One of the causes of suffering in our lives has to do in great part with how we see what surrounds us.
Fortunately there is a way to diminish that suffering by understanding the difference between “This” and “Now”.
Many people allow their minds to run their lives not knowing that the mind is just a tool. If you don’t know how to control your mind it will be very easy to get you through all the range of emotions based on what thoughts, positive or negative, may come to it.
If you are depressed, sad or living with guilt and regrets, it’s very likely that your mind is taking you to your past; especially to those negative moments of your past. Or to those circumstances and moments in which you feel hopeless and powerless.
If you are living with anxiety, nervousness and fear, it’s very likely that your mind is taking you to your future; but not the good future though but to what can go wrong in your future. Or to those circumstances and moments in which you feel doubt and insecurity.
But you don’t have to play those games of your mind. You are the boss. You are the one controlling that mind. You choose how to feel and what thoughts to pay attention to.
‘This’ is a qualification or perception of what you interpret at this moment such as “This is what’s happening to me now”, “This is what I’m going through”, “This will always happen to me”, “This is the life I was given.”
The interpretation is always dependent on your emotional state. If you feel sad, you're going to see what’s around you very differently than if you feel angry or hopeful or excited.
When your mind is bringing you more thoughts for you to stay depressed, sad or angry, you’re using what you see, hear, smell and touch to feed those undesirable thoughts.
Stop giving value to those thoughts. Stop giving them an interpretation. Stop giving them attention and be aware of what’s going on.
Instead of thinking whatever comes to your mind, especially when it doesn’t feel good to think those thoughts, focus on the present. Focus on the ‘Now’ until those thoughts are no longer hurting you.
You can do so by stop paying attention to your negative thoughts, thoughts that make you feel bad, thoughts that don't feel good to think, and immediately turn your attention to your breath and your body.
Notice how the air comes in and out of your nostrils. Pay attention to the air coming in and out of your nostrils. How the air feels inside your nostrils as it comes in and how the warm air feels on your skin when it comes out. If your mind keeps thinking while you're paying attention to your breath, add counting. Count while you breath. Count 4 seconds to inhale, 4 seconds to hold your breath, and 5 seconds to exhale, all while you still keep your attention to the air coming in and out.
You can also focus on how your hands feel or focus on any other part of your body that may be feeling warmth and stay with that awareness.
Can't feel anything? Can't feel the warmth? Jump a few times and when you stop pay attention to the movement inside your body. Feel the sensation of millions of tiny bubbles inside of you moving at super fast speeds.
Can't jump? With the fingers of one hand touch the fingers of the other hand as if you have never seen them before. Pay attention to how each finger looks and pay attention to how touch feels on that finger. Take your time with the first hand and once you're done with it, touch the other hand. You may even extend the touch to the palm of your hand and arm. Do what feels good to you.
Once you do this for about 2 minutes, the thoughts that kept you in a negative emotional state will begin to subside and you’re going to begin feeling better. Just make sure that you pay attention to a new more positive subject so your mind can generate better feeling thoughts.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." –The Buddha
Not feeding your thoughts is different from not feeling strong emotions. When you are feeling an emotion so strong, I recommend you to allow yourself to feel it until it dissipates. This also takes about 2 minutes.
I will be writing more about this topic in another post, for now just learn to recognize the difference between This and Now.
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