“Practice creative anticipation, that power of positive expectation. Have confidence that you can draw the best not the worst too you.”
From the book Positive thinking everyday – Norman Vincent Peale.
I arrived at mums to find a profusion of boxes, plastic and cardboard overflowing, motor cycle helmet, motor bike, cardboard, things boxed in profusion. and a strange man doing Tai Chi in the backyard. Scattered boxes and furniture piled in the garden shared by mum and her neighbour.
They’re leaving. It seems mum’s neighbour’s sons and ex-husband were moving interstate. Odds and ends, disused and unused pieces have been brought back home to their mum. This morning at breakfast mum commented that now the neighbour had no daily access to her sons would she become dependent on mom and an age 90 this is not a happy prospect. Mum has started to think she would need to prop up a lady who has suffered depression. Mum’s mind spiralling………..
After class I noticed a young woman waiting in the corridor. New students often arrive to meet me and ask would meditation or yoga suit them or to discuss a particular health issue. This young lady came to tell me her mother, a long term student of mine, was hospitalised with Cancer. Could I help her mother? Of course, so it was arranged that I visit her mum at home between her hospital visits.
Our weekly mediation sessions, Alisha ( name changed for privacy reasons) turned into relaxation sessions with Alisha lying on the couch. Time spent with her reminiscing,thinking over her life. As a young woman her parents had sent her from a tiny village in the mountains in Italy, to bring her brother home from Australia. Arriving by ship she was met at the wharf by brother and his Australian girlfriend and a group of their friends. This young woman realised she had no influence over her elder brother who had readily adapted to the new life in Australia. Soon Alisha was working and dating one of her brothers friends, the daughter I met was from this future marriage.
Alisha was now torn between the duty to parents so far away, remember contact with them was only by letter and often took weeks, and the young man back in the village who she was “promised” to.
After each relaxation session she spoke of these times
Her regrets were causing her mind to drag her into a dark place. Even though there was nothing she could now to influence the past.
Both mum and Alisha had very valid reasons for worry and concern, each is written with a broad brush, Family, health or directly linked with concern and compassion for a loved one,
And yet each one if followed on that track of thought will bring the owner of that mind in a downward spiral. It is an exhausting spiral if started, that saps our strength and energy leaving us tired and often feeling betrayed.
We must make the choice in each moment whether the mind will spiral upward or the mind will spiral downward and so we learn to observe which way are we going at this moment in time.
The strategy: For Alisha and Mum was to stop a wandering mind , is to use your five senses.
If sitting- feel the chair beneath you, your back pressed into the chair.
Close your eyes, feel the sun on your shoulders.Relax them.
Listen to the sounds around you.
Perhaps you can re taste your last hot drink, toothpaste on tongue.
We worked on dwelling only in the present. Observe the mind in the moment.
No time for this . Just take a deep breath.It steadies the body mind.
Friends are good for this observation process. As just by a phone call Carol commented to me this morning that I sounded tired.
I have not followed my meditation practice this morning and find the mind is flitting like a bird in the branches of a tree. Hither and thither, not stopping to observe, is it a downward spiral I am engaged in?
Try it for a day watch the mind and it’s ways.
As the Buddha said” Like your shadow the mind never leaves us.”
We must decide how it will lead us, in an upward spiral
to more laughter and creative living or downward to regret and depression.
It is so tempting to forward project our mind …..”When I win the lottery I will be happier, when I meet the right person my life will be full of joy.We sometimes backward wander in our minds, what if I had taken the the chance to work with …….., instead I took this job. All useless and often destructive.
Stop. Feel the sun warming your shoulders or listen to the rain, clear the mind of clutter so you can live in the moment, a form of meditation. Or our mind is like the clutter of boxes left in the backyard.