Busy to be

wisdom spirituality blog

Being busy seems to have become as common as being hungry or tired. No doubt that we each have a lot to answer to, take care of, and probably think about. There are the things we are busy with, and there are the thoughts we are busy with.

Like I am right now, you might be preoccupied by a few matters in your life that “need to be solved” at the moment…
However, one thing my practice and self-studies have taught me over the years is that my mind loves being busy with concerns it cannot solve. Somewhere inside me, I know this… Yet my mind insists to ruminate in loops about the “worry of the moment”, as if obsessive thinking about it would help solve it (evidence shows it hasn’t helped before)!

Why do you insist then, dear mind?

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to an interview with Dr. Judson Brewer on my favorite podcast “Insights at the Edge.” This addiction and anxiety specialist explained how our mind strangely loves worrying, so much that it becomes an addiction. The mechanism is that when worrying the mind seems to be “busy with something” and thus to be in control over the (to some extent powerless) situation. Such “addiction to worrying” becomes a coping mechanism to feel safe (what we might associate with being in control). In the long term, sustained worry creates anxiety, which many of us know too well—from our own lives and that of people around us.

Already thousands of years ago, the classical yogis knew about mind’s addictions—including pleasure, laziness, and mind-altering substances. Yoga suggests a quite radical method to mind addictions by realizing (through practice) the difference or separation between the meditator herself and her thoughts. E.g., single-object meditation types of practice cultivate concentration and eventually enables the practitioner to attain a state of liberation as they re-identify with the true nature of the mind: i.e., pure consciousness. In short, “yoga is good for mental health” as folks like to say 😉! 

I find it helpful to know that my mind simply loves being busy with thoughts and, quite often, worrying. Because it is, in the first place, beyond my control when growing up and living in the modern everyday world that we live in, self-understanding and self-compassion matter too, perhaps as much as single-object concentration practices. The Buddhists developed self and other-oriented compassion meditations, including Tong Len and Metta practices, to help us cultivate the necessary healing balm of self-acceptance that we need when changing our mind.

If you are up for it, here is an invitation. Before you rush to your meditation cushion or yoga mat (I know you can’t wait, aha!), consider reflecting or journaling for a minute upon:

What is your mind busy with right now?

Being aware of what thought or worry pursues you in the first place will create a first distancing that can enable the calming of the worrying mind. Even though you are unsure about what worries you exactly, slowing down and turning your attention to this moment will have an impact.

Do you care to try?

On Saturday April 6th we will spend an entire afternoon to explore the true nature of our mind, calm our recurrent thoughts, and reconnect to our deep presence through the practice of meditation. This workshop is for you who wish to understand and experience directly how meditation works on your mind, and perhaps if you want to boost or start a regular home practice.

Something that can tremendously help us reconnect to the essential and disidentify from the worrying mind is retreats. In June, I will be co-hosting two lovely retreats, and you are warmly invited:

7 days in Tuscany with ocean view and amazing food (and yoga too! 😉)

3 days in the Danish idyl of Tisvildeleje niched between ocean and forest and fed by an amazing cook also!

Yes, practice will be at the center, but the nourishment of our senses (include our taste buds) will be essential too!  

Wishing you less busyness and more fulfilment

With gratitude

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