Monday, August 29, 2022

Bigger Bowl

I don't remember where I read the concept of putting things in a bigger bowl, but I have found it helpful over the years. 

So say you have an apple here and an orange over there. They are different things. But put them together in a bigger bowl and they are both fruit. The differences are still there but the view is more expansive.

I was awake in the night with a restless and busy mind. Tossing and turning. Thoughts about politicians, about family. You know the stuff that makes us toss and turn. I tried deflecting by thinking about puppies and kittens. That didn't help for long. I tried pink prayers. They were helpful to change the flavour but didn't do much to stop the tossing and turning. I tried recalling the movie I saw earlier that day. It didn't last long. I tried watching my breathing. I tried noticing body sensation. Finally it dawned on me that this was just a lot of turbulent thinking energy. 

Thinking energy can take on a lot of different patterns: turbulent, smooth, some thoughts rush up and grab us with an emotional hit, some hover in the background, some are cluttered or fragmented, some crowd in on our energy putting pressure on us, some are comfortable. During the night the pattern was turbulence, like rough waves in a lake or gusty weather above. 

The thoughts themselves were oranges and apples. Noticing the pattern as turbulence was the bigger bowl.

This helped. It removed the effort I was making to change the thoughts themselves. Imagining the turbulence as gusty weather helped too, because like clouds in the sky, I knew the thinking pattern would change and disburse eventually. 

Once I rested in the awareness of a bigger pattern, my body rested too and I was able to get back to sleep. 

If you've never seen thinking activity as energy patterns before, you can make it into a small awareness exercise. Ask yourself at any time, 'What does the thinking energy seem like right now?' Then, stop and see if you can get a feel for it. It's a fresh new place to put your attention and keep it occupied for a bit. 

It puts things in a bigger bowl.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Trusting Life

When a bird flies closely in front of my car as I drive, I tend to slow down. It can happen often out here in the country. What I discovered over time was that there is often a good reason for me to ease off the gas for a slow-to-get-out-of-my-way crow. Like a cop running radar up ahead, or farm equipment that needs more than one lane of road. Not always, but it's happened often enough for me take it as a warning sign. 

Other patterns like this have shown up. If I set off to buy a sofa, and things don't fall into place, I take it as a sign that it's the wrong sofa or the wrong time. I bail out earlier rather than later. When I ignore that little pain in my back while digging in the garden, my body may well just say, "OK that's enough!" and put me into bed for 5 days to recover. (When I was young it was 3 days).

We hate having our flow disrupted, though. When a bird flies too close it disturbs the flow and speed of the drive. It knocks us out of the groove. It's a nuisance when the sofa purchase doesn't fall into place. I had a rhythm while digging in the garden and wanted to have it done that day. A little twinge in the back is just a twinge. Surely I can power through.

This even works with assumptions or opinions. Forming an opinion uses less cognitive energy than changing it later on. It's easier to ignore something we don't want to hear than give it any of our energy. Until we must. This can be serious business in a world where social media and propaganda are buzzing around our already tired selves; we are fresh meat for their tactics. 

We don't want to let life get in the way of our plans. But I have learned not to fight it. Yes, it could mean I am late for the appointment, or that I'll have to find a sofa elsewhere. It could mean that I don't finish the garden until later. 

But I'd rather slow down for a bird than meet that cop around the next corner.