Tuesday 29 May 2012

#135 The momentum of our lives

     Our thought patterns have a certain momentum - our obsessive plans, anxieties and catastrophizations. The "story of me" has been doing re-runs in our heads for our entire lifetime, along with the linked emotions and physical symptoms.
     Even our bodies have a momentum - "muscle memory." It's an excruciatingly slow process letting go of muscular tension in our backs, neck, facial muscles etc.
     And of course our behavior has a huge momentum - habits are deeply ingrained - have you tried dropping a daily habit - like say your morning coffee, or nervous eating?
     Many of us base our very identity on the above constellation of thought / feeling / behavior patterns - "that's me!" So even our problematic self-concept has a momentum. This is despite the fact that we realize that much of this "identity" causes suffering for ourselves and others.
     Thinking, speaking, and behaving appropriate to the needs of the present situation (instead of going with the momentum of our habits) INITIALLY feels like swimming UPstream instead of riding the river downstream. If we reflect on our habitual thinking, speaking and behavior patterns, are these carefully considered to be most appropriate to the current circumstance & most beneficial in the long-run to all parties - OR - reactive, based primarily on self-interest?
     Momentum feels a bit like riding a roller coaster on the downward tracks - reconsideration of the destination, or even the pace, becomes increasingly impossible. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is like flying a helicopter, which can hover in one spot so one can look all around, then go at a chosen pace, to the selected appropriate place.

     So, shall we stay asleep on the roller coaster OR take helicopter flying lessons ie wake up & train to be continuously mindful?
     Are we ready to replace these problematic momenta with mindfulness that leads to a deeply meaningful life?

Photo: David A. Lovas

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