We have now lived in our new place for 72 days. On day 70, I finally did not feel anxious. I’m not sure why, but since we moved, more often than not, I woke up feeling anxious. On other days the feeling came and went. It wasn’t fun. But recently things turned around. I am back to my happy self. For the most part, I’ve always been a happy person and optimistic, so when I felt bad for so many days, I got a bit worried. I consider myself to be a sleuth when it comes to mysteries. I call myself curious, hubby says I’m nosey. Either way, I like to get to the bottom of why something is happening, especially when it’s happening to me. When I got cancer, the first thing I thought was, How did this happen? I then went to work on finding the answer and how to get well.
This time I did the same thing and after reading different sources, I came to the conclusion, my anxiety was a direct result of my thoughts. Right Thought is one of the Noble Eightfold Path teachings:
Right Thought (Samma sankappa) or Intention, means clear vision leading to clear thinking. Right thought leads to the elimination of harmful thoughts and developing such positive states of mind such as metta (loving-kindness), which is opposed to hatred, ill-will or aversion and developing thoughts of harmlessness or compassion which are opposed to cruelty and callousness.
It took me awhile to figure out that I spent a great deal of my day having arguments (in my head) with people who I believed, were doing me wrong. It was the same thoughts over and over which made me angry and fearful because I believed I couldn’t do anything about these “bad” people. The result of this wrong thinking caused me suffering in the form of anxiety.
Now that I knew what the problem was, I decided to take action.
- I began to write three pages everyday of all the things I appreciate and used to take for granted. I wrote anything down that popped into my head. I still do that.
- I watched my thoughts while I meditated and reminded myself that what ever came up were only thoughts, not reality.
- I observed my thoughts through the day. When the arguments in my head started, I quickly reminded myself they were only thoughts and wouldn’t it be more fun to think about what I wanted to manifest; in other words, keep my eyes on the prize, which is our animal sanctuary.
- I watched the video featuring Michael A. Singer, who wrote the book, The Untethered Soul. He gives a lecture on living a mindful life. (You can find the video at the end of this post).
- I watched lots of Abraham Hicks videos. If you don’t know who they are, they talk about the law of attraction and how we manifest our life experiences by the vibrations we send out. They remind me that a belief (about anything) is just a thought I keep thinking over and over, and how thoughts create feelings… like anxiety.
It actually didn’t take me that long to come to my senses; maybe because I was learning this stuff for a while. The thing is I was learning it intellectually but not applying it to my day-to-day life. It looked good on paper but if I wasn’t living the teachings, I wasn’t benefiting from the lessons. Buddhism and law of attraction are very similar; they both teach us that controlling, or at least observing our thoughts, help us to respond not react to life situations.
Now I wake up giving thanks. I appreciate my environment (the trees, the birds, the clean smelling air) when I take the dogs out for a morning walk.
I practice living in the moment. If a judgment thought enters my mind, I look at it and remind myself that its only my monkey mind. Thoughts are not reality, and they are usually false assumptions.
It feels good to feel good again.
Here’s Michael Singer’s video:
This is the Abraham video I start my day with. I listen to it while I eat breakfast:
We all have a story about how we took our spiritual path seriously, whether it’s traditional Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hindu, Wicca or whatever. Sure, there are plenty of us walking around going through the motions and celebrating holidays of religions that were passed down to us by our parents and even society. I grew up in a household that never mentioned religion. We never went to church. I was around nine years old when I decided to go to church a few times, to see what went on inside. Seen through the eyes of a nine-year old girl, I can say, not much was happening. It was boring.
Off and on from my teenage years through my adult life, I dabbled in astrology and read spiritual writings from authors I can’t remember. I never took my spiritual life seriously…until I was diagnosed with stage four cancer. That day my life changed forever. It wasn’t that I thought I was going to die, I never believed that. Something deep inside me said, I would survive. I just knew there was something more than the day-to-day bullshit, I called my life.
While I was looking up other cancer survivors on the Internet, I ran across many who wrote about spirituality and suggested books to help other cancer patients get through their ordeal. Louise Hay seemed to be a favorite, so I found her books in the library and started reading. Hay is a cancer survivor and lives a rich spiritual life, dedicated to helping others. I wanted to be like her (and Oprah)spiritual life. Her books led me to other writers and eventually to Buddhist teachings.
I don’t call myself a Buddhist but I strive to be Buddha like, or at least not to be an asshole. I don’t like labels, especially religious ones; there’s too many problems that come from saying, “I believe this or I believe that.” There are too many people who like to argue that your belief is wrong and theirs is right. If you ask me, we’re all right. Even atheists. We all believe in something that resonates with us. There might be some who say, I can’t follow Buddhism AND some other spiritual belief. That’s their opinion.
I read that the Dali Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh both say Buddhism doesn’t care if one follows another religion as well. Buddhism is not jealous of other religious beliefs. Thich Nhat Hanh said Buddha and Jesus said the same thing… “don’t be an asshole”. OK, they didn’t say that but they did say to get along with each other.
I was watching Davidji give an interview on You Tube about stress management the other day and he mentioned how he found his spiritual life. He was working in “mergers and acquisitions” in New York for many years and then…911 happened. His life changed drastically after that and he quit his lucrative job… I suggest watching his interview to find out more. It’s really good and he’s a funny guy!
After watching the video, I got to thinking how many others have a similar story, maybe not as drastic as Davidji’s and mine but something that happened in their lives that made them “examine” their life choices? According to Abraham Maslow, only 3% of the population ever look at their life critically and wonder why they made the choices they did, or as he puts it, “become self-actualized”.
I am far from being self-actualized. I still have too many knee jerk reactions to situations. I still put my foot in my mouth and I allow my buttons to get pushed. I am working on it though and Buddhist teachings, along with other spiritual practices help me. I’m definitely much better than before cancer.
I know you, dear reader have a story to tell and feel free to share it by leaving a comment. I enjoy hearing people’s stories, not only about spiritual things but their lives in general. We are all on our personal journeys but we also share space on a huge rock spinning thousands of miles an hour through space. Now that’s some mind-blowing shit!
There are big changes coming in my life. On the one hand I’m excited and on the other, I’m freaking out! Hubby got a new job 400 miles away. We don’t have a place to live yet and he starts work tomorrow. He is staying with family who live a mile from the job. I’m staying back home until we find a new place.
I meditate. I visualize. I say affirmations to calm my nerves, but that darned ego keeps popping it’s annoying head into my thoughts. I know better than to listen to it but I’m still a work in progress. If I think about it, change is happening all the time. People come and go. Nothing is permanent. But we humans seem to fight against it. We like routines, even when we know they might not be good for us.
I know my happiness is an inside job. There will always be bumps along the road of life and I have to learn to accept and deal with them. I can’t allow myself to be happy only if events are going my way, or at least what I perceive are going my way. Sometimes things not working out is really what’s best for my higher self (my life path). Not everything I want is good for me and sometimes hindsight makes that clearer. I know that intellectually, but the emotional part of me needs to catch up.
The good thing about studying Buddhism and spirituality is, I am now aware of my crazy, negative thoughts. I know that 99% of what I waste time worrying about never come true. I just end up wasting precious time. I could spend my time be grateful.
Our new life is a good thing. It’s something we have talked about for years and since neither of us are getting younger, now is the time to go for it.
Everyday I wake up and have my day planned but there’s always something unexpected that comes up and my plans change. The future is the same way. We move forward through the unknown and “Trust” that all will be good.
I’ve been sick in bed the last couple days (nothing terrible, just a head cold but I decided to lay low) and watched tons of wonderful videos. This one really resonated with me.