0 In Authenticity

Quieting Our Minds When Life Becomes Challenging

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This is a guest post by Antonia Lyons.

I have been quiet for a couple of weeks, mainly due to a mysterious illness while away on vacation in Italy which forced me to stop and reconsider a couple of things in my life.

While this would have normally thrown me into a state, I instead found myself watching my week evolving as if I were enjoying a play at the theatre.

I sensed freedom in my ability to witness the events that came up during my holiday with some sort of detachment. Nothing was going to change; I was stuck in a bed and needed to be so because my body was obviously exhausted.

So I took this time to pause and re-think the direction my life had recently taken.

I had to admit that I got trapped in an unhealthy pattern of wanting to control life as much as I can.

Isn’t it funny how even those in my field will from time to time succumb to the attempts of their mind to try and manipulate reality so to make it  ok?

I thought I knew better, and I obviously didn’t.

But strangely enough I didn’t see this to be problem. While I’d normally panic, this time I just shrugged and thought “Oh dear, here we go again, I’ve been trying to manipulate life!”

Trouble is we all do that, to an extent.

We all try to manipulate circumstances to feel good.

It’s what our mind does, it’s its job. It doesn’t really do it well, but it’s what our mind is programmed to do. Our  mind is programmed to take us back to a state of balance whenever life gets challenging, but it does so based on data that it’s been storing since our birth.

So while we try and control things outside of us based on whatever our mind is telling us, we drive ourselves to exhaustion because not only we will never be able to control life from happening but we will also react to our feelings about what’s happening.

Pretty messy, huh?

So if me getting ill while on holiday may look like the worst of luck, it was actually a very good thing.

It gave me the chance to realise that no matter my studies and my job, I still believe my mind. I believe it so much in fact, that I’m always doing what it says even when it’s apparent it’s all lies.

So here I am, on my way back to health, knowing I had this a long time coming.

This is my time to really ask myself the question I have been dreading “am I or am I not going to let my mind run my life?”

Because I could spend hours meditating my life away or throw myself in all sorts of techniques to keep my mind at bay, but I know only too well that it will never ever work.

Until I make the decision in my heart that I can truly be ok with whatever my mind wants to think and that I am not my mind, I will spend my life trying to control a game I cannot control. Life will always happen, the sun will always come up and go down, people will be born and will die, one moment I’ll feel happy and next I’ll be in tears: all of this will happen regardless of what I do or think.

This is the game of life, and I’m here, same as everybody else, playing it the best I can.

So while I take my time to answer that question, I suddenly remember what my mum used to tell me when I was a very young and inexperienced little thinker. Growing up I had what you may call an “analytical mind” even though, I can assure you, that would be putting it lightly. Plagued by constant and obsessive thoughts about life, my heart suffered tremendously. Many nights spent agonising about death, about a future I could not control, nevertheless a present that never felt full enough. These were not happy times, and I can only appreciate now that I’m older, how difficult it must have been for my parents. And in a funny way my mum, bless her heart, did give me my first and most effective technique to seek freedom from the mind.

Whenever she sensed that my mind was on autopilot again, she’d tell me to go and get an ice cream.

At the time, this used to drive me up the wall.

“What do you mean go and get an ice cream? I’m busy saving the world here, woman!”

I seriously thought my mum was weird and obviously incompetent in matters of life.

Growing up I realised how the simple act of distracting myself whenever my mind claims its hold on me, is the most potent remedy. I know now that when my thinking spirals out of control, it’s only my mind’s attempt to make life ok whichever way possible

So rather than trying to figure out how to make my mind stop, I simply choose to distract myself.

Sometimes it works right away, others it takes a bit of time.

But the main thing is that I don’t waste my energy reacting to all the thoughts my mind creates, or trying to make them stop.

I just sit there, and let life do its thing while I busy myself with something good for the heart.

I have eaten tons of ice cream in my time, and no doubt I will eat much more.

I don’t know what you should do, that is down to you to decide. Whatever you choose though, do it knowing that truth is always in a feeling and never in a thought. Want to meditate? Great, do so because it feels good in your heart! Want to do yoga? Make sure your body feels comfortable! Like gardening? Choose plants which feel easy to look after.

While you distract yourself with all these wonderful feelings, something extraordinary will happen.

Your mind will quieten down, and you will start feeling life all over again.

What is your remedy to gain freedom from the mind? Share it in the comments! 

About Antonia

415C61FAA87140C69B3186FEA0068727I’m the founder of Evoking Grace, a coaching program designed to inspire others to be their very best while bringing ease and balance into their everyday life. I can be contacted by email for more details on the work I offer or to schedule a free Wisdom Within Session. Follow my mumbling & musings on  Facebook Twitter & Pinterest to be part of my “online tribe”.

Image: Francisco Moreno

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