How to Stop Overthinking – Be Present

Overthinking can really prevent us from living life in the moment and enjoying the process of life unfolding with us.

We are not meant to think about and consciously try to process every single object and happening that is going on in life. This would be impossible but we seem to try to do so with select things in our lives. This can lead to pain and suffering.

It can be that we are then living in “another world” for lack of a better word. We could call it a “dream state” if you will.

We have all come across or experienced overthinking in our own lives and then when we “snap out of it”, to realise we have been “somewhere else” for a while. Or we have witnessed it in others.

If you want to stop overthinking, which if we realised how it can rob us of life, then be Present.

Pure and simple, that is the answer.

For those that want to take this “shortcut” and save yourself  pain and suffering – which as I mentioned in other posts, suffering is not an entirely “bad” thing and sometimes necessary for “awakening” but lets stay focussed on the “shortcut” – then stop thinking and become present i.e, on what you are doing Now and not casting your mind to the past and future constantly.

For most of us however we need “reminding” and to develop those habits of awareness to see what we are actually doing or rather thinking in the present moment. That which is causing the “overthinking” and in essence, pain & suffering and preventing our natural peace and joy within to be realised.

We all want to live a full life in peace and joy and we can, whether it is going “our way” or not…

What Being Present Means

To clarify when I said, to “stop” overthinking.

What is more accurate to say, is to become “aware” of your thoughts and feelings in the moment. “Stopping” implies resistance and resistance implies “suffering” to a degree.

Trying to “stop” thinking will create more thinking.  All we need is a little “awareness” and “mindfulness”.
The “overthinking” will naturally abate or pass once we are aware of it and can see it for what it is –  thoughts coming and going, like clouds in the sky.

I also said we require, “reminding”…

This is because, being present is not something we need to learn but more so to remember and “uncover” our intrinsic peace and joy within.

So, being present is really about living life in the now and as mentioned above, not in the past and the future, which really do not exist. The past having… “past” and the future being an illusion and only taking place in the present moment.

It’s about…and this is going to sound cliche but to really “stop and smell the roses”.

Do what you are doing in the “now”, whether it is walking, working, playing, etc, without the “chatter” going on in the background or just being aware of the chatter.

Awareness

“Awareness” is about being able to see or “witness” what is going on in our minds and to “witness” these thoughts and emotions passing our “seat of awareness”. We can then experience them for what they are –  as fleeting and not absolute.

We know this as thoughts and emotions have been coming and going our entire lives. Now we don’t have to let them rule our lives. We are the “observers” of the objects(thoughts & emotions). I have spoken about this in my other post which I will make reference too below.

Be aware of your thoughts and paradigms. I for one believed that I could solve any situation with thinking and able to come up with a solution, whether immediately or eventually. This really did not help me at all. I believed my thinking was my strength but as we know, your strengths can become your weaknesses.

We cannot solve many things if you think about it –  excuse the pun – with our “thinking”. This is a complete illusion to think otherwise.
Yes we are blessed with our minds and the physical part of which are our brains. We can accomplish such great feats and indeed solve many problems. The brain is truly an amazing organ without going into more detail.

But as mentioned in other posts, “thinking” is one part of life. I will not go in to detail but there are too many unknowns and variables for our mind to comprehend and figure them out at a thinking level. Overthinking can actually handicap us and not allow us to “see the bigger” picture or “see the wood through the trees.”

Our thinking can be very subjective and based on our ego and what “we want”, labelling what is “good” or “bad” for us.

As Eckhart Tolle quotes, “Become comfortable with not knowing.” 

Why Do we Overthink

Fear is a big factor if not the main factor. See link to the below post which touches a bit on this:

Finding Peace Through Letting Go – Non Clinging, Non Striving & Balance

Overthinking is trying to control things and not allowing life to unfold in its appropriate time. Overthinking limits our creative process – I have inserted a link to an interesting read under “resources” below on this. We need to find the balance in making choices but allowing life to takes its course.

I enjoy surfing very much and the ocean can be used for great analogies:

The more you fight the ocean, the more it takes your energy from you, as apposed to flowing with it. The balance is in making the choice in where you would like to go but being in unity with life or in this case, the ocean.

