You are not your mind. Or you sir, are out of yours.

After reading a fair bit on the negative route to happiness, I started delving into Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now. I’ve been far more open to the idea of mindfulness over the past months and after seeing it discussed on the news this morning, I thought I’d talk about it here…

The frog is getting Zen.

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Actually, the frog is feeling very much at peace with everything since it was decided that the road of the frog is much better than that of the princess. (See Why being a Frog is Better than Being a Princess). But this book is taking it a step further.

Don’t let your mind possess you. It cannot allow you to exist in the here and now

At first, this sounds like the rankings of a crazy person who should be medicated, rather than published. Except, he’s quite happy.

The time for thinking is over. The mind has evolved so far that thinking is destructive. It is time to evolve to a higher state of consciousness.

Again, clearly mental.

Except… Except, the ability to take a step back from all the noise in your head and perceive them in an objective manner is ultimately helpful. Am I actually angry with that person for driving like a complete tool, were they really trying to put my life in danger, or is that my perception of the situation? Stand back. Am I angry because I’m actually not in control? Do I need to be annoyed? The tool is now half way down the road and actually, right now I am in no danger. They were just being a tool and it wasn’t aimed at me per say. I can continue with my day. Holding onto any anger will only make my own day unhappier.

This idea of watching our thoughts until they are rationalized or just go away completely allowing us to just be aware of everything around us is an exceptionally good way to reduce general stress and anxiety. Since starting this on a daily basis, I have certainly been immensely less stressed and am gliding through what could be quite a stressful upheaval with a real sense of peace.

I’m nowhere near totally stress free, but the frog is no longer a princess sitting in a pond.

Despite the initial raised eyebrows, I shall continue with this book with as open a mind as I can muster.

Ribbit.

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Why being a Frog is better than a Prince(ss)

I feel very calm. I don’t often feel calm and it’s a bit weird. It’s the week of the mocks, the actual exam module results come out next week, my boss is away leaving me in charge of a major bit of school software and we’re neck deep in coursework. I shouldn’t be calm, I should be passing out with stress.

It’s just that I’ve discovered stoicism and it’s hit a raw nerve with me. I feel I ought to explain the frog reference, but bear with me for just a little bit longer. The concept of stoicism is to look at situations that cause us emotional distress with a realistic eye. How bad could this actually be? Am I being irrational about how bad this actually is? And even if it isn’t an ideal situation, do I actually have the power to change it? Well, in a nutshell (there’s a fair bit more).

But now for the amphibian metaphor…

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I have been a princess for far too long. I had hugely high expectations of myself and those around me and was (ok, am) massively disappointed when people, including me fall short of these. I considered myself personally responsible for the actions or outcomes of those around me, and most importantly, I clung (cling) to familiar routines and places to create a sense of security. As such, I have lived in a constant panic that the throne might be moved from under me and I will fall flat on my arse.

Instead, I’m aspiring to be a frog. I’m sitting on a lily pad and sunning myself. While I’m here, I’ll assess what’s going on in the pond and when the time is right, I’ll either dive into the pool or hop onto another lily pad to do some more rational assessing of my surroundings.

Frogs don’t obsess over maintaining a kingdom. Frogs aren’t obsessed with constantly looking like the right kind of frog – as frogs go, squishy is about as good as it gets. Frogs don’t try to control those around them – if a stalk swoops, they take evasive action (or get eaten), but they can’t influence the stalk; if a fly lands close, they eat it. Frogs don’t have expectations of their surroundings – if the lily sinks, there are plenty more.

Being a princess is high maintenance and bad for the blood pressure (as my GP has informed me on several occasions). Being a frog gives you the power to let things go.

What good will it do to worry about the exam results now? I can’t change them. I did my absolute best to provide the best learning environment possible.
What’s the worst that could happen if they’re bad? I could lose my grade 1 teacher status. People would think badly of me.
Why am I so scared of that? Why is being ‘top of the class’ so important to me? Is this a need for approval? And if so, if striving for a seemingly unattainable goal is the only route to approval, then is it time to shift the goal posts? And is it in my power to do so? Because if I have no power to change it, then worrying won’t make a jot of difference and it could be a lot worse.

So, for now, I’m a frog and it’s time to ride the lily pad.

A quick thank you to a new follower. I most definitely am becoming a happster. Ribbit.

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