Experiencing & Connecting with Reality Part 3 (2023)
As mentioned in part 2, meditation can come in many forms. You don't have to be in a quiet room to meditate, though it can certainly help to begin with, just to be able to be accustomed to the silence around you and enjoy a similar level of serenity internally. Of course, as you sit in silence, you will begin to hear many other sounds that fill that silence, where you can inactively acknowledge and 'observe' these noises and continue to take deep breaths. 'An entire sea of water can't sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship' - Goi Nasu; this is where it is important to not let negative influences get in, which includes our own overthinking tendencies. It's fine if it's loud on the outside, so long as it's tranquil on the inside; imagine meditating near a construction site, where you focus on your breath, enjoy your inner peace, as you allow the noises of the outside spill around you. The same goes with our wild imaginations and anxieties; imagined thoughts absolutely require freedom from the mind.
Meditation is a way for us to remain or return to a state of calm. When you think you don't have time to do it, that's usually when you need to do it the most, especially when you are at work, inundated with emails, phone calls and other demands of the day that require your attention. Having worked in high pressure environments in a variety of industries, it is so important that we take small and regular breaks to go outside and take a few deep breaths and there are so many benefits from doing just this. Often, walking through a set of doors can make us forget why we went into a room in the first place as our brains can reset; we can use this to our advantage. Especially in a place of work during busy times, we can be spread so thinly, where our attention is everywhere; just going outside and taking a few deep breaths can really help us to refocus this and be aware of our current state of being, such as when the last time we ate something was or how hydrated we are. It's also important to have empathy; whenever someone at work for instance says something that is off key, which would irritate you, sometimes it's because of redirected aggression from what they are probably going through and is most likely not personal. Regardless of their intentions, you always have a choice in how you respond.
We can get so worked up, where we may end up losing objectivity completely. Remember that temporary problems do not require permanent solutions. When you argue with someone, chances are you will say things that you may come to regret once you have calmed down and you may even think that had you been calm, those are things you wish you wouldn't have said, which is why it's so important that we catch ourselves in the moment. If it costs you your peace, it is too expensive. However, after an argument or heated exchange or any other event that has caused you stress, you're more likely to be too hard on yourself or be too quick to anger if you reflect too soon after. This is why it's important to take time out to be meditative first before being reflective so that we can be objective.
When it comes to being overwhelmed, a lot of the time, we just have to be acutely aware of our own state. When things become overwhelming, we often ask ourselves 'wait when did that happen? How did that all happen so quickly?', when it had probably been building up for a while and we just weren't aware of its effects until we got to the boiling point. That's why it's so important to put yourself first, take time out for yourself, even if it's just a couple minutes to go outside and detach and take a few deep breaths; you can only donate money if you have money; you can only give time if you have time; therefore, you should only give if you first have yourself, so always put yourself first.
It comes down to making sure that we're still taking care of ourselves; still eating, staying hydrated, sleeping, meditating, training etc., so whenever something outside of our control happens, at least we're able to deal with it whilst our bodies and minds are taken care of. If we don't eat, drink, sleep, meditate or train, we feel rushed around and will be less equipped to deal with the pressures of our surroundings.
If you can handle yourself, you can always have a positive impact and influence over the outcome of the situation. For instance, you may not be able to control the traffic, but you can certainly deal with how you handle it; you have to sit in traffic regardless of how you feel, so you may as well find a positive and productive way to spend the time as opposed to becoming more worked up over the situation.
It's easier said than done, but a worthwhile practice of being objective and meditative, which is why we can't rush the things we want to last; this is why it's essential that we take time for ourselves.
I might write more on this another time, though I've been meaning to write this for years and only finally getting round to it!