I can feel the energy in my body and mind when I have had a really busy day.
It almost feels highly charged and my thoughts start “running” away with me, leading to more thoughts, which become very anxious. This as mentioned can lead to further anxiety and “overthinking loops”.

In today’s day and age, overthinking is quite common, in the work place especially. In part this is also due to the incredible amount of information and technology we have access to at our fingertips and the demands thereof. We really need to take time out on a daily basis to find peace and quiet.

This is why people burn out. They feel good for a while, take on too much daily and then before they know it, it becomes too much. We need to cultivate mindfulness, meditation and balance into our daily lives. Take anything to the extreme and see where it leads you. Thinking too much is a perfect example of this.

Action Plan

•Be Present – The answers are always here and maintaining “fresh eyes” is key.
Using our thoughts to navigate through this world in the present through choice is our gift but we also need to allow life to unfold.
Yes, we can look back on the past(rarely I would recommend) and think and plan for the future but when it becomes the “norm”, then we are not living in the Now and “tainting” the present by delving into these states.

If we can apply ourselves wholeheartedly and being truly present in the moment, then our “future” steps will be effective and true.

Mindfulness – Apply yourself in what you are doing in the moment, be it walking, working, playing etc.

Meditation – practice meditation – see relevant posts. This will allow you to see thoughts and emotions for what they are and strengthen your mind as to not get caught up with them. Meditation will also help in quietening the mind allowing for our natural presence to be realised. This will in turn will effect how we see life – through peaceful eyes.

Non labelling – Practice not labelling everything i.e what is “good” or “bad” for us. This can be very subjective(and very subtle) and lead us to pain and suffering through wanting things to be a certain way and not as they are.

To be clear, we are not practicing giving up or accepting that we cannot change anything but more so to be aware of what is truly driving us and why. “Follow your heart.” Cliche but true. We need to tap into our inner wisdom regarding this.

Know you cannot solve or know everything and find peace in that.

•Know that fear is an illusion and peace and joy are always within.

•Recources:
-“The Power of Now” by Eckart Tolle
– https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201706/new-research-explains-why-overthinking-can-hinder-creativity

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”  – Tao Teh Ching

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

I hope you have enjoyed this and found it truly helpful and beneficial.

The last thing this post should encourage is overthinking on these ideas and principles or anything in life really. So, allow them to absorb through careful attendance but do not become ritualistic or regimental.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Enjoy and be kind to yourself.

 

 

Letting Go of Anger – Realising Your Peace Within

Letting go of anger can be one of the most profound and “enlightening” things to happen and “awaken” to, allowing your natural peace within to be realised.

This may sound quite obvious but we do require a certain amount of awareness to be able to see when anger arises in order for us to let go of it.

We see life through the eyes of the beholder…literally. There are numerous studies on how, just physically through our eyesight, we only see what we want or what we are focused on. Can you imagine then, living a life constantly being angry

I know all to well what it is like to live with anger but sometimes you don’t even realise you are carrying this anger

There is nothing “wrong” with experiencing anger, as with our other emotions we experience and there is an appropriate time for it – not often though I might add. But when anger becomes a habitual reaction or a tool we may think will solve our problems, then it is time to step back and become aware.

Realising my anger was definitely a major “penny dropping” moment. Becoming aware of anger can truly start to pave a way to seeing life literally in a different light and allowing our peace, that which is our natural state within, to be realised.

Anger however, can lie masked and hidden behind many emotions, feelings and situations in life.

How long, I realised I had lived parts of life with so much anger and wasted so much energy, as anger is truly an energy waster and such a burden.

I believe anger to be a major “stumbling block” if I can call it that and pivotal to many of our sufferings and not allowing us to flourish. We all have stories which we have identified with, that cause our “different” states of anger but if we can firstly be aware when it arises and ask, “why”, then that is already a major step in letting it go.

As stated in other posts, there is always a lesson in pain, which is the universal indicator to change or awaken to a circumstance.
That goes for both the “physical” and “spiritual” aspects. So, embrace pain for what it offers in the way of learning.

Where Does Anger Come From?

What a question…

What is anger but defensiveness and a reaction to Fear. It is no wonder that anger is such an underlying emotion that keeps us bound as apposed to being free – that which we already are.

