We are all having fearful thoughts about what’s happening in our world right now.
So much uncertainty. So much suffering.
But then what most of us do is add to the weight of these fearful thoughts by becoming afraid of them. We’re afraid they’re going to take over, and we’ll spend the next few days, months, or even years, hiding under bed covers, either literally or figuratively.
You don’t have to stay in bed to be hiding from your feelings.
I have a short video teaching from last year’s retreat I hosted in Mexico that can help. It describes a really meaningful way to be with your fear and fearful thoughts, so that you won’t feel like they are going to pull you under.
How We Practice Riding the Waves
1. Morning Mindfulness
When you first wake up can be an optimal time to set your mental compass toward watching the waves. As soon as you open your eyes, see if you can watch waves of experience rising and falling. So maybe your first thoughts of the day are of your family and how they’re doing. These thoughts will create certain feelings that will rise, last a certain duration, and then fall. Then maybe your pet enters the room, and you engage with them. Now the wave of those feelings surrounding your family will come to an end and new thoughts and feelings – triggered by engaging with your pet – will be rising. Then you’ll go and make coffee or breakfast, and the previous waves will end to make way for the new waves of eating your breakfast, the pleasure and taste, the feelings of satiation, etc.To practice like this takes a certain degree of refined mindfulness, in that it’s much easier to get swept up by each new wave as it’s arising, a little more challenging to watch the waves. But this is why we practice, to develop our mindfulness muscle, so that we can begin to see the subtle shifts in mood, tone, thoughts and experience, which brings us closer to truly understanding impermanence.
2. Remind Yourself
If you gain some experiential familiarity with watching the waves of your life’s experience, when troublesome thoughts and feelings arise, it will be easier to remember – to remind yourself – that these thoughts and feelings, just like all waves, will come and go.
3. Adopt the Attitude of the Surfer
The surfer has one goal in mind – to ride the waves. The surfer doesn’t wish for the waves to be gone, and they don’t wish for only the small and easy ones….they both crave and worship the BIG WAVES because those are the ones that make them feel most alive. Now, I’m not saying you need to be wishing you had some big strong huge waves in your life right now, but the attitude of the surfer is one that goes and meets the waves – armed with their surfboard – because as long as there are waves, they’re going to be riding them.See if you can adopt the attitude of, “Well, I didn’t wish for this wave to be here, but here it is, so I’ve got 2 choices. I can let it pull me under or I can grab my surfboard and surf it, knowing that it won’t last forever.” Think of your meditation practice as your surfboard. It can hold you up, give you something to stand on so you’re not trying to surf those waves with your barefeet! We need something to stand on, to rest on, in order to surf….let this be your meditation practice. And I promise, it will hold you.
Let me show you how…Join me for the webinar this Saturday, May 2, 10-11am MST, where I’ll teach you how to meditate with fear and surf the waves. I promise that you’ll feel better after joining us. Almost 200 people from all over the country will be sitting together in meditation. All that’s missing is you. If you’ve signed up for our Life on Mindfulness program, you’ve got a free spot in the webinar. For everyone else, register for Saturday May 2 here.
With all my love,