I have been pondering on all that is invisible.
Having recently considered and reflected on the concept of space whilst taking part in the Wisdom course, it has triggered many insights which are just popping up of their own accord.
At the moment, every day I am hearing that someone I know has Covid. The odd thing is, I actually only knew one person who had had Covid last year. But this week there have been so many.
Covid is invisible. You step into a shop or travel on a train, visit a friend and you have no idea whether this invisible intruder is in the air. We can only see the effect of it, some days later when someone contracts it.
It’s a bit like the wind. We can’t see the wind or air, but we can see its effect and impact it has on things.
Mindfulness and Compassion are like that too. They are a shift within. You can’t see them but the impact of them is visible.
Peace is another aspect of our lives that is invisible. Peace is something we can cultivate through the practice of mindfulness and compassion. We can’t see it, hold it, touch it or hear it, but we can feel it’s impact.
I live in a fairly remote place in a rural environment and went to London for the day yesterday, arriving home quite late. I used to live near London so this is something I used to do very regularly without thinking about it. But yesterday, from the moment I arrived at the train station until the moment I woke up this morning, I felt giddy with the stimulation and a sense of being bombarded.
If I hadn’t been going for a rather arduous long session at the dentist, I might have found that peace inside. But after 90 minutes of treatment, I found myself feeling very human and very solid in my body, with no sense of peace at all. I started well, but the pain got to me and the following 90 minutes I noticed all my energy had gone into the middle of my body. My hands were cold, and I felt quite weird. I increasingly find it interesting how the body reacts to thought, fear and anxiety. It took hours for it to calm itself down. I couldn’t control it. All I could do was be kind to myself for fully feeling how it is to be in this human body.
How often do we allow ourselves to be free from anxiety? I am aware that I feel an underlying anxiety a lot of the time. Day to day it’s usually about work, family etc. It’s quite subtle and usually I don’t even notice it’s presence until I sit for a while and recognise it sitting there.
Yesterday I felt anxious from the moment I awoke. Will I catch my train? Will it be busy? Will I feel safe from the invisible mist of Covid? Will I get to the dentist on time? Will he overrun so I miss my train home? Will it be painful? I meditated on the train and noticed all this invisible anxiety going on. Just a feeling but impacting my peace, wellbeing and my body. My body felt tense within.
I find the invisible beast called anxiety lurks within. Personally, the best practice that counters this is ‘Soften, soothe, allow’ from the compassion training. Notice it is there, breathe into it and soften round the edges. But breathe into what? It’s a feeling. I cant see it or hear it or touch it, but I certainly feel the impact on my body and mind.
Another invisible wonder is the natural rhythm of life. Since living by the sea I have noticed that I am more in tune with nature’s rhythms. I see the sun rising and setting, the tides turning and the seasons coming and going. I see the impact of the rhythm but not the rhythm itself.
Human beings have a natural rhythm too, and I recognised that going to London on the train for a long day, to have dental treatment, was forcing my body out of rhythm, and it didn’t like it. I noticed my shoulders and neck tensing up, tight sensations in my belly and my mind just couldn’t settle.
How often do we take time to notice our natural rhythm? Being on a train and in a busy city meant I was devoid of the clues from the natural rhythm. Day, night, Summer, Winter, Spring, Autumn – it ticks over the same. The temperature and light might change. There might be waves of busyness and quieter times, but it has a pulse and a rhythm of its own. I recognised that in the past I had become lost in the rhythm of working in an office, travelling, and caught up in the hubbub of an invisible swirling energy of doing. But I was miles away from the natural rhythm. I was fighting against it.
I feel it is so important to take time to pause. To pause and notice everything going on and allow time to tap into the central invisible rhythm we all have within and honour it. To go right to the centre. Be aware of this animal body breathing and rest with the rhythm of the breath for a while. Time is invisible, but we need to find some time in our busy lives to rest with the impact of all that is visible and invisible and notice how we are affected by it.
I am so grateful to Mindfulness for helping me do just that. And for the compassion training that reminds me that it’s all just ok as it is. Relax a bit and just be a while.
I wonder how it would be to pause, follow the rhythm of the breath a while and become aware of how we are feeling. Are there some invisible forces at play and how can we be with that? You might want to do this 30 minute Soften Soothe Allow recorded mindfulness practice from our Daily Free Meditations.
I’d love to know how you get on and what invisible forces you become aware of.
Jacky is teaching the new Mindfulness in Movement Course on 8th March, 2022, and tutoring on the online Level 1 Mindfulness course which runs on a Wednesday evening, starting 12th January, 2022.
Jacky has contributed a chapter to the Mindful Heroes Book entitled “Turning Empathic Distress into Compassion – A Hero’s Journey for Family Carers”. You can watch an extract from the chapter where she talks about the results of her MSc Studies in Mindfulness on Compassion & Family Carers. You can download a free sample of Jacky’s chapter here.