I have spoken a little on fear in my other post which can link well with this one:  Finding Peace Through Letting Go – Non Clinging, Non Striving & Balance

We can truly fear so much and recognising fear for what it is in terms of being another “object” in the world to be aware of, is sometimes all that is needed.

Fear(anger) links to the ego – “our story”, “our past”, the “I” and “me” we always feel we have to defend and bolster.
The ego makes us think we are lacking and small(see previous link to post). That, which is actually small and non existent really. Fear and our ego are illusions against the backdrop against who we truly are – inherent love, light, peace and abundance.

Through practising awareness, meditation and mindlfuness and realising “who we are”, we can start to see this.  I will write a specific post on the Ego.

We are or can be angry(fearful) at times if not very often. Outrightly at “injustice”; things not going as we want it; what society dictates; life; death; people; even the weather; having to work, not enough money, etc etc.
Basically, nothing ever really going “our” way and never feeling satisfied. I am generalising but at one point or another, we have all felt this.

And these feelings if you examine them are all based in either the past or the future – striving or clinging(as per link to above post) and not being in the present moment.

Anger is a great “pointer” to when we are feeling fear.
As I have stated in my other post and above, I believe this fear is a deep spiritual lacking we may feel. Feeling anger however can allow us to stop, recenter and remember that we are life, peace & love as we were created by God with abundance, accessible in the present moment.

Let me not lose anyone with the above comment and carry on with how letting go of anger can pave the way to seeing life more clearly and peacefully.

Recognising Anger

A quote that has stuck with me, is one from Eckart Tolle, “You are never upset for the reason you think.”  So so true and a great quote to remember. This is exactly the “kick the dog” scenario because we are having a “bad” day.

Anger can lie hidden behind emotions and feelings such as impatience, anxiety, striving, apathy, procrastination, stress, impatience, etc and sometimes very subtly – towards your spouse, boss or employees, children etc. As mentioned before, sometimes anger can be justified but very few times.  Just investigate these feelings to uncover what is really going on.

Your body will signal when you are angry, in fact your body is your communicator for your emotions. Recognising them for exactly what they are can sometimes be difficult however. When I am angry, I can almost feel my body “grinding” inside and complete resistance. Anger can drain your energy too, so just be aware of that.

This apposed to when we are feeling love & peace and living in the present. We have an almost light, “harmonious” feeling in both body and mind.

And what is anger really but directed at yourself and projected out to the world..?
Bear with me…
If you were truly enlightened, content and knew you already had everything(material things being a complete illusion) and loved yourself and others what would you need to be angry about..? We do have this but that is for another post…

Having said that, we are human and we are living and learning, so no need to be angry at being angry. We need to just be aware.

Have you realised the commentary going on in your mind about yourself and the world and maybe how you are not good enough, or should have done this, or done that?
Give it some real thought…
This is the basis for anger towards others and the world – again, very subtle but it is there. Again, don’t fixate but just be aware.

What will Anger Achieve?

As mentioned before, there is a place for anger but few and far between.

We think being angry will get us somewhere. Anger is resistance and resistance does not gain anything ultimately.

Or, we think being angry will change someones mind and we will have “our way”, which is either conscious or subconscious. You can never change some ones mind, period. It might seem it at the time but unless some one has made the decision for themselves, then no one else will make it for them.

We do not need to show or experience anger in order to show “our worth” or to not be taken advantage of.  In fact this could become a “stumbling block” and work the other way as we now start to feel and look imbalanced and quite emotional and anger will “cloud” our judgement, throwing you off your “seat of awareness”.

Anger is not great for your body either.
Disease is anger directed inwards. I am not going to go in-depth here nor comment on the role of genes and their bearing but I will say there is more to our minds, body and spirit and how we can heal ourselves than we realise. “Science” today is showing connections between thoughts and the nervous system and how it has a bearing on our immune system.

