“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
– Marcus Aurelius
“If your mind can be calm, clear and bright,
the environment will be affected and transformed.
To change the environment, use your mind…”
-Zen Master Sheng-Yen
The successful mastery of one’s minds and perceptions is the single greatest skill. Without it, negative situations overtake us and instead of choosing our strongest and best responses, we become reactive responders–every move dictated by outside sources.
The point of power is in the stillness of our minds. When caught in the whirring chaos of rampant thought, we can regain control by creating a space of quiet within. Whatever the issues are, they can wait a moment.
If possible, find a physical place that inspires calmness. If that isn’t possible (I often had this experience in court where there was no calm physical place available), create the place in your mind. I imagine myself surrounded by green trees or beautiful blue waters.
Choose a phrase or sound that resonates with you, something that when you say it you feel heartened. Depending on my needs, I’ve poured the following mantras over my inner turmoil:
(I am a spiritual person who believes in God and the purpose of all things. Some of my mantras reflect my beliefs. Fret not if one doesn’t feel right to you, create your own.)
I am safe.
Only good will come from this. (Amazingly, sooner or later this proves true)
I am never alone.
I release, let go and trust.
Love is always the answer and no force is greater. I call on Love and the highest good for all concerned.
I am more than this, if I weren’t it wouldn’t be before me.
When too frazzled or unwilling to formulate sentences I use a breathing meditation I learned in yoga: breathe while saying the words “so” on the inhale and “hum” on the exhale.
The words, methods and approaches are not important, the results are.
Find whatever takes you out of reaction and into the calm mind. From there you will have a fresh and empowered view of whatever distressed you. At the point of wholeness, we make strong, wise, confident and caring choices, free of anxiety and reaction.