Ok the hard drive on my Mac desktop computer crashed, my ultra reliable 2 year old Honda Element wouldn’t start after training with a client in Santa Monica, my AAA roadside service membership expired a month ago without me realizing it and two clients cancelled at the last minute on me, and all before 11 am.
Well Mercury is out of Retrograde (not that I take any stock in that concept) so we can’t blame all of the above on that. I thought to myself, “you know its all really just life and with life there will undoubtedly be some shitty days!”
It’s a simple fact and the sooner we realize and accept that very real fact, the better off we will all be in life.
The Markus of years past would have gone totally ballistic and let all these unfortunate annoying setbacks totally ruin the entire day. I must admit a few choice and very appropriate X-rated words were verbalized in a civil tone in rapid succession when I turned the key and my fairly new truck refused to spring to life, just a melodic clicking and dull hum. I give it an 8, it had a nice dance groove quality to it. I’m happy to say the old blood pressure remained stable as a rock and my disposition stayed sunny.
I decided to stay calm and quickly put things in perspective, in doing so I used my energy to focus on solutions rather than dwell on the negative situations I found myself in.
When you become outraged, the added stress you put on yourself has some very harmful negative effects on your mental and physical well-being. Then when the damage is done, you are still left with dealing with the problems you face, worse in a drained and beaten down state.
I’ve painfully learned over the years that throwing a fit, doesn’t make the problems you face magically disappear; they are still there starring you right in the face. All you’ve accomplished is wasting time and energy. Holding onto problems and letting them control you and ruin your day is just ridiculous behavior. Think about the problem, find a solution, attack the problem head on and than quickly forget about the problem.
Having your doctor tell you have cancer, well that is something to sweat, the unfortunate stuff I was facing was all bullshit. Using my wings to stay above the bullshit was the right choice no doubt.
DEALING WITH LIFE’S MANY PROBLEMS:
Saints, philosophers, achievers all agree that problems enrich life as much as victories and happiness. What is important is to not let them intimidate you and develop the skill to use them to empower the self. There are many ways to do this; ways that help you overcome your worst fears and problems. Some are suggested by Tulku Thondup, an adept of the Nyingma branch of Tibetan Buddhism, in his book The Healing Power of Mind.
An important thing about problems is to try and avoid them if they seem mild or temporary.
Says Tulku: ‘‘If we don‘t mind these problems, they will go away.‘‘ When you are not ready to face problems, it is best to avoid them. Only when you know you have the mental strength should you try to resolve the problem or release it through meditation.
On the other hand, if you are one of those whose minds are strong and who have a great deal of pride, it would be helpful to feel deeply the pain brought by the problem. This will help get rid of some of the pride by facilitating a connection with the very core of life, thereby focusing attention in the right direction.
RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT
Recognizing and accepting one‘s problems in the right spirit is imperative to begin the process of healing. While some problems are evidently unimportant, others need to be faced in their totality. It often becomes a habit with us to push away problems that seem insurmountable, forgetting that they will reappear, maybe in a more destructive form. Identifying a problem clearly is the first step to dealing with it. If committed to solving it, each problem will appear easier to deal with and it is possible that those that we thought permanent and irresolvable will vanish.
FIND THE SOURCE
Now that you have the right attitude, it is time to begin the process of dealing with your problem. Begin with trying to find the source. To understand the problem, sit in a comfortable, quiet place that affords few distractions. Relax your body and quiet your mind. Breathe deeply, and imagine all your worries being released with the out-breath. Feel peaceful, clear and spacious. Allow yourself to be in that peace for a while. Then slowly, look at the problem you are facing. See it and also feel it. Acknowledge its presence.
Tulku Thondup also suggests retracing one‘s steps and going back in memory. Think of how the problem may have begun. Go back to the earliest possible time, place and source of the pain. See the possible shape, color, temperature and location of that place. As we begin contemplating the causes and feeling them, our healing has begun.
FEEL THE PROBLEM
See your problems objectively without pre-labeling them as negative. If you feel sad or wronged, even small issues could seem big. While healing, no emotion needs to be denied. Allow your feelings to surface so that they can be released. If there is emotional pain, it indicates the impact this shake-up is having on you. So it is good to cry as it releases mental stress, physical pressure and chemical toxins that build up when we hold back pain. Express naturally and frankly without grasping, hiding or defending the pain. Allowing grief its natural space to heal will finally lead to it running its course, says Tulku.
Constantly dwelling upon a situation will make you suffer. Seeing a problem as negative, constantly thinking and talking about its severity makes even small hurdles seem insurmountable. Despite everything, remember to be gentle with yourself.
All this is about perceptions then. Avoid disharmonious words. When you generate strong positive energy, it can help cease, or at least ease suffering. Make friends with problems. When difficult emotions come, you can ask them what they want. You may need to relax and stop grasping, to take better care of yourself and recognize your true needs, or to change your behavior.
CLEAR MENTAL GARBAGE
A major goal of spiritual practice is to clear our minds of the intellectual and emotional garbage we have collected since childhood, so that we can provide space for true relaxation and enjoyment. Tulku warns that while positive thoughts become nourishment for the mind, negative views and passions have toxic effects. It is important to make a determined effort not to let our mind dwell on problems as negative. Occupy your mind with something else- reading, gardening, or painting. They are often the anchors that see people through their problems.
When feeling overwhelmed by sadness or loneliness, you can merge in the openness of the sadness. Allow your breathing to become relaxed. Instead of trying to push the sadness away, or labeling it as `bad‘, stay where you are mentally, open but calm. Feel your sadness without grasping or judging, just as it is. Relax and merge with the feeling, lose yourself in it, space into space.
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