This week another of our wonderful SkillfulMIND Leaders has taken the time to write a short piece for us on how Meditation is the antidote to the virus of fear.
Patrizia Pisano is from the London in the United Kingdom and has been continuing to run classes throughout the crisis. She discusses how managing our mental health is the most important thing we can do for ourselves during this time.
Meditation: The Antidote to the Virus of Fear
At this moment in time, the world is filled with so much doubt, fear and worry. Covid-19 has hijacked the mind of so many people and so many have lost their own power, looking desperately to an external authority for the next step in their own life. When we live in fear, we are constantly putting ourselves under stress, our sympathetic nervous system is triggered and we live under our flight or fight survival mode. According to the World Health Organisation,
‘’Stress is the health epidemic of the 21st Century’’.
We are blindly being programmed to be afraid by the media, by television and by advertising, so right now managing your emotional health is the most important thing you can do for yourself.
When you’re living in the red zone, the fight or flight response, the only thing science currently knows that will get us out of that is to extend the length of our EXHALATION. The other arm of our nervous system is the parasympathetic nervous system ~ the rest, digest, repair and reproduce system ~ and from this place our bodies are able to work so much more efficiently simply because it’s getting the message that it’s safe. We need to become breath aware. If you can slow your body down and breathe from your diaphragm, you start to relax and feel safe. Start your day with a breath focused practice like meditation. Take micropauses throughout your day to check in with your breath and commit to becoming more breath aware to support your nervous system.
Numerous scientific studies have proven that meditation has real biological effects; it’s not just some hokey pokey eastern tradition practiced by monks in monasteries. ‘’The breath knows how to go deeper than the mind.’’ Breathe and believe that you are in charge of your own mood, your own health, your own happiness. Today, as we all try to master our external worlds, we have forgotten to master our internal worlds. The current pandemic has paralysed millions across the globe with fear but we need to learn to extract ourselves from fear and create our own wellbeing. The ancient practice of meditation allows us to return to ourselves; and when you return to yourself, you become available for wisdom, guidance and direction – not from individuals outside of yourself, but from that place within you that is wisdom itself, that is light and love. This is the time to become the greatest version of ourselves individually, as a global society and as a planet. This is the meaning and lesson behind staying home with ourselves, so we can return to our own sense of empowerment. How do we create our own sense of empowerment and wellbeing? There are 3 driving principles that will help; principles that drive our lives and create the reality we live in. Principles that every single one of us subconsciously carry every single moment of our lives:
- Be mindful of what you focus on
What you focus on you will feel; remember that focus equals feeling, even if what you focus on isn’t true. Think about this. Have you ever worried about the worst-case scenario where you over thought about a situation and got yourself all worked up about it and then it never happened? Even if our worst-case scenarios never come to be, we still experience the pain over and over again. We imagine the worst and we experience all the pain as if it’s really happening. By changing our focus, we change our life. As the late Dr Wayne Dyer famously said:
‘’Change your thoughts, change your life.’’
Sadly, most people’s focus in the modern world is controlled by material possessions, the headlines that are being pushed to us wherever in the world we live. We can’t allow our external environment to control us. We need to master our inner world so we can master our outer world, so it’s time to take control of your focus.
The other question to ask yourself is: ‘Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t control?’ We can’t control events, situations, people or anything else that goes on in our external environment. What we can control however, is our response to these events, the situations and people. Trying to control others and the events in your external environment simply depletes your energy levels. So start focusing on yourself, on your thoughts and on your behaviours. Take control of your own mind. Take control of your own focus.
2. Be aware of the meaning you give.
The meaning you give to any situation or event determines the quality of your life. Take the current global Covid-19 pandemic. Is this the end or the beginning for you? In life, everybody, at some point, gets knocked down, so the question is, what does this pandemic mean for you? If you think that the universe is challenging us or punishing us, you will feel and behave very differently to someone who sees this problem as a gift from the universe. You see, meaning equals emotion and emotion determines the quality of your life.
3. You have the choice to decide what to do
Whatever you choose to do or not do, there are consequences. If you’re in a frustrated and angry state, you’re going to do something very differently to what you would do if you’re in a happy, generous, grateful or excited state of mind.
Unless we change our thinking first, we will never change anything at its core. Albert Einstein said:
‘’ We can never solve the problems of the world with the same kind of thinking when we created them.’’
So how do we do that? How do we change our thinking? It begins with opening our minds, opening up to the truth, opening up to wisdom and opening up to love. By bringing our thoughts and focus together in meditation, we start to shift to a higher way of thinking and another way of life as a result.
I believe we are all here to serve. In the end what makes us feel fully alive is growth, connection and being of service to others. So ask yourself and decide ‘Who are you going to be when this is over?’ Decide what you’re going to focus on and make it something empowering. Find empowering meaning and take action that will serve not only you and those you love, but humanity as a whole.
When we meditate, our brains literally emit different brainwaves. Post Covid-19 you get to choose whether your life will be better or not. We need to evolve as a species. We need to evolve from a society whose focus is on ‘me’ to a focus on ‘we’. The only sustainable and survivable mindset for the 21st century is vastly different from the mindset of the 20th century. If the 20th century was one marked by the Machine and Information age, the 21st century is about a new thought and a new way of being. The world is in desperate need of wisdom. We need systems that take care of the whole of humanity, not just a few or one part of the world. We need to shift our focus to living from a heart-centred space rather than from the place of the ego We are all one human family. We need a new way of thinking and nothing takes us there more profoundly than meditation. Even five minutes in the morning gives you a new nervous system. Just as you shower to get rid of all the dirt from the day, meditate to get rid of all the negative thoughts and stress in your mind.
Meditation allows us to get out of the limiting beliefs of our mind. Meditation means to pay attention to reality, to pay attention to that which is eternal, to that which is not touched by time. As we practice, we begin to tune into and communicate with our true selves, our true purpose and when we’re in tune with our true purpose, we have the ability to change the reality we’re living in. When we change our reality, this creates ripple effects on the entire consciousness of the planet.
This is the time to move beyond the illusion of separateness and move into connection. Now is the time to make things happen. Your future is determined by the actions you take and the thoughts you have today. Covid-19 is an opportunity for us to emerge into a world that sees us united, uplifted, connected and to see the truth of who we really are as one connected whole. The new normal that the pandemic is inviting us to walk into is one in which we realise that we are indeed, all one.
Give yourself permission to do nothing; sit in stillness, breathe in, breathe out and begin tapping into that inner guidance, that intuition that we often never listen to.
‘’Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there.’’
By giving yourself the opportunity to go within and listen to the wisdom of your soul, I guarantee you that over time, you will be amazed at what transpires.
London, United Kingdom