We are all wandering around the midst of the chaos of whatever is going on around us, whether it is making us feel unsettled, filling us with fear, or burdening us with stress or anger. For ages, monks and mystics have used practices such as meditation to dissolve the fusion between thought and thinker, impulse and action, freeing the mind from some of its tighter constraints and distorted interpretations.
The idea of the phrase "be here now" leads us to the fact that our mind is easily distracted, whipsawing back and forth in time, engaging with “push” memories of the past and “pull” projections of the future.
It’s only by being fully in the present, fully attuned to the “now,” that we can deal with the moment in an emotionally agile way.
We can only lead our mind to concentrate and allow it to be fully conscious in the present moment, when we start examining what's causing this rather reactionary impulses to situations...
...and the technique often used to do this is called mindfulness.
When we check in regularly, to where our emotions and feelings are flowing from and to, we often come to realise that the vortex of extra work, anger on your boss or colleagues is a natural consequence of being stressed or overwhelmed.
Harvard researchers, performed brain scans on sixteen people, before and after they took an eight-week mindfulness-training programme to reduce stress. The results showed changes in the brain regions associated not just with stress but also with memory, sense of self, and empathy.
"It appears that practicing mindfulness improves connectivity inside the brain’s networks that keeps us from being distracted."
When we are emotionally agile, we see the situation for what it is. We don't try to resolve it. We stop being a problem- solver. It's the situation when our minds stop insisting on being rational and rather they have the ability to say, 'I am noticing my thoughts as thoughts', and:
Thoughts are not my actions
Thoughts don't define me
Thoughts are not my feelings
...this comes to us slowly when we practice kindness, and compassion with ourselves and towards each other, because being emotionally agile involves being sensitive to context and responding to the world as it is right now.
When we are juggling or triggered with our thoughts in situations and times, we try to stop the tug-of-war. It's when we stop fighting, when we stop fencing our walls, that we loosen up and calm down. We need to remember our values and, face up to, make peace with, and find an honest and open way to live with them. When we show up fully, with awareness and acceptance, even the worst demons usually back down. Simply by facing up to the scary things and giving them a name, we often strip them of their power. We end the tug-of-war by dropping the rope.
Our hidden demons are simply the residue of our own insecurity, fear of failure , shame or guilt. By identifying them and understanding deeply the roots of them, we are taking the power out of them... because, as Pema Chodron says, "Shame and guilt have no power when we talk about it." It's all about pausing and choosing between the space of impulse and reaction, how you chose to respond to your emotional warning system.
When we feel sadness, anger, disappointment, or any feeling we can often find ourselves hooked and respond in the same behavioural pattern. The only way to get ourselves unhooked is to:
...because emotions are seasonal and we are the sky.
Being mindful doesn't work like a silver bullet. It's a process.
It's a willingness to work just everyday
It's a willingness to put in the effort
It's the willingness to grow and everyday try to become a little better
“How we deal with our inner world drives everything. Every aspect of how we love, how we live, how we parent and how we lead. The conventional view of emotions as good or bad, positive or negative, is rigid. And rigidity in the face of complexity is toxic. We need greater levels of emotional agility for true resilience and thriving.”