In ''Taking Time to Connect -To The Present' we explored some ways to bring ourselves back into the present and reduce the tendency to worry about the past or what may or may not happen in the future. This blog will look at some more helpful practices from Lama Marut and Cindy Lee, and Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron, to help bring us back into the present.
As we said last week there is no fear or worry when we bring our mind into the present - where we are now and what is happening now! The only exception is if we are unfortunately in the middle of a disastrous situation. We perpetuate our fear and worry when we go over past events, or worry about the future with scenarios about what may or may not happen.
Here are some more practices you may find useful to stop this tendency to disconnect and ruin our present state of mind, with worry about the past and future. As I said, they certainly have been of great benefit to me, as the model making mishaps continue.
3. It's Like This Now
When something unwanted happens or when we don't get what we want we can have a tendency to wish it was or wasn't that way. My mind can protest with cries of 'you should not have, said that to me, packed the camping utensils up that way, or it shouldn't be raining on our camping road trip!' Guess what? - it has been said, done and is raining. No amount of me complaining about it or wishing it was different from how it is, is going to help. Though somehow I think it is!! All I am doing is ruining my present and future peace of mind. So what might be a more helpful response?
I find 'It's like this now' is a very useful thing to say to myself. This reminds me to come to the present, rather than into the past or future with protests about how it should or should not be. So, having reminded myself 'It's like this now' what is my wisest response? And as you might guess it is not to protest about it, to blame or criticise myself or others, to or worry . Kindness and compassion both to myself and to others is always most helpful. So it is raining on our camping trip! What is my wisest response? And as you might guess it is not to blame, criticise or protest, but rather accept and enjoy the sound of the rain on the tent, warm and dry in my sleeping bag! The 3D model has come crashing to the ground breaking into pieces! What is my wisest response? Again, it is not to blame, criticise or protest, but rather accept, give a hug and get the glue.
Another useful thing I like to remember is - worry is never any use. If you can do something about a situation, do it and don't worry, and if you can't do anything about it, don't worry. No worry either way.
4. Thich Nhat Hanh - Breath Practice
Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing Out, I smile
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment
This is another helpful thing we can say to ourselves when we catch our mind going to that unhelpful spot of worry about the past or future. The breath is like our anchor in the present moment and going there can help us not get caught up with fear and worry. I can remember my mother telling me to breath and count to 10 -wise advice to calm down.
5. 'The ABC 3 Breaths' Breathing Practice
Another practice adapted from Pema Chodron, I like to call 'The ABC 3 Breaths' uses the breath to bring us into the present. When our mind goes to that unhelpful reactive spot and we are tempted to protest, blame, criticise or hurt ourselves or others we can do ABC -
A - Aware of feelings - don't push away or react but allow them
B - Breathe - take 3 mindful breaths (don't speak or act)
C - Connect with loving kindness and respond from that wise spot.
This practice saves me from many unhelpful reactions!! And has been of enormous benefit to me over the past weeks. A word of warning though, being aware of and accepting a particular situation or feeling does not mean we push it away, deny it is there or overindulge it either. We acknowledge it, breathe, and connect to that wise spot instead of reacting from an unhelpful habit. It is never wise to suppress our feelings or overindulge them either. With awareness and acceptance we can work with them skilfully. This practice helps to keep me connected to the present, myself and the other person.
Have a great week
Thank you all once again for your continued support, friendship and generosity.
Kind Regards and Best Wishes