meditation in anxious times
how to keep yourself calm when anxiety is all around?
control the things you can control.
take care of your body, and take care of your mind.
meditation is a tried and tested way of taking care of your mind, full on and directly.
it's not a way of spacing out, or denying what is real.
you don't actually have to sit still to do it.
you don't have to join a cult or any particular social group.
you don't have to stop thinking. you don't have to stop feeling.
meditation's the art of not getting sucked into compulsive storylines about what's going to happen in the future or what happened in the past, or what you should have said or what you didn't do or could have done better, etc, etc ad nauseum.
so you could say that meditation needs to be the number one priority right now when we need all our energy to confront the actual situation at hand.
we simply can't be wasting emotional and mental power on internal drama.
at the same time it can't just be ignored. so what's the answer?
* give yourself radical permission
whatever you're thinking or feeling, allow it.
not like some kind of spiritual trick - 'i accept you in the hope that you'll quickly disappear'. that one doesn't work.
actually give yourself full and frank permission to feel however it is you're feeling, to think whatever it is you're thinking.
your mind likes to think, that's fine, that's what it's for.
* keep some attention on the safe thing
and at the same time, keep a little attention on something in you which is not the thoughts and feelings. it might be the breath. it might be some area in your body that feels less tense, that feels ok, or safe.
keep a tiny amount of attention there, on purpose.
when you lose it, you can always come back.
* keep coming back
that's more or less what meditation is, when you lose it, come back. rinse and repeat.
at first it may seem like a thankless task, but with time the balance shifts. there 's a little more confidence in your own intention and control, and the effects themselves, a little more peace, feel good, soften you, and enable you to think and feel what you need to be thinking and feeling right now, more efficiently, in order to do what needs to be done.
if you want to sit on a cushion, or chair, spine straight, hips above your knees if you can manage it, then do so.
if not then while moving, dancing, working, doing any daily task, you can always give yourself permission
* do this anytime, any way that suits you