When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.-Viktor Frankl
With all the techniques that I have learned over the years, there are still experiences that throw me off balance. These are the times when I fall into the sleep of the illusion. I allow the pendulum of duality to swing to the negative and permit my thoughts to start snowballing about the injustices and stupidities of life and the world. I lose control of my imagination and ultimately my state of being. I engage in a monologue with an imaginary scenario playing out a drama on the stage of my mind. All the time I am forgetting that I have the power to change the story.
Instead, I cruise along thinking I have control of the situation by playing out this imaginary play in my mind. It’s a horrid little drama filled with worst case scenarios, unsavoury characters and the dominant underlying emotions are fear, anger and worry. The worst part of this is that when I catch myself I know I am using my imagination to create more of that which I say I do not want. Yet, somehow I remain unconscious and fall back into old patterns of reiteration. I forget about the power of now. I lose the gratitude of the moment and get lost in past happenings, old moments influencing the present, clouding my judgement and projecting a future filled with a drama I do not want.
Now this is not a 24/7 use of my imagination or the state of being I occupy. I have more good moments than bad. It is just that these bad moments have me using my imagination and creating a state of being where I am a caught in the emotions of the play. Times when I know the storyline is not serving me and instead of watching the reality show, I participate. I know the techniques to change my state of mind; yet, I get sucked into participating in these absurd storylines. I connect into the vibrations of the mind parasites. I become attuned to the negative thoughts streams floating by in the ether connecting with me because of the vibration I am emitting.
Eventually I realize these monologues are playing out unconsciously and I awaken to the negative drama I am creating. I recognize I am riding the negative and drowning in a sea of irrational thoughts. I awaken to the reality that all change begins with me and it must begin with a continuous effort to be alert to my thoughts. It is at these points in my life, old techniques I have learned, used and left years ago all of a sudden pop into my mind.
The first words were a quote from Stuart Wilde, “The way things are, is the way things are. Accept that. By doing so; it sets you free.” Now it is was circulating back through my mind and telling me that I can’t change if I am running up against them. My way out of the illusion was to change my perception of the experience. Lose the emotions attached to it and understand that nothing remains the same. I have no control over other people; I only have control over my perceptions. I cannot change the past but I can change the future by remaining firmly rooted in using my moments to my highest good.
In order to change my perception, I had to come back to my breathing. A change in your state of being begins with your breathing and your awareness in your breathing. Chose your breath and you chose your state of mind. They are connected. Since my breathing was shallow, it was apparent I was no longer taking in life and in my struggle to control the situation I was holding my breath. This set up a ripple effect which affected my mindset and physical stress levels. Once again, I couldn’t just meditate for thirty minutes. I had to become alert to my breathing patterns throughout the day.
The next technique that floated through my mind is an old technique I learned in the 1980s. It is a simple technique that involves checking in with the self throughout the day. It is useful when you find yourself heading down a negative pathway or when you are in the midst of one. Of course once again you have to implement to benefit. Begin by asking yourself: “What time is it?” and then answer, “The time is now.” Ask: “Where am I?” Answer: “I am here.” You may find that these pauses will alert you to a dialogue within which is not serving you. At these points, consciously make the effort to change the storyline.
Cull the thoughts that are not serving you. Start by doing an inventory. Spend a day really listening to what is going on in your head. Becoming aware of how you are using your imagination sounds simple but it is no easy task. You have to be vigilant and learn to redirect your thinking. Move your focus to a different subject. Reach for a better feeling thought.