Action Plan
  • The opposite to Fear(Anger) is Love. Be kind to yourself, love yourself and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39
    Anger is defensiveness(weakness) and separates us whereas Love is all encompassing(strength).
  • Practice being aware of your thoughts and emotions through mediation and mindfulness. Once you can “see” and feel when anger arises, this is true awakening. Not necessarily needing to change anything but more a case of being aware and present with yourself in a non-judging way. Naturally through non-resistance, non-judging and awareness we can understand and let it pass and ultimately let it go.
  • Having said the above, our power is in choice and we have the choice to let go of anger once we are aware of it. We do not need to carry it. It has no relevance or benefits.
    I remember rushing to get things done and being so absolutely stressed but mainly because I was angry. Letting go of anger allowed me to still get things done at a relative pace but with more peace, positive energy and happiness.

    But however painful our experiences may be, they are just painful experiences until we add the response of hatred or aversion. Only then does suffering arise
    . –Jack Kornfield

I believe we and the “world” can burden ourselves so much and so unnecessarily and this quote from the Bible seems to resonate:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
—Matthew 11:25-30

Here is a great link to a post on “Dealing With Anger” I came across which highlights many points I have made with a little more “Science” based knowledge and some “action plans” too:
http://www.okbar.org/members/BarJournal/archive2017/MarchArchive2017/OBJ8808Stockwell.aspx

Note: I hope this has been informative, approachable and uplifting.
Please don’t overthink any if this information but rather letting it “sow a seed” and allowing awareness and awakening to take place.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy & Be kind to yourself.

 

 

 

 

Meditation & Mindfulness #2: Steps to Begin(Remember)

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of Meditation & Mindfulness: Life Changing – Steps to Begin(Remember).

These posts touch on Meditation and Mindfulness and are from perspectives I have experienced that obviously contain universal principles and truths as well as my own experiences.

I hope they resound with many of you out there and add value to your lives.

So, following on as mentioned with “part 2”, which is the “Action Plan” to practicing Meditation & Mindfulness

Action Plan:

Practicing meditation and mindfulness, should be from a state of “non-striving and “non-doing”. This is important.

We are not looking  to “gain” or “achieve” anything but more so to realise, discover and to be “with” ourselves, so to speak –  as We Are in the present moment. The truly life changing “bi-products” or “fruits” come naturally from being mindful and practicing meditation.

Practising from “non-striving” and to not “gain” anything  I am sure sounds totally contradictory. I actually remember in my early days of practising “formal”(set time and place)meditation and getting angry(sweating due to this)and impatient. I wanted things to be as I wanted them and that included practising the “perfect” meditation
As I said, I was not born a “Zen Guru”, far from it ha ha. But, we are no different from attaining(realising) this “state” or as mentioned “realising” our inner peace and wisdom as some of these “guru’s” have.

Meditation and being mindful is about being PRESENT and so “observing” whatever is going on moment to moment as this IS what is actually going on. Trying to change things only creates more tension. We naturally find our inherent peace and our gifts by purely observing our thoughts and emotions as stated. Why? As mentioned we are “uncovering” and we are “whole” already. We need to practice with this as the backdrop.

Another facet to meditation and mindfulness as mentioned before, is about being aware of our constant delving into the past and the future which creates anxiety and/or depression.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu

Acceptance is a big part of meditation and mindfulness. I am not meaning to surrender and give up with no power to change things but acceptance in terms of what I mentioned before, of accepting things as they are now…in the present.

Non-judging is also a big part too. This relates to ourselves. Remember, we are “practising”, so it is a life journey but you will see and feel the benefits very early on too. So when I say non-judging, I mean – be kind to yourself as there is NO perfect meditation.

Try and refrain from “labelling” what we think are “good” or “bad” for us as these can be very subjective or ingrained from the past and so not always accurate at all.

Recommended is 20 mins per day(5-6 days a week, everyday being optimum)for “formal meditation”. Maybe start with 10-15mins to begin with if you feel 20mins is a stretch at first and 4 days a week and go from there. We are not practising forcefulness but some form of discipline will be beneficial.

Find a quiet place and use a meditation cushion(zafu), sitting cross legged with hands in lap or palms open, resting on your knees. You can use a chair too(feet firmly placed on the floor)but I do prefer sitting on the floor. With both practises, make sure your back is quite straight and shoulders relaxed – we want to encourage alertness but also peacefulness.

