– staying cool in the tough times
Have you been through times in your life when you have been overwhelmed; when everything seems to have gone wrong and life has pummelled you? This may be due to the loss of a partner or relationship, a beloved pet, or a job or a change in circumstances. It feels like you just can’t get out of bed and put one foot after another to continue with your life.
The things that throw us can range from huge challenges such as natural disasters to anything that can tip us off balance. It may be a surprise diagnosis, a lost wallet or even a flat tyre. We know it has happened when we say “I just shouldn’t have got out of bed today”.
When our lives turn upside down, or even when we are just knocked sideways a bit, we can feel anger, worry, anxiety or even fear. Our self confidence disappears.
At these times what helps us to get back up again is resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back when the air has been knocked out of us. It helps us deal with life circumstances that may challenge our view of ourselves and our very being. It gives us the strength to cope with adversity and rebuild our lives.
It does not mean that resilient people never experience failure, fear or loss but they have learnt how to adapt to obstacles and respond to challenges. When we feel fear or unhappiness, or faced with adversity, we may think that we are not very resilient. Not so. Resilience is a skill that can be learned. This is important if we are to regain equanimity and balance in our lives and the strength to go on.
As Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”
How do we find this skill, develop it to a point where we no longer feel afraid that life will throw us a curve ball that we can’t cope with?
Meditation can help us a lot with this. Dr Graham Williams, Director of Lifeflow, states that “a crisis brings us face to face with the main purpose of meditation. This is to develop the ability to keep our minds calm in the heat of the moment.”
Meditation is the tool for discovering and keeping our emotional and mental balance no matter what life throws at us.
The meditation practices as taught by Lifeflow often use the analogy of the beach and waves. The waves may be serene and calm when life is good but become turbulent when a storm hits. Our thoughts can be like those turbulent waves when trouble arises, driven by anxiety, anger or fear. The beach is our safe place, our point of balance, the place where we naturally long to be.
Meditation teaches us to surf the waves skillfully, to ride out the storm and find the beach, the place of calm that allows us to catch our breath and start again. It assists us to embrace uncertainty and engage with the unknown. It allows the chaos of our thoughts to slow down and gives us the clear space we need to make the decisions needed to move forward.
No matter what is happening for you, it is possible to develop the confidence to find your balance again and to know that all storms pass in due course.