Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mind Training in action

Cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1991.
Click on image to enlarge
I have done yoga since I was 16. I've lead and presently lead and teach classes and workshops in: relaxation, stress management, meditation and hypnosis.  You'd think by now I'd be perfect...ha! This is definitely not the case as I have a particularly challenging mind and nervous system that seems drawn to bouts of depression and anxiety like a moth to a flame. And, this is precisely what makes me a good teacher. I know whereof I speak.

I observed the latest bout coming on through my TWEETS. It started subtly enough. A little awareness dawned on Dec 6th that my mind was becoming pretty busy with conflicting thoughts along with their attendant emotions. Envy followed around the 12th accompanied by that familiar feeling of self-loathing and the little voice that worms its way into my mind repeating variations on a theme: "you SHOULD: be better than you are, be more than you are, have accomplished more that you have". When these dominate I become lost in all of this S**T.

As I reclaim myself on the 14th and 15th I witness and become aware of worry, anger and other "negative" thoughts bubbling up and am able to catch the "inkling" before they develop further.

But somehow the scales tip and these negativities begin to take root, playing over and over. Samskaras (in western terms neural pathways) become entrenched in my brain; becoming my automatic default response to life. This vulnerable position ignites the "fight or flight response". I become spun, loose my centre, become hyper sensitive to the actions and emotions of my significant other and scramble in an effort to please others because I am so "beside myself" that I cannot please myself.

Without a centre no action "feels" authentic, my body, fuelled by the stress response, feels foreign. With no place to anchor me, action is without backbone, ineffective, inefficient; results are predictably erratic, unsatisfactory and sometimes chaotic and the world around me reflects my inner state.

In this state I am more susceptible to the judgements of others. In the heat of the moment tempers flare, arguments ensue, harsh words, that can never be taken back, are spoken. Arguments take on monumental proportions, consequences loom heavily in my mind as it goes into the deepest and darkest places as happened from the 19th to the 26th. Turbulent emotions rule and peak on the 28th when something commands me to STOP & BREATHE. 

In that most charged of moments I connect with calm. This is magical effect of mind training in action.

With the calm comes awareness that it is time for me to pull out, stop being the witness. I know this territory well enough. Take charge of my mind, shift focus and consciously apply mind training.

By the 31st I still feel emotions coursing through my body but my yoga asana practice delivers awareness of the still pond that resides within and it now extends beyond my time on my mat.

It is timely that I start anew with the New Year in bringing my mind training skills into practice. I don't allow the negative tapes to run. Evening mantra practice, replaces the "inner critic" and settles me into the receptive hypnogogic state where implantation is optimal. Negative self-judgment is countered by logical inquiry or silent mantra practice. Yoga practice and walking keep energy flowing evenly and discharge daily accumulated tension. I set the alarm 45 minutes before I have to get up, time in which to briefly scan my dreams and then BLAST MYSELF WITH POSITIVE SUGGESTIONS over and over during this especially receptive hypnopompic state.

I know the bout will return again. But, I also know that the calm, quiet centre resides within, all I need to do is breathe and feel the peace and tranquility.

For the New Year I wish you find access to that calm, quiet centre within.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of blasting yourself with positive suggestions!