The most common way and “ideal”, is to then place your focus on your breath. This means to follow your breath flowing in and out of your body, either through your nostrils or at your belly. This does not mean to “think” about your breathing or change it but to focus, watch and feel your breath coming in and going out of these regions.

“If you’re breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong.”—Jon Kabat-Zinn

When your mind wonders, which it will do, just softly bring your focus back to the breath. As many times as your mind wonders, is as many times you bring your focus back to the breath. I have found it takes a few minutes to settle and get into a “flow” and/or deep meditation but as mentioned each practice is different and so pressure to meditate “perfectly” is counter productive.

My “std” formal meditation practices goes more or less like this:

•Sit and take a few deep breaths in and out.
•Close eyes
•I say a prayer to God and the Holy Spirit for guidance – not necessary.
•Brief body scan, which is simply “scanning” your body from head to toe, getting a general feel and “noting” any bodily sensations without lingering or dwelling on them. This should not take more than a minute. Feel the your body being “grounded”.
•Brief awareness of any sounds. Not searching for sounds but just being aware.
•Note any strong feelings and/or emotions – again just noting them briefly.
•Begin focus on breath
•When the mind wonders, bring your awareness/focus softly back to the breath.

Formal meditation practice is basically a set time and place, mostly daily.
Informal meditation or mindfulness is performed throughout the day i.e walking, doing the dishes, working – being present and aware basically with what you are doing. Bringing oneself back to the breath is one of the best practices to do.

“Simply put, mindfulness is moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness.”—Jon Kabat-Zinn

Some resources that set me on the path were:

Headspace(Andy Puddicombe) – Mobile(Android or iPhone Play store)Application – truly a great app and place to start and assist with formal and informal meditation for all different applications.

Mindfulness for Beginners – Jon kabat-Zinn

Note: I hope this has been informative and encouraging to read and a place to either start or continue your meditative and mindfulness journey and practices.

Please let this information sink in and do apply what you have read in a non-striving and enjoyable way but do not get fixated or regimental in doing so but discipline however will go a long way.

Sometimes there will be discomfort experienced while practising – this is totally natural and the path you are on.

Enjoy and be kind to yourself.

 

Meditation & Mindfulness #1: Steps to Begin(Remember)

I cannot recommend Meditation/Mindfulness enough.

I have already stated this in the “About” section and I will say it yet again – I cannot recommend it anymore, for EVERYONE and for ALL facets of life.

The interesting part is that we have all meditated or been mindful at some point in our lives. We just need to uncover/discover/remember our innate abilities, natural gifts and peace within. If you look at the definition of “discover” for instance, this means to “bring to light” or “come across”, so in essence, that which is already there.

Very loosely, mindfulness is “paying attention” in the present moment, of which the practice of meditation will strengthen. I am sure we have all focussed our attention/awareness on something  before, have we not..?

We need to now “cultivate”, practice or more accurately –  “remember” as mentioned before, our intrinsic nature of consciousness and awareness, of which I believe we as a people throughout time, generally speaking have lost or “forgotten.”

I remember someone saying to me, “I can’t meditate as I can’t just think of nothing, let alone sit still for that long.” To which I wanted to say…actually I wanted shout (ha ha), “Believe me when I say, if I can “do” it, then anybody can!” I think I ended up saying something calmly along the lines of, “It’s not about stopping your thinking but more about observing your thoughts.”

Our brains are constantly thinking –  that is what they are meant to do. But we don’t have to get caught up in every single thought. We think we do because thoughts are truly powerful. We need to remember, that WE are the “observers”.

The practice of meditation and mindfulness will allow us to watch these thoughts and emotions come and go, like clouds in the sky, allowing us to stay seated in “awareness”. We are not our thoughts. We know this, as so many thoughts have come and gone in our lives that don’t mean anything to this day, have they not..?

But some thoughts and emotions(depending on how we process situations in life)we “cling” to and they stay with us for an indefinite time, until we “process” them and let them go.

The practice of meditation and mindfulness will help us in staying “present”, so we do not get caught up in every thought and emotion that happens to us, which can often “bog” us down in time. We can therefore maintain fresh eyes and deal effectively with each passing moment, without be “tainted” all the time by past and futures events which do not exist. Yes, we need to plan for the future and we do learn from the past naturally but dwelling on these is not living and not effective. I hope that makes sense.

