Mindfulness When Your Life is Falling Apart
By John Dawling
Mindfulness is what you do when you are aware of your current surroundings. It is the way out from every stressful thought, every painful memory, everything you’re worrying about. It is the way of peace. Through meditation, you can learn to be mindful. With daily practice, it can help you when your life may seem to be falling apart. Mindfulness allows you to feel where life hurts. You can look into what your ego mind has to say about it. How it frets about what you’ll do. The ego doesn’t serve you well in times of life falling apart. It usually causes you to become extremely stressed as you weigh out your options. Sometimes, things aren’t in your control.
So with mindfulness, we accept what we can’t control. We feel the real pain of what is happening. We realize that no matter what the problem is, our heart still beats and life will move forward. There are many different ways we can look at loss, which is usually what has happened when life falls apart. Loss is painful, it is sometimes debilitating, and it can cause anxiety and stress. Mindfulness can’t change what has happened. Mindfulness can only be a source of being truly in the moment. Of not running away from your experience.
Why does that matter? The sooner we look at what has happened, honor our feelings, and accept it, the sooner we can truly understand it’s meaning in our life and move on. Mindfulness will be a gentle but immediate reminder that we are more than the body that encompasses us. We have a greater power and the ability to shut the mind down when it doesn’t serve us.
It’s the mind shutting the ego off that is truly an effective part of the process. The mind was given a job by you long ago. You asked it to protect you and so it does. When things come up in your life, call them triggers from the past, your psyche may be looking back to a similar situation or feeling that occurred when you were five. How are we meant to manage our life when we use tools from our childhood? This is why mindfulness is so necessary. To stop the cycle of thoughts and feelings that don’t serve us any longer.
Mindfulness allows you to go with the flow of life. So when things do fall apart, instead of reacting to it, you can just accept it. Fall into it. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can let it go through you. Of course, there will be many challenging moments that test your ability to go with the flow when things are wrong. What is the option? Things have happened. How you react to them is really what will define you and your life.
So feel it. Breathe in all the messy feelings. Feel the tension in your throat, stomach, shoulders and neck. Acknowledge that is there. It is far more advantageous than dreaming up the worst case scenarios in your mind. Put your hand on the places that hurt in you and offer self-love. Something Tara Brach, a spiritual teacher says in her guided meditations is to acknowledge the pain or tension by putting your hand on it and saying, “this too”. This all comes from just taking some time to scan the body so you can truly feel what is happening.
Sometimes mindfulness can be as simple as just bringing all your senses to focus on the breath. This is your life force and it has a powerful way to relax you quickly. Deep breathing into the belly can relax the central nervous system immediately. Imagining that your breath moves with the waves of the ocean can bring inner peace. When you focus on your breath in a mindful way, you deter all the ego mind chatter going on. So not only do you give yourself the ability to relax through breath, you get the space you need to find clarity in your current situation.
The clarity you need may just be the solution to your problems. Even if it isn’t, the point is, you always have a deeper knowing and a higher power within yourself. Regardless of the pain or loss you are experiencing, there is a way you can still see the beauty in the life that surrounds you. The power of mindfulness will stop you from seeing things in a way that brings you deep negative feelings. Whatever happens in life can still include having an open heart. When your heart is open, you live authentically and it is the highest way to live available. We are all here on this earth and tragedy happens to everyone. How will you make the best of it? How will you help others through it? Being mindful can help you answer these questions and improve the outcome. Believe and let your higher seat of consciousness be in command the next time life falls apart.