Frustrated, but fine.
That is enlightenment. This is no desire.
When we look to become mindful, to be more at peace with ourselves, it means focusing on our meta-cognition.
Anyone who has had depression or anxiety will be familiar with this. Anyone who has had a fight with a loved one that they wish they hadn’t gotten into. Anyone who has made a small mistake and berated themselves for it.
You are depressed because you are depressed. You are anxious because you are anxious. You can see yourself answering snidely to your partner and can’t stop. You are beating yourself up and making more mistakes because you’re so focused on the mistake that you made.
This is one level above regular thinking. One level below regular thinking is feeling. One level below that is surviving—the part of us that goes into fight, flight, freeze, or faint. That lizard brain that tells you if something is an emergency or not is nestled below all of these other layers, and we can’t reach it.
Here though, on the metacognitive level, at the top of all those layers we have some control. Although it isn’t complete, it is a skill we can build. There is a feedback system. Training our most conscious level of thought trains our everyday-brain, the decision-brain. Once we feel consciously that we can make decisions, our feeling-brain will calm down and then, maybe, just maybe, our lizard brain will start to frame the world differently. Maybe it stop identifying everything as an intense.
Reaching deep down into those levels requires you to be gentle to yourself, to accept that you might always feel on edge. But that you can deal with it and you aren’t bad for it.. You are going to be sad, mad and glad. You are going to be tired, tried, tortured, and taken for granted. You have to accept that this is the task you were granted as a person, and as a mother.
What’s more, you’ve been tasked to be completely okay with it.
To say: this is enough.
To say: No desire.
One of the most common problems that people have when they discover mindfulness or meditation is they want badly to do it right. Multiplying this problem is that they have no clue what a good meditation would look like. Solidifying it is that they’re coming from a place of wanting, and they know it.
Let me demystify meditation. You can’t do it wrong. There is no such thing as a good or bad meditation. Even if you think during meditation, “Is this a good meditation?” you still have not ruined it. You’ll have a better go of it if you can let go of that idea, but in any case, the answer is: That’s not a thing. You aren’t supposed to feel at peace. Get rid of the idea that it will happen.
Right then, all you’re supposed to be doing is looking, from this top rung of the ladder, at what your brain is doing, and calling your attention back to the breath.
Right then, in that mindful minute, when you feel your face getting red and water behind your eyes, all you’re supposed to do is say: This is what is happening. This is fine. This is enough, I am enough.
You will still cry.
Right then, when your baby is crying, and you’ve done all the things that you can do to soothe him, you’re supposed to feel your heart breaking, feel the alarms going off in your head, and say: This is fine. This is enough. There is not a problem here.
Baby will still cry.
But the point is not to stop your crying, or baby crying; it isn’t even to stop feeling sad about your hurting baby or aching heart. It’s only to say: This is fine.
Not passively, not before you’ve done what you can to resolve the situation. If you’ve remedied all physical possibilities, then your mindfulness is the next step towards a resolution. Once the actions were taken and the pain is there and there’s nothing left to do, just say: This is enough.
- What emotion do I have the hardest time accepting in myself?
- What emotion do I have the hardest time accepting in my child?
- When baby cries or your toddler begins a tantrum, try to look at him or her and not react for 1 whole minute. Just breathe and say it is okay.