Updated: Feb 15, 2022
Sometimes it may feel like a battle suddenly erupts inside you. A battle between your mind, body and inner-heart. Something may happen and 'whoosh' anxiety takes over – raising its sword like a crazed transformer and you are at war seemingly without choice, without pause to consider another way. The noise inside your head is so loud, persistent and overwhelming that you lose all sense of yourself, of clarity, joy or meaning. You become disconnected – from body, from mind, from Soul and chaos seizes your reins as stress, anxiety and overwhelm, depression, confusion and self-doubt take over.
If truth be known, the real you is always there. Your wise and loving Essence, the ‘un-harmable’ all knowing core of your being simply becomes buried under your reactions to the frays of life’s battles, under your protective coping mechanisms, under false expectations. The You that knows exactly how to express and respond to each moment is always there – if the ‘other you’ would just relax and get out of the way!
The 'other you' is the part who stumbles about in reaction to your experiences, to others, to life, to the world. It engages in 'knee-jerk' or unconscious reactions to deal with life, to protect your hurts, keep you comfortable in your familiar ways – even if your familiar is horribly uncomfortable – at least it is familiar! There is nothing scarier to the 'other' you than change. It rages in defensiveness, stubbornness, aggression, force or powerlessness. It concedes, contracts and cowers, stammers, stutters and blusters. It is confused, full of pain and fear and calling for help whilst contrarily driven in its desire to stay true to its devastating course. To drown in anxiety, to be stuck in the suspended animation of doubt and depression.
Anxiety and depression ignite when something comes along in life that we do not know how to deal with, do not want to or both. Anxiety is usually fuelled by 'what if?' thinking, by imagined fears of the future. Depression fuelled by 'woulda, shoulda, coulda' and 'used to be' thinking, by looking back to the past. In most cases we swing between the past and the future, between anxiety and depression and by-pass the present. Our expression sometimes flows from our essence, sometimes from our fearful separated self. Sometimes we are clear and confident, sometimes not, depending on our state of connectedness or disconnection, depending on whether we hold our mind and body in the same place at the same time, or not – in other words Conscious Presence.
The present, the 'here and now' is where inner settlement, clarity and confidence are accessed, so it is that presence becomes the primary goal for overcoming any level, either minor or major of confusion, stress, anxiety and depression. But how? How do we achieve conscious presence and how to we retain it?
One way is through meditation. To re-connect body and mind, and remain connected to self is the primary reason why we meditate.
The aim of meditation is to replace moments of anxiety, depression, confusion, and overwhelm for moments of connection, inner-stillness, harmony and clarity - until this becomes our new 'default' setting, our new norm and anguish loses its grip.
In meditation you give yourself space to re-connect, to spend time just being, breathing your own breath and accessing realisations. You give yourself space to stop and feel what’s really happening within your body, within your mind and within your life with a clarity that can only be achieved via a state of conscious presence.
Meditation offers us sanctuary from life's madness. It's like sitting in the eye of a storm, where chaos spins around you – outside of you, but not within, and you are able to simply be. In the 'being-ness' you can remember you are more than the body, you are multi-dimensional - despite the wild cravings and identifications of the 'other you' – the one who dramas, the pain, the strivings. The one that clings staunchly to its stresses, dramas, pain and strivings, its limiting ideals and beliefs. Meditation offers us a stop moment in which to reset ourselves. To restore and recalibrate to being the observer of the world without reaction, to a state of 'Cool, Calm and Connectedness' – it is not to escape into rare moments of respite.
An important thing to remember is that meditation should not be used to escape from the world. It is to be used as a tool of connection. Once you return to a state of being, a state of connectedness, clarity, settlement and self-authority - the point is then to live it, to bring it into your daily activities, into your every movement and expression - as much as possible that is and without perfection.
This takes practice. It requires consistent re-booting, re-connecting - and as a consistent practice it offers us an ever-deepening journey back to our innate inner stillness, harmony, joy, truth and love , it re-establishes these as our new 'normal'.
That is why we meditate.