Saturday, November 26, 2016

Climbing Out Of The Pit-Part 1

Everyone needs a little inspiration now and then.  I am inspired by an idea at the moment that I believe will be quite helpful to my inner self, and hopefully others as well.  I am an avid reader and I am often inspired by theology and philosophers from the past.  my current inspiration comes from an enlightened individual of our time, Mr. Eckhart Tolle.

He writes about the concept of 'living in the now' and how we can learn to live in the present moment.  The present moment is where enlightenment exists and is wonderful place to be.  By learning how to experience the 'now' or the present moment, we become more mindful of our environment and begin to let go of the past.  It is an inspiring idea and Eckhart is brilliant, but unfortunately some of his language can be difficult to understand.

I plan to work through the concept in simplistic terms while explaining how it relates to 'hope'.  If you have ever had a daydream, you have experienced the 'now' but did not realize it.  Your mind feels as though it is elsewhere while your body is immersed in the present moment.  It is an odd feeling at first which is why so many of us have a hard time finding it.

Mindfulness training, meditation, yoga and other forms relaxation techniques are all ways of trying to find the 'now'.  Often when we get close to that moment we back off and never get to truly get to experience the purity of peace.  The present moment is where peace and stillness exist, which should be our natural state of being, but it is not.  We have become 'human doings' rather than 'human beings'.

Our ever progressive world promotes anything but a peaceful existence.  The present moment is all we truly have, yet we rarely get to find it.  Buddhist monks spend years trying to find this moment and many never really succeed.  So it can't be easy can it?

If you suffer from depression then unfortunately your mind is stuck in the past.  If you struggle with anxiety issues then you mind worries and fears the future.  Find the present moment and both of these disappear.  Sounds easy but we know that it is not!

To exist in the present moment our mind needs something to cling to so it does not feel out of control and unattached from the world.  "Attachment leads to suffering" is something Buddha said and widely believed to be absolutely true.  If attachment leads to suffering then we need to remove it before we can move forward.

The Pit
We are now in the dark pit with seemingly no way out!  Invisible illnesses drag us down into this pit quite often, and we need to find a pathway out.  People can be stuck in this pit for days, weeks, months and even years.  Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, CFS, Fibromyalgia and so many other illnesses can tie us down and keep us in the pit for long periods of time, and often it is a place where hope no longer exists.

My theory is that if we can find 'hope', we can continuously find a way out.  Have life needs to be respected all by itself.  We were given life in order to experience the material world and learn to be the best us we can be.  The pit is not inescapable, but it is certainly filled with twists and turns, confusion and often much darkness.  We are already feeling low so the added difficult of navigating the twists and turns is increased dramatically.

What is the first thing we should do?  Sit down and relax.  Calm yourself until you can start to find the present moment.  Anxieties are high because the problem is so overwhelming, but if we breathe deeply for a few minutes, they will diminish.  Anxiety is worry and fear of future events, and I don't know anybody who can clearly see the future, so none of it is real to begin with.  As we convince ourselves of this point we begin to realize that our anxiety is all made up in our minds in the first place.

The more anxieties we remove while sitting quietly, the closer we will get to the 'now'.  The present moment is where clear thinking exists.  We need clear thinking at the bottom of the pit if we are ever going to get out.  Once we have calmed ourselves somewhat, calm yourself some more.  If we stand up and look around at all of the perceived problems facing us, we will likely feel overwhelmed and this will certainly 'fog' our thinking.

If  we have been in the pit for a while and expect that we may be in here for a while longer yet, then we can take ten minutes now and find a peaceful platform to begin from.  Think of the anxieties you had at some point when taking a test of some sort.  The anxiety only clouded our thinking, but the more prepared we are for the test, the less anxious we feel.  Anxiety feeds depression and other invisible illnesses, so it is best to remove as much of it as we can before doing anything else.

Take some time right now to close your eyes and quiet your mind and body.  The more we practice this the better we get at it.  Some people are able to meditate for hours, but it likely took them a lot of time and practice to get there.  Learn some mindfulness techniques, they are easy to find online.  There is no sense of setting out on our journey out of the pit without having a clear head.

The first step is always most important, but it is usually the most difficult.  It sets the scene for all of the other steps.  Think of this as carving out the first foothold in the pit that we will eventually use to launch us up to the next one.  If the footholds are built properly they will still be there the next time we hit the bottom.  Practice reducing anxiety for few minutes at a time and do what you can to experience the present moment where you can.

To be Continued...

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