As the school holidays approach, many parents are intending to travel with their children to holiday destinations, some for the first time. Whether you are planning a holiday travel or intending to spend time at home with your children, it is very likely that there will be moments of frustration and stress, that you will experience. Such moments usually arise when one has become identified with the mind and believes the reality should be different than how it is in that moment. It is always the thoughts we have about a situation that cause us stress and distress, never the situation itself.
Out mind can only take us in one of two directions; our thoughts either take us into the past or into the future. As Eckhart Tolle puts it aptly,
"All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry -all forms of fear- are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence."
In each case, when we go into the past or the future, we move away from the present. And by doing so we lose our grounding, our stillness, even our peace. A very practical way of supporting oneself in those moments is through consciously practicing awareness of the present moment. For in the present moment there are no problems.
So what is the present moment? This may be baffling for the mind. The present moment is what is around us at any given moment. Our sense perception is always in the present moment. What we see, hear, touch, and feel. Our breath is always in the present moment. When we use our sense perception 'consciously', we move our attention from the mind. In simple words, it is not possible to breathe consciously and to think at the same time! Try it for yourself!
In that moment when all the mind wants to do is to retort, and the body wants to fight (yell) or flight (close off), how will you self-regulate?
Practice presence or present awareness. Use the breath i.e. conscious breath or the sense perception i.e. looking around the room slowly while breathing consciously or use inner body awareness as anchors to stay in touch with the present moment. For difficult emotions arising, give them as much space in your body and drop into them i.e. directly surrender into them. Remember that emotion is energy in motion. You need to feel it to let it move through.
For more information on practical ways of practicing presence, I invite you to click the button below to read information on my classes on Mindfulness for Adults, starting on Oct 14, 2015 in Kenmore, Qld 4069.
I wish you a very enjoyable school break of connection and presence with your children!