Fixin’ for a Fight?
Please allow me to share an example of how practical Energy of Mind: A Sauhu Therapy is. Last night I was getting geared up for an argument with my wife. She left me alone with our 5 month old for two hours with no way for me to contact her. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem being alone with my boy – I love it. But, there are some things I can’t provide for him, namely breast milk. When he’s hungry there is not much else that will do the trick. Plus, we live in a communal setting and it was late, so the baby’s crying was likely to wake everyone else up. To top it off, I had a fever with all its accompanying aches and pains. All told, in other words, in rational terms I had reason to be frustrated.
However, I also knew that the anger that was building inside me was not going to help matters at all. Having practiced enhancing the sensitivity of my body for years, I could feel myself getting hot and tight in the chest. I was motivated to relax because I knew that the degree to which I could would enable the baby to calm down and go back to sleep. So, I employed a simple yet very effective practice. With each inhale I would repeat internally, “Clear mind” and with each exhale, “Don’t know.”
Each time thoughts would pop into my head about the specific words I would use to tell my wife off when she got back to the room I would return to the exercise. I told myself, “I’ll have the words I need when the time comes, I don’t need to ‘loop’ on these thoughts.” As an aside, don’t we all do this so often: “loop” on thoughts about things we want to do, say, remember, etc? To live a more relaxed life we must learn to TRUST that when the time is right we’ll do what need to do, say what we need to say and remember what we need to remember. Thus, by breathing more deeply and slowly into my heart area, and using the “Clear mind, Don’t know” trigger to help empty my mind of thoughts, I was able to quickly calm my physiology.
The body, mind and emotions are all linked. When angry, we experience a quickening heart beat, heat, itchiness perhaps – and we may even develop a rash. We can use our awareness of this body-mind-emotion link to disarm unwanted feeling-states. In this case there was a problem with my emotional center: anger was rising out of control. So, I focused on the other two aspects of this equation, the body and the mind. Most importantly I was able to calm the body with the awareness of the breath and relaxing tensions. Calming the body is sufficient to appease all aspects of this body-mind-emotion chain. But, for good measure, since my thoughts were really looping, I gave my mind, which wanted to be busy, something to do by repeating, “Clear mind, Don’t know.”
By doing this it actually became impossible for me to be angry. You see, just as much as anger is associated with increased heart rate, heat, etc., so too is the opposite true: if the physiology is calm and the heart rate is normal one CANNOT experience anger. Now, when we are pissed it only makes matters worse to try to not be angry. We have to actually DO something. What I have described above is just one simple example of something we can do.
It is important to note that by saying, “Clear mind, Don’t know” I was not like Mr. Kostanza on Seinfield who eventually blew a gasket by repressing his anger using the “Serenity now!” mantra. In fact, quite the opposite is true. By practicing this method many times one develops trust that being present, in the “clear mind, don’t know” state, is actually the most skillful way to meet our life situations. So, when my wife returned to the room I was able to communicate with her clearly, but also considerately. I was able to keep things in perspective because I was not being ruled by my emotions. When we try to engage with others when we are emotionally facilitated things almost always get worse.
Every so called “negative” emotion has a contracted form and an expanded, virtuous quality. When anger is let go of, what remains is clarity. Thus, by “driving a wedge” of awareness between “me” and “my anger” I was able to settle myself… the anger dissolved of its own accord and what remained was clarity. So, we didn’t need to stay up “processing” this matter for 3 hours. Instead, we talked for about 3 minutes and reached a mutual understanding. Then, how much better than going to bed upset, we snuggled for about ten minutes before returning to each others’ side of the bed for a good night’s sleep.
Finally, it should be noted that one of the reasons I was able to access the fruit of this “Clear mind, Don’t know” practice so quickly was due to practice. We learn efficiency with tools by using them more often. When emotional reactivity is already in the stage of full physiological symptoms it is not likely that one would be able to detach so quickly from the emotion without having established familiarity with a method to enable this result.
To expect this stuff to work we must set aside some time to practice it when we are not in a stressful situation. Then, having tasted the experience of “Clear mind, Don’t know”, for example, we can learn to apply it when the crap hits the fan. Also, by taking time to settle ourselves in this way each day, we will grow less and less likeley to become so emotionally reactive in the first place. This will greatly increase our health, longevity and happiness as we more often avoid the toxic overload of chemicals that stream through us when we are emotionally facilitated.