How to get past trapped states of mind

Have you ever had an experience when your mind is banging on and on about something that happened earlier that day or week: may be something that someone said to you or behaved in a way that didn’t feel quite “right”, and your thoughts on the matter just keep running in your head like a train in circles, without any destination?

I had such experience just this morning, when my teenage son expressed his reluctance to do something health related that was, as I imagined, really important and necessary for him to do. I reacted to that by not talking to him for the whole duration of our hour-long ride in the car and becoming emotionally distant. Five minutes later, he peacefully fell asleep whereas I was having an on-going monologue inside my head about the futility of all our best intentions, about wanting to give up this stupid and annoying mother’s role (which is essentially just an attachment), and that each of us is on our own, and that the fact that one person grows in a belly of another doesn’t really mean anything, and also that my son is lacking gratitude for what he is given, and so on…

At some point, I wanted to stop thinking, but I couldn’t. Why? Because I felt “right” in my thinking and something inside me wanted to carry on. I became curious about that “something”. I asked myself: “What are you feeling right now?” After a few moments, I realised that I was feeling three main emotions: powerlessness, anger and despondency. My train of thoughts stopped as if there was no point in thinking any more. A few miles later, I suddenly realised that I often react to any upsetting situation in my life with this exact set of emotions. I would say, since my childhood…

“So, what now?”, I asked myself. I was no longer thinking, but the emotions were just there, not moving. I did feel closer to myself though, and I noticed that my heart had softened… Then I decided to give my emotions my full attention. I started to find different sensations in my body, naming and describing them in details: a sensation of heaviness behind my ears, a sensation of emptiness in my solar plexus, an unpleasant tension in my neck…

About ten minutes later, my state had changed. After receiving my full attention, the emotions trans-mutated and completely evaporated from the body and I returned to my usual happy and light-hearted self. I looked at my sleeping messy-haired teenager and smiled to myself thinking: “OK, maybe I can “do the mother” just for another couple or three years before I will “hand him over” to Life…”

You might be experiencing all sorts of complexities and emotional hardship in your own life. What kind of emotion is driving your thinking? No matter what it is, do not abandon yourself. Give yourself your full attention.

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