Monday, June 30, 2014

My Quest for Patience and Calm

My mind runs constantly. Nothing too important really; all that gets lost in the minutiae that litters my mind. I’m endlessly fascinated by fascinating things. What do I find fascinating? Quantum physics, nursing, health, nature, photography, religion, puns, spirituality, psychology, rhetoric, ethics, history, science, the universe, compassion, anger, emotions, people, art, plants, words, animals, rain, beaches, oceans….well you get the picture. There is so much in this big beautiful world to see and experience that it makes me sad and reluctant to have to go to sleep at night. In fact, it makes it a downright chore. Like most modern people I want things yesterday. I expect to sit down and read about the Crimean War or astrophysics and come away able to discuss the various aspects of each with perfect clarity.

High expectations of myself is one heck of an understatement. 

When I lack the keen understanding of advanced astrophysical concepts, I grow frustrated by my own humanness. I don’t feel like I beat myself up for coming up short because I truly believe I have it within me to appreciate the subtleties of the politics surrounding the Crimean War. What I lack is the patience to see my studies through to fruition
Naturally, I have been gravitating towards ideas and practices that can calm my mind, make me more patient, and embrace my experiences with deep appreciation. Logically, I understand that the journey and not the destination is what is important. What I struggle with is believing that to be the case. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to discover what really happens when we die? Is there life after death? Are there really multiple universes? Could we travel through time? Will we ever perfect sustained fusion and use it as an energy source? What is the purpose of life? I struggle with my need to know these things, and I worry that my big picture focus could cost me a truly enriching life.

I’ve decided to challenge myself with meditation. After all, the Buddha said that the mind is everything. What we think, we become. I truly believe that my frazzled, distracted, impatient demeanor is a result of a frazzled, distracted, impatient mind. Meditation has been shown to alleviate anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve focus and attention, and contribute to an overall sense of peace and calm within oneself. I’m making some commitments to myself in this pursuit. One: I’m going to practice every day even if for 5 minutes. Two: I’m adopting a mantra from Alcoholics Anonymous and taking it one day at a time. In fact, right now my primary goal is to commit to 5 minutes a day. While my ultimate goals are to be more patient, focused, and calm, they are not what is driving me right now.

At least 5 minutes a day is what drives me right now. Sitting with my body and my thoughts, accepting them and letting them go for the sake of doing so.

I’ve sought some tools to aid me, and I have found a couple that see most helpful. I’ve already previously written about an app call BellyBio. But I’ve found another that I’m really enjoying for the guided meditations and encouraging words in those meditations and that’s the app Calm. You can download it for free in iTunes. I’m going to give it a try and reflect on my experiences here. We’ll see what happens!

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