Meditation & mindfulness has in the past had various connotations as being “out there”; “hippie”; “alternative” or whatever else it has been labelled. Nowadays, it is way more acceptable, not to mention growing in popularity or I would rather like to say, in recognition – we are all growing in consciousness.

Not to mention, how modern “medicine” and “science” are truly seeing the benefits and applications of practising. On this note, the practising of meditation on a regular basis will actually “rewire” your neurological pathways in a positive way.

We are the Observers

You can test this right now – Say “hello” in your mind. You have now just “witnessed”(subject), the object(“hello” – thought). You can do this for anything such as “something you need to do”, or kicking your toe, or even go so far as “fear”, which is also another object we are aware of. These subjects are not you, you are the “witness”.

When the penny drops and you actually are “aware” of this, it is truly amazing. I remember sitting and practising a meditation of “watching your thoughts”. This is truly amazing, especially when your brain has been very active after a long day or for other reasons. You can sit and watch totally unrelated thoughts come and go.

Meditation and Mindfulness will strengthen this. As mentioned, we can now stay more “centred” in the “seat of awareness” of which presence and peace are our true natures and accessible always. This allows us to witness life and its happennings come and go, without getting caught up in its melodrama and enjoy it more.

There is so much information on meditation and mindfulness nowadays and accessible through so many platforms via social media and the internet, which is truly awesome. Not to mention many “guru’s” and “experts” around the world which we have access too.

But, at the end of the day and without sounding cliche, these are all “pointers” to the true meditator and “observer”, which…is YOU.

So…back to why I felt myself almost shouting at this person who said he “can’t meditate”. The reason, is because for as long as I can remember, I have been quite “high” energy.  My wife would maybe even have said “very” high energy. High energy from both a physically and mental point of view – both connected, so no confusion there really. So for those who think they can’t sit still, then believe me when I say, if I can meditate, then so can you.

I have always been sporty/physical, always having to “do” something. In fact, still to this day, if I do not exercise for a day I can feel the energy building up – not as much but still so.

My mind on the other hand(as I mentioned in the “About” section), I realised I had lived a large portion of life in an anxious state. I could never sit still for a long time, from doing school homework, to anything else after school really – never being able to focus for long periods of time at all. Again, mind and body are connected and they have a bearing on each other – the mind directing the body mostly.

We are all “hardwired” differently for various reasons, from childbirth to upbringing, diet etc, giving us all our unique attributes and characteristics. Nonetheless, no matter who you are or where you come from, or how “balanced” you think you are, I believe we all should and need to “practice” meditation and being mindful.

I have also heard people say, “I don’t have the time.” To which I think the best answer to that is:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb

I think this makes absolute sense. The irony is that when you start meditating and being mindful, you actually start finding more “space” and life seems to “slow down” somewhat, giving you a better perspective to attend more efficiently and truthful to each situation and passing moment.

Through practising meditation, you become more “centred”, as mentioned a few times before. We therefore don’t need to act from a total emotional point of view and so able to see a little more clearly and not through frantic or anxious eyes.  This will enable you to apply yourself appropriately to what really is important and with the “ideal” course of action.

Until I started meditation, I  did not realise how it is so much “more” than what we realise and yet at the same time it can almost seem the most “useless ” or I should rather say, “indescribable” “action”(not that you really can call it an action)I know of. Those who meditate, know exactly what I am talking about.

Meditation can almost seem at times to touch on the answers to everything in life and the universe but yet it can seem like the most pointless thing too…truly profound.

I won’t go down this path in this post but I suppose my point being is that we are always generally operating or living our lives with the intent of “gaining” something, as we feel we “lack” and so by practising meditation and mindfulness will allow us to start seeing what we really do “have” in our lives already. This is just part of it.

“Meditation is really just quieting yourself enough so you can get in touch with your own inner wisdom. ~ Louise Hay

Meditation and mindfulness will provide answers beyond what you ever expected and as previously stated, touch on all facets of life but I believe the main focus for most of us, is finding peace.

When you have peace, what problems are there?

