness is essential. Who you are, beneath the veil of the ego mind doesn’t communicate in voice, it moves through us as a feeling. This silent witness, ever present, sits below the noise and complaining of the ego mind. It has no preference, no attachment to things as the ego mind does, doesn’t live with the glasses of judgement on. It just is. And the power of being aware in this state is that the ego mind can no longer have the same power over you. Its like lighting a candle in a large dark stadium, one flame banishes the darkness regardless of how much darkness there appears to be.
Another way to help unhook from the illusion of the ego mind is by staying in a state of challenge. Finding the edge between comfortable and uncomfortable and being mindful not to fall into complacent ease where the comfort seeking missile, which our ego mind is, makes its hideout. Challenge the status quo in your life. Open mindedness and a willingness to explore the multitude of experiences we have available to us in our physical body. Building up our resiliance to our self-imposed limitations.
Then theres the practice of present moment awareness. The here and now. BEing, fully present in our body without the need to change what is occurring. Bringing that voiceless, observing presence inside and resting with whatever is so. Learning to drop beneath the noise and static of the mind through meditation, pondering. Feeling into the subtle aliveness that courses through our physical body, our consciousness which inhabits our form. This is where it can become important to be mindful of your surroundings and the company you keep as until you are familiar with dropping out of the story and its convincing voices, it is so easy to become pulled back in and distraction reigns. It often helps to be building your practice with other like minded people. Eventually though, it becomes important to be able to access this space without the need for any outside support and as Eckhart Tolle says, meditation is a tool that you use until you no longer need it and your life becomes a meditation.