My friend, Jean Hamilton-Fford, brought this one to my attention (more than once, but it takes more than once for me). I have found it extremely useful in staying centered and detaching from anxiety.
It’s really amazing how unconscious the emotional parts of our brains are. Just running on automatic electro-chemical pathways established since the vulnerable times of childhood. I’ve always been a worry-wart trying to please everyone to keep people from getting angry at me, looking to others’ emotional states to keep me calm.
But it’s like sleepwalking, this anxious state, and I certainly can’t count on other people to stay calm for me (duh!). It’s one thing to sit down to meditate or something and let go of all these emotional reaction distractions, but quite another to maintain awareness in the midst of daily life activities. I’ve always found myself easily distracted by my own worry habits.
So, Jean asked me to engage each of my senses individually to change my awareness. Takes some practice to use it in the midst of daily life activities, but it’s very relaxing. Let’s see if I can give you the “sense” of it when I remember to do it.
Say my “monkey mind” is working me over to do with house hunting (the current anxiety-inducing project) and I’m just standing in front of the kitchen sink. I interrupt my thought by engaging my senses in the present moment.
- I see the color of the sink, look around at the floor, the shades, see the brown of the cabinets (wait, I can’t think of my worries at the same time I’m doing this!);
- I listen to the rumble and clank of a nearby RV owner prepping to get onto the next destination in his adventure;
- I smell the shampoo from hubby’s recent time in the shower;
- I feel the cool surface of the countertop (I never noticed it was slightly textured…);
- I taste the smoke from the fires in the area in my mouth (Never noticed that before, either).
Wow. I just forgot about all my worries and heightened my senses with this focus (without extra drug chemicals). My brain can feel this short-circuiting of the usual worry pathways and stops the inner chatter.
You will find out if you try this that your brain really does have trouble doing more than one conscious activity at a time.
In addition to using this method to reset your emotional state, you can also use it to go deeper into your feelings by noticing how things and people around you affect your emotions, then go into each of your senses to see where the real love or fear is.
This method also makes it easier to get into my universal energy space where I feel this connectedness to the entire fabric of the universe (something I’ve been doing off and on since at least age seven).
Try focusing in on your senses like this and see how it improves your ability to stay in the present and out of regret and worry.
Signposts Along the Hermit’s Path
Amy White took an introspective tour as a result of the recent eclipse. I like her perspective, and I include her musings here, twelve days later because I can still feel the energetic effects of this eclipse; I think this one will have a number of emotional-energetic ripples, particularly for Americans.
Also, if I haven’t done so before, I’d like to remind you of a lovely daily reminder expressed as a word of the day from Jean Hamilton-Fford at her Morphic Wisdom site. You may think that it’s just a short word definition thing that has no deeper significance, but you might be wrong about that. I’ve had a number of ah-ha’s over these words and definitions. Great meditative prompts!