On a spiritual note, I do believe practising meditation and mindfulness can lead to God but I will write a separate post on this.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Note: Please see part two of this post to come, which includes a simple and brief action plan. Enjoy.

 

Finding Peace Through Letting Go-Non Clinging, Non Striving & Balance

I thought it applicable to write the first post for “A Conscious Time” on the subject of letting go and related to this – non clingingnon striving & balance. 

These are all connected and knowing when to let go or to fully let go, I believe to be one of the greatest lessons to be learnt and awaken to, as it underpins what you are letting go of, to what and why…

We are talking about “letting go” as a general principle and how it can be applied to almost anything in life – besides maybe pulling someone up a cliff with a rope, then that would not be advisable but I think you know what I mean.

Letting go can be such a subtle principle but such a beautiful principle that can lead to so many treasures, including “success”(can be intangible and hard to see sometimes)but most importantly peace of mind, which ultimately effects everything in life. It is not an easy lesson to learn but it does not need to be difficult either. It’s a lesson that I personally and “my character” or ego rather, seem to wrestle with from time to time.

The reason why I thought it applicable to write the first post centred around “letting go”, is because I actually found myself sitting down thinking about what the first post should be and realised – I have spent a weeks worth of holiday with my family, being “stressed” and in essence clinging and striving – a perfect start and reminder I think, to let go

During this time, I found myself having thoughts(internal running commentary)of, “not where I want to be”, with regards to work and life and wanting to accomplish a lot while at home with my wife and 19 month old son. I(my wife included – amazing how we effect each other)began slipping out of presence and became anxious trying to fit in all business ideas, hobbies and family time.

Despite all the awareness we can learn, it can be easy to slip into worldly accomplishments – striving and clinging and in essence, slipping out of balancebalance being the absolute key.

As Michael A. Singer put it in his book called, The Untethered Soul“The Way is in the middle because that’s the place where the energies are balanced.” 

He uses the analogy of a pendulum and how it comes to rest in the middle, where balanced, unlimited energy can be found and how you cannot sustain unbalanced energies at the extremes for too long.

Experience and practice this and you will know what he is talking about – the way – Dao de Jing.

Such a great and poignant analogy, which links to how we strive and cling, causing us to fall out of balance, as apposed to being present and fulfilled in the moment.

Why We Strive & Cling

Before I go on, yes we are human and therefore subject to our “mammalian” or “human” and physical aspects of living, e.g  fight or flight mechanisms. But we are called to more(mind & spirit) than this and there is more than just “meets the eye”.

Fear is the root cause for striving and clinging – all suffering really.

The feeling of “lacking”, which stems from a deeply spiritual level, effects how we live life and we then project these fears onto the physical world.
We then try to make up for it in material things, which drives us to feel we need to fulfil ourselves – wanting more and more, sometimes leading to power-hungry, never quite feeling satisfied and ever searching for the next thing to fulfil us.

Other fears which link to this perceived feeling of lacking, range from “failure”, which link to “baggages” we identify with. Trying to provide and keeping up with what society dictates is another example; maintaining that status or “good feeling”(clinging)etc. The list can go on and on.

We either strive to fulfil that which we perceive we lack, or we cling to that which we perceive makes us feel good. This we do by “labelling” what we think benefits us or does not, i.e good and bad which can be very subjective. Both striving and clinging keep us bound and never actually allowing us to be free and present, where true peace and true “power”(if I can call it that), resides.

Letting Go of Striving & Clinging

We really do not need to strive or cling to anything. The balance is found in acknowledging your goals/dreams/plans/ambitions/wants/needs etc and then…letting them go.

Why?

When you strive/cling, you are acting out of fear as mentioned.
It might not feel like fear sometimes but this can be deceiving. Give it some thought and analyse what is truly driving you to strive or cling e.g, never wanting that good feeling to leave you, or striving to get that promotion for money or status, etc.

Striving and clinging, “closes”(heart)oneself off to a world of abundance and what is already available. Not too mention you will now see life through eyes of fear and desperation, which we all know is not a good place to be in to make sound decisions. We do truly see a world through our own “lenses” and not being centred and striving or clinging places us off balance.

