I usually have a question dropped in to the back of my mind on the look out for a theme for my blog. Generally, something emerges and the blog writes itself. This week is different, as the themes that are emerging are all ones I have written about many times before, such as:
Firstly, an underlying belief that rears its head in times of stress that I am not up to the job or my life. An underlying sense of worthlessness and hopelessness, that everything is going to go wrong and that it will all be my fault. This triggers my threat system.
Secondly, with the threat system triggered, an unrelenting habit of ruminating, bringing to mind my always over long to do list and planning.
Thirdly, these two feed on each other to keep a tired, hopeless, negative mind state in place, like a pair of dirty glasses, a contorted prism through which my experience is filtered.
It feels very real and unrelenting. When I practiced today it was this mode of mind that I was being with.
On the other hand, I know that when I think about it, I am very fortunate, I have many wonderful conditions, experiences and opportunities in my life. I know that I need to practice appreciation, to eat well, to exercise, so as to move me into my soothing system or as Rick Hanson would say – to move myself into the green zone (see Rick’s excellent book – Hardwiring Happiness). Once in the green zone, it is much easier to refrain from engaging the negative habits that keep the low mood in place. It isn’t easy and the phrase that always comes into my mind is to “Pull myself up with my bootstraps”.
So what helps me is to imagine in my heart the joyfulness of Lama Yeshe Rinpoche and the mountain like steadiness of Akong Rinpoche and to listen to Lama Yeshe Rinpoche’s teachings and to listen to some of my favourite music.
Going back to the start of this blog, the process of acceptance is a revisiting of the same old, same old over and over again, with a sense of welcome, patience and sitting back to be with and not to interfere. However, we also need the resources to be able to do this effectively from the green zone.
In my experience, if I am with my problems and in the threat zone, there is a tendency for navel gazing, self-pity and misery and this just puts more energy into the problem. There is no point in this. So, I actively avoid the problem for a while – with the intention of coming back to it later – and in the meantime do the nurturing activities that move me into the green zone.
From the green zone, I know I can be with my problems, without feeding them, giving the space for the process of acceptance to do itself.
So this blog has now written itself!
Now, what can you do today to move into the green zone, if you are not already there? I am going to listen to the rest of Lama Yeshe Rinpoche’s talk and then some music to walk to work to.
Kind Wishes Heather
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