December 7, 2016

Two Precious Gifts Meditation can Give us for the Anxious Times.

Flickr/Ben and Kaz Askins

As I get older, there doesn’t seem to be fewer decisions to make in life—there appears to be more (and really big ones).

Lately, I’ve had a few unanswered questions that have wound me right up. I get so tight with the idea that I must make a choice (and the right one) that my body begins to ache.

It is often this way when I become keenly focused on a thing I feel I need to solve; lose perspective on the whole picture. The fact that there could be a natural flow to my life—and that what is happening in it may actually be out of my hands—can be a hard concept to grasp. (Especially for a control freak like me.)

This morning, though, I was hit with it again—that shaky feeling of anxiety, the slightly paranoid mind that comes with it, and the inability to take full, deep breaths.

A long time ago, someone said to me that depression comes when we are living in the past, and that anxiety arrives when we are heading too much into the future. I have been too caught up trying to plan the rest of my life.

I have been meditating for years, and it is probably from this daily practice that I have enough distance from my reactions to now notice when I am stuck in a bit of a head spin.

There is something sneaky about anxiety. It makes us feel like we need to have the answer for everything—right now.

However, as I sat down on my meditation cushion this morning, two words came to me: space and time.

Right! This is what I do every morning—I sit down and meditate. Not to get all zen and blissed out, but I do so because it helps remind me that there is time to stop, and that slowing down does not cause the world to crumble, but actually helps to develop an opening in it for peace.

And this is what we need when we get all wound up. We are craving the experience of coming back to earth, of feeling grounded in our seat, and the wisdom that there is an opportunity to pause and gather ourselves right here.

With meditation, we develop an understanding that most things do not need to be “reacted to” right away—and that in fact, if we allow them a bit of room, they often air themselves out. It is easier to see something when we have a bit of distance from it.

So instead of trying to solve things this morning, I just relaxed and waited. Even after the ending bell for my meditation rang, I sat. I let time go by, and I understood that in this moment I was okay. The decisions I needed to make perhaps didn’t need a definitive answer to them yet. Work, love and money have a way of solving themselves.

Time was not against me, it was actually here to allow me perspective. As I let more minutes pass in stillness, I could see that this is what it would take for me to understand clearly the steps to follow. Instead of chasing my future, I would simply let it arrive.

This is one purpose of meditation; it reveals a deeper truth, and one that my head usually can’t figure out on its own.

When we reflect, we may realize that space and time have always made everything clear. Whether this means that things crumble, or will be put back together, we shall see. Either way, we must remember that it is in this moment that we are actually living, and not in the moments to come.

Answers will come to us, when we give them the opportunity. Becoming anxious, pushing, forcing and attempting to “solve life” usually doesn’t lead us to a loving place—rather, it often means we hit a wall.

As I observe my anxiety rising from a mind that wants to solve everything, I keep whispering gently, “Space and time, dear. Space and time.”



Author: Sarah Norrad

Image: Flickr/Ben Askins

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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