One might argue, that sometimes you are forced to “act” or one needs to “take action” and change the situation…This is not easy to answer and the situation will determine what action needs to be taken in the present moment but just be aware of what is driving you and where it will lead…

We will naturally be drawn and directed according to our strengths and passions by staying open and being present. Giving your full attention to what you are doing now, even if it is a job for example you do not like. By applying yourself presently and at your best will open you to other opportunities, perhaps ones you were not aware of.
You will then carry this positive energy going forward.

Letting go could give you the space you need to think clearly. Again…fear will cloud your judgement – logically speaking for those that relate to this – as you are now not centred and begin acting emotionally. Yes we are emotional beings and we do not fight these emotions but our emotions are very fleeting and subjective, so just be aware of this.

Lets take it a step further and take striving/clinging to the next level – a very anxious level…

The mind in its anxious state, will actively search for solutions(which the brain is hardwired to do). This then places you in a very anxious mind set and anxiety produces more anxious thoughts.

Side Note: I believe, generally speaking, that we are all mostly in a mild state of anxiousness as a standard, if not more, due to our lifestyle and society pressures today, so we also need to be aware of this. But, we don’t have to be caught up in this.

Increased stress and anxiety based on over striving/clinging, will then determine how anxious your thoughts are and how deep and how far you “run” with them. This in turn will determine how long it takes to “snap out of it” or reawaken and become centred once again. You must pay attention to this, as otherwise it just cycles and you end up having your “ups”…and then your “downs”.

Action plan:

Short term plan if stressed or over anxious: Depending on how anxious or “stressful” you are(if acute), the fast track out of there is to stop thinking and “let go” as quickly as possible.
Again, to reiterate – you will not think clearly in this state and being present is the best thing you can do. Thinking is one part of life, not all.

Take a walk, breath, exercise, anything that can break the mindset but remember also not to resist and just “witness” what is going on – you are not your thoughts.

Let go of it all if you have to and just be in the moment. This can be a very freeing moment as we are mostly living in either the past or the future and never really living in the now. I am not encouraging negating responsibility and using “letting go” as an excuse but more so by starting again in the now. Sometimes, however situations that are beyond our control do call for complete surrender.

Long Term Plan: Meditation & mindfulness; awareness; being present; rest in God – practice these gifts and have a little patience.

One also has to remember that we cannot control many things in life, so we need to find balance in that.

I like the analogy of feeding birds – you cannot run after birds to feed them – you need to stay still and centred and wait for them to come to you. You can run and strive to feed them but I think we know what happens there.

Have you ever been focussed and stuck on something for an excruciating long period of time and just not able to make headway? You are then forced to “let it go” for whatever reason, only to come back the next day or after a period of time and cracking it in a minute?

Let go – get perspective – take a step back.

Some might argue, you need to be hungry and grab/take what you can from life but you then need to ask yourself why and where will this truly lead you? If we cannot let go and find relative peace(if not true peace)in the now, then we won’t find it somewhere else or in something else.

This is a very hard pill to swallow, believe me I know but a nice pill to practice swollowing.

Letting go is a statement that says you lack for nothing, “opens” your heart and therefore attracts more abundance – that which we already have.

The Pareto principle I believe can help too, as it states loosely, that 80% of effects comes from 20% of the causes. This can be across many applications. So in effect we worry and stress about 80% of nothing really.

Let Go – “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” Matthew 10:39

This is a beautiful quote which I believe highlights the “letting go” principle  perfectly.

To sum it up as simply as possible: Balance is the key. Striving and clinging is from a place of fear and closes oneself off, not being able to see clearly. Your state of mind and body will signal when you are not in a good space and this is when you need to let go. 

Practice letting go daily and find that balance and you will not need to go to the extremes only to be forced back through stress, illness etc, bringing you back to your natural peace within.

Don’t expect things to change over night – this is how we as a “modern” society, generally speaking, have become conditioned to be. Open your hands and let go and you will receive that which is already your natural inheritance and guide you in the right direction.

Note: Practice these principles. This post should not negate working hard nor encourage just sitting and waiting for things to come to you.

The key is balance. 


Allow these ideas to take root and don’t overthink them.

Enjoy and find peace.