Entertaining calm and empowering thoughts is easy as long as things are running smoothly, as long as life goes ‘according to plan’. But most of us are finding ourselves in a different situation right now.
Overthinking creates mental and physical tiredness, and when tiredness kicks in we easily fall into inertia and frustration.
How to keep our heads above the waters of emotions when the sea is choppy, like now? How to make sure our thoughts do not turn as choppy as the waters?
The Five Hindrances of the Mind
These can also be referred to as “blocks of the mountain”. Hindrances to what? Let us look at the hindrances to ‘making our life a little easier’. Here, we speak of hindrances of the mind, because we want to remove them.
Likes and Attachments
Especially question the merits of obsessions. What do I mean by obsession? It is when we do something to the extent that it is no longer healthy. Take doing sports, for example. Normally doing sports is good for us, but when it is done to counteract something that we don’t like – perhaps being overweight and we don’t like our body – doing sports can turn into an obsession. Obsessions often cover up our own unconscious feelings of inadequacy. In my case, what comes to mind is my past obsession for work. I can see now how huge my need for recognition was. I craved validation from the outside world, and it made me push myself too hard. Working hard can be perfectly fine and not pose a problem, but in combination with a drive to achieve what may not even be achievable (validation by others, for example) the result of our obsession most often is burn-out, frustration and a feeling of not being good enough. Try to keep the pulse on any cravings and aim to avoid obsessing. Do not obsess over anything. Anything. I suppose the counterweight is detachment. Try to simply enjoy what is, without expectations for a certain result.
Dislike or Aversion
Imagine that you’re climbing a mountain and it suddenly starts to rain. How to handle what we don’t like? Be it things, situations, or people… Can I let go? Maybe we don’t want to. We feel stubborn. But the fact is that if we allow dislikes or aversions to rule our lives, we clutter our experience so much that there is no space left for experiences which bring deep joy.
Overcoming dislikes and aversions is very empowering. It helps you establish who is in control of who. Your mind or something infringing on your mind? Acceptance of a situation will be a good start. To accept that I dislike, and then to gently prod – could it change?
Dullness or Heaviness
Self-mastery means that nobody is able to influence how you feel, to bring you down. But how to reach such level of mastery in everyday life? First understand that it is all linked to your energy system. Breath-work and yoga are great, but why? Because they literally help you heal the serration between body and mind.
To become a master, we need to be in our body.
Once you can feel better what is going on, detect what your emotions and energies are telling you… they remain under your command. In my experience, feeling more of my energies embodied, I am uplifted, somehow. Simply returning to my breath. Being aware of breathing, throughout the day, can bring me back to myself. As can taking some moments to sit quietly and undisturbed. Or why not lie down on your back on the floor or on the ground in nature. Just feel what is.
As you spend time in solitude, or relative solitude, it may become clear to you that your mind is restless. One sign of this is a tendency to dwell on the past or the future. The solution is to implement some strategies for being more fully present in each moment. For example, when brushing your teeth or washing your hands, adding ‘hooks’ as you go along, try to be fully present. ‘Hooks’ here are activities that act as prompts to presence (I use post-it-notes with a smile giving me the prompt I need). The answers that you seek are always only to be found in the now.
If issues of the past or worries about the future keep haunting you, set aside some time for concentrated forgiveness and trust work. Sit and bathe in the beauty of life, including any past regrets. You are still here now. Forgive yourself, right now.
Scepticism and Doubt
When we doubt ourselves, we tend to over-analyse and pay too much attention to the opinions that others have of us. It can also be that we trust the opinions of others on various issues more than we trust our own opinions. Even when we strongly feel that our opinions are ‘right’ (they are right for us). To counter this, it can help to understand that we all have our own baggage, and our own way of seeing things. Knowing this, try to trust in your own instincts and commit to not avoiding what scares you. When in doubt, trust in your own ability to find your way or do precisely what you fear you cannot.
How to overcome these hindrances of the mind or ‘difficulties of life’?
Just being aware that these states tend to occur can help a lot. Having the list of ‘The Five Hindrances of the Mind’ within reach can help too. We can use it to pinpoint what is going on, how exactly we are self-sabotaging, and we can find a remedy that supports. I also recommend having an activity that can recalibrate your energy field. In my case this is shamanic drumming. It’s a sure way to shift the energy, truly experiencing how any emotion or pain is a passing phenomenon. Breathe into the emotion, feel the emotion. And as you exhale, imagine the emotion leaving your body. Repeat this several times until you feel the easing of the emotion.
Remain the observer and vow to yourself that you are not joining the drama and tantrums thrown by your mind.
Instead, enjoy the view from the top of your mountain.
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More about Claudia Roth
I believe in the connection of body-mind-spirit. This makes up the foundation for healing, as I have myself experienced. Post a corporate high-profile career in luxury hospitality my mission is to help those who want to live a more connected and soulful life.
I write, facilitate events and consult companies on the evolution of wellbeing and healing hospitality. My book “A 28 Days Journey to Self Love”, a guided journal is available on Amazon and other major book retailers.