Recently I became really ill due to a family incident that dates back a long time ago. This resulted in stress, anxiety and then ultimately depression. I am on the mend but still struggling with fear and going backwards. I'm always resisting the moment and trying to do something about making it better, but always makes it worse.
I have lost 2 family members due to this process which really hurts and of no fault of my own, my mind sometimes has problems of trying to be right and justifying that I have done nothing wrong, but there is nowhere to go with this apart from round and round in my head which just causes anxiety.
Any help gratefully received
Hi MH. Yours is the kind of question that on the one hand can seem pretty awful, but on the other hand, these kind of situations can be those that force you into a different way of living, which is ultimately more peaceful for yourself and those around you.
From your message it seems that I do not have to go into depth to explain that resisting what the moment already holds - only acts to create more tension, suffering, and a perpetuation or worsening of undesirable situations. Inner resistance is habitual, but realising its futility is the first step to freedom.
You are in a good position so far as that you are realising all this resistance, inner fighting and needs to justify yourself are in fact only now creating suffering. Some people never work that out. Suffering has brought you to this point, now you can begin to move past it.
How can you go beyond this inner suffering? The two main pointers are presence, followed by surrender (or acceptance).
First be very present. Be aware of what you are feeling at the moment. Without mentally labeling anything or feeling as if anything has to be named, become aware of what emotions are present in the body. Take your attention within. You don’t have to be concerned with what you have felt or what you will feel like later. Only be aware of what is going on inside yourself right now. Also be aware of what thoughts the mind is generating - the person in the head pretending to be you. Judgements, unpleasantness and inner complaining may habitually arise. First just be aware of these things, be an impartial witness.
The next stage is anti-intuitive. Rather than resisting any unpleasant emotion or frantic thoughts, rather than trying to eliminate their existence, give them space to exist. Offer no resistance. Fully allow these thoughts and emotions to be there. Even as resistance itself habitually arises, this is just another thing you allow to be. Simply let these feelings be as they are, without trying to change them. Treating them in this way will remove their fuel, and will aid the evolution of your consciousness.
As you allow your thoughts and feelings to be there without judging or labeling them, you may become aware that you are the awareness behind them. They have their own momentum, you don’t need to take responsibility for any of this pain or suffering. Be empty inside, with no preference as to what your internal state is like. Paradoxically, your inner state then as a result becomes cleaner - but do not fall into the trap of expecting this to happen. Just be like a space for all the internal noise to play out in.
This can be done with any troubling thought or emotion. You say that resisting and trying to make things better, only makes them worse. This is a perfect opportunity to let things be as they are. Give the world some space, and you will automatically give yourself space. Then any action you take will happen more intuitively, automatically, from deeper intelligence, not from the claustrophobic and reactive ego consciousness.
You say your mind has problems with trying to be right and self justification – and again this has imploded and has become unbearable. If your mind still seeks to justify itself, then it has nothing to do with you. You are not the mind, which you know already – since you said “my mind has problems”, not “I have problems of trying to be right”. Don’t give the suffering mind so much respect. Let it be there, but you don’t need to give it much importance or value.
The mind, the past and worries of the future (all the same thing) will likely still oscillate in the body for a while. Do not identify. Surrender to them completely. Give up your strength, and you will find it. Suffering may rush to the surface so that it can be purified through your acceptance and space of awareness.
Any repetitive patterns of the need to control or self-justification should not be treated as if they are you. They are just old mind-patterns that will exhaust themselves as you allow them to be, without judgement. The voice in the head arises by itself. You are just listening. Disidentification from these patterns occurs naturally from here, and the mind loses force.
You can perceive the external world, thought and emotion. Pay some attention to the space that allows all of it to be. The space around a thought or emotion (usually overlooked, since it is formless), is not affected by the thought or emotion. It has no preferences. Be the space, and all will take care of itself.
I hope this has helped. If you are not satisfied, you are welcome to ask any follow up questions by clicking the comments option below, or you can ask a fresh question on the main “Ask A Question” page if you like.
Thanks for your question,
All the best,
There is also a sleep meditation available on this site that many people have found to be helpful to calm down the mind and body before sleep. If you are interested you can find the link here: http://www.innerpeacenow.com/Sleep-Meditation.html