Mindfulness Meditation
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Imagining Problems

by on 01 November

Several years after I started meditating, I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Victoria for several days. I arrived late afternoon, and we enjoyed dinner together. The next day, I woke up with sore, congested sinuses. Perhaps it was due to “jet lag”, or the second glass of wine the night before. Rather than reflect on my discomfort, however – its possible causes or extent - my inner voice took over. It created a disturbing scenario for the rest of my visit.

“I’ve only got four days here”, this silent voice said. “What if my sinuses get worse? I won’t be able to golf tomorrow. And, I’ll miss our trip along the coast the next day. I could spend days in bed nursing this cold, and the trip will be a waste”.

Then, I “woke up” and became aware of what my unconscious mind was doing. I let go of these thoughts, and returned to the here and now. I focused on reality, and reviewed the facts. I had relatively modest sinus congestion which was uncomfortable. I had no idea how long I’d had it – I’d been asleep after all – and could only speculate on whether it would worsen or improve. But, there was no reason to stay in bed.

So, I got up and prepared for the day, focusing on what I was physically doing. I didn’t pursue the negative story-line that my mind had created in unconscious reaction to an unpleasant sensation in my head. And, guess what! Four hours later, my inner voice commented on how good I was feeling and how glad I was to be in Victoria. So much for my high drama, and disappointing visit.

Reflecting later on my mind being “hi-jacked” by this anxiety, I was amazed to realize how quickly it had fabricated this scenario. The conditions for the hi-jacking had been just right – high expectations and excitement for a short visit (only 4 days), and a glimpse of it being disrupted.

I’d been saved by mindfulness which quickly noticed the disturbing thought pattern, and resulting tension in my body. “Letting go” of such negative thoughts had almost become intuitive – it allowed me to return to the here and now, to reality and clear thinking. I’m grateful for this practice which helps me recognize my mental habits, and manage the negative ones.

I didn’t have a “personal best” at golf the next day, but I enjoyed it more than usual because I’d briefly imagined it might not happen. Our thoughts can often be incorrect, and get in the way of our happiness.

Peter Black
Instructor - Meditation and Mindfulness

2 Comments

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  • Lazaro Madueno

    A motivating discussion. I think that you should write more on this issue, typically people don’t speak about these topics. Kind regards!!

    Lazaro Madueno Saturday, 19 November 2016 20:18

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