This is for anyone engaged in the Work, it’s a running list of practical things that have kept me from going completely bonkers while I’m going ballistic in my quest for understanding.
- Physical exercise. Consistency is the name of the game here. Make it a point to do SOMETHING every single day. Even if it seems like nothing, like 10 pushups a day, it all adds up. I like to do things I can do anywhere so I can do them whenever I get an idle moment. I’m also learning to use this as a healthy form of responsive conditioning when idle thoughts begin going astray. If I catch myself in any kind of destructive thinking, I respond to it with taking a walk, yoga/stretching, or light exercise. The key is the commitment to doing something every day that you can sustain. Don’t wait until your brain comes to a boil and try to cure it with a thousand reps of bodily punishment that requires a week of recovery. No matter what you’re doing, 1 rep of any move done slowly, correctly, and paying attention to what you’re body is doing and feeling is worth more than a hundred sloppy ones. This especially holds true with yoga, I’ll typically spend and hour on just 4-5 movements. This also serves to counteract the tension that comes just from having to meet the demands of a busy life.
- Mental exercise. Watch your thoughts. If they are idle and beating you up it’s because they’ve run out of something constructive to do. I don’t mean think happy thoughts and kill any sad ones, I mean keep them all busy trying to figure themselves and you out. Instead of letting your thoughts hammer you with problems, task them with figuring out solutions. Easier said than done, but where there’s a will there’s a way. It also seems good to have both long and short term mental projects you’re trying to figure out for various reasons. I think the biggest one is to keep from beating the daylights out of a dead horse when frustrated or over obsessing.
- Emotional exercise. There’s no lack of this one in our daily lives, but I think the real exercise here is in trying to figure out just what it is we’re really feeling and why. I suck here, I almost never know why I feel the way I do when I feel bad and when I’m feeling good I’m all too happy to wallow in it without proper investigation. I’m beginning to understand now that feelings are just that, impressions impinging on our individual magnetic fields by other individual magnetic fields. The Heart feels them, but the Mind must interpret them as to what they mean in the way of communication with the Life around and within us. The Mind is the universal translator and it needs all the practice it can get. Proper interpretation and understanding of these impressions is the ability to “use the Force” like a master Jedi.
- Pay attention to your breathing! That’s it, don’t do anything except learn to always be paying attention to it. If your breathing is rapid or shallow you can gently take control of it and calm yourself down, but other than this the most important thing is to notice how your breathing affects your state of mind and vice versa.
- Pay attention to where you are within your own Trinity. This means paying attention to your own inner dialogue and observing who is talking and who is listening. We rotate thru the 3 different aspects of our own trinity when engaged in conversation with our selves. Pay attention to the conversation and where you’re positioned within you’re own triune self on all sides of the conversation. You can start with exploring how it’s even possible to engage in conversation with ourselves, it’s a miracle of the Trinity.
- Keep a healthy sense of humor. Learn to recognize when you’re losing yours and how vitally important it is. They say laughter is the best medicine and I wholeheartedly agree. When you’re pushing everything balls to the wall trying to figure yourself out things can get pretty serious, especially when exploring some of the darker corners within our own psyche. The best way to keep from getting stuck in a dark corner is to see the comedy in it, to be able to look for that and get a good hearty laugh out of it. It’s there no matter how dire things appear to be, they don’t call life the Divine Comedy without good reason.
- I’ll keep adding more as I think of stuff, that’s all I got off the top of my head 🙂