Regardless of how ‘spiritual’ and wholesome you are, shit happens!
Enlightenment is measured on how well we can cope when things go tits up!
We can either respond with anxiety and fear, or acceptance and surrender. Buddha and other ‘enlightened’ teachers have shared various techniques to enable us to cope with life when things go wrong.
Unfortunately, these coping skills are not taught at school and so we must go on our own path of self-discovery to find the tools to help us.
I used to suffer from acute anxiety and depression but after a failed suicide attempt at thirteen years old I knew I had to find those tools to help me deal with my deep depression. It was the only way I could survive here on this planet.
Here are some of the tools I have learned that have helped me through rocky times and actually enabled me to enjoy and embrace life fully.
1. Take a deep breath
When we focus on the breath we immediately come back to the present moment. 7/11 breathing immediately calms us down and brings us into the present. Breathe in for seven counts and breathe out for eleven counts.
This stimulates the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system by slowing us down and bringing everything back into alignment so we can think clearly again.
Meditation is an excellent method of silencing the mind in order to hear what is really going on deep within you.
We cannot know ourselves if we do not know the processes and behaviours that are happening in our deepest subconscious.
We usually suppress our shadow sides so we need to go to the depths of our subconscious in order to find out who we are. Meditation enables us to dig deep within and face our shadow self.
I have explored many different meditation techniques and for me the most powerful is Vipassana Meditation as taught by SN Goenka.
It is the only meditation technique I have found that silences the mind, lessens the control of the ego, breaks any limiting thought patterns and behaviours and brings us closer into alignment with who we truly are.
I recommend it to anyone who wants to be ‘consciously’ fast tracked, and has the discipline and courage to go deep within and really explore who you are.
3. Accept the Situation
Sometimes shit happens. When it does the best thing we can do is accept it, instead of fighting the reality and wishing it was different. Life always has its ups and downs and we must learn to accept reality as it is and not as we would like it to be. When we can accept the situation we can start finding the solutions.
4. Finding Solutions
It is the lore of Nature that there is always a solution to every problem, and they are always obvious, simple and effective, just like in nature.
But we have lost our trust in the natural process so we panic, thinking that life is ‘punishing’ us or ‘against’ us, which creates black and white thinking, which in turn increases the stress and anxiety.
Often the solutions are hidden because we try and control the situation to suit our needs. It is only when we can let go of our ego desires to make things turn out the way we want that we can see the resolutions more clearly.
5. See the Blessing in the Burden
It is the lore of Nature that within every blessing there is a great burden and within every burden there is a great blessing.
We are living in a duality reality so there are blessings and burdens in every situation, just as we have light/dark, war/peace, love/fear, pain/pleasure etc. It is up to us to choose where we pay our attention.
We can focus on the burden or we can focus on the blessing. Most of us choose to focus on the burden, and miss the amazing beauty that is happening simultaneously! Choose to see your glass as half full and life becomes so much more enjoyable.
6. Exercise, Get out in Nature, Walk Barefoot, Hug a Tree and Ground Yourself
For many, hugging trees is the past time of hippies but it has been scientifically proven that it is good for your health. We are a part of Nature so when we hug trees we feel grounded and connected. We share our energy with them, and experience their unique energy, which naturally dissolves stress and anxiety.
Now more than ever, we need to be hugging our trees and reminding them just how much we love and respect them. Many of the trees are getting diseased and ill living in the polluted environments we have created, when we hug them we create a symbiotic connection that is healing for both them and us.
It has also been scientifically proven that when we exercise we feel much better about life. Exercise not only releases endorphins, making us feel good, but comes with a whole lot of other benefits. Run/swim/gym/dance or regular tai chi and yoga are excellent ways to get back into the body to relieve stress and anxiety.
Take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot. This is not only very grounding but also incredibly healing and can help relieve and heal many physical ailments.
7. Ask for help
When we take our armour off and accept we are just not coping, we are more able to ask for help. We all need support and help and it’s not a failure to admit that things are getting on top of you. The moment you reach out to another you realise you are not alone.
8. Help Someone Less Fortunate
As Gandhi so rightly said “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Despite the negative image of humanity constantly at war with each other, the reality is actually the opposite. We all love to help, serve and share where we can because it makes us feel good to help others.
When we start doing something positive we immediately start feeling we are part of the solution and this gives us good energy and focus.
It puts things back into perspective and reminds us that there are always people worse off than ourselves, so reach out and offer your help and support to a cause that is close to your heart and feel great.
9. Find Forgiveness and Gratitude
This is very important. If we are constantly berating ourselves for past actions and ruminating things that cannot be changed it is very difficult to move forward.
When we take personal responsibility for our actions, we can accept our part in the process and learn from our mistakes, enabling us to let go and grow.
We cannot control the actions of others so going over and over the injustices does not serve you. Forgiveness is the key to moving forward and doing it differently next time.
Try the Hawaiin Ho’oponopono technique to help you find deep inner forgiveness, or the Attitude of Gratitude.
One of the main challenges today is that we have forgotten to be grateful for what we have. We take for granted luxuries that people in other parts of the world are only dreaming of having.
Gratitude automatically generates the vibrations of love and goodwill, peace and harmony. When we open our hearts to all the blessings in our lives, we generate a vibration of generosity that ripples out into the world.
This frequency has a direct impact on our minds and our hearts. When we get out of the victim mentality and all the negative thoughts and feelings it generates and move into a gratitude based mentality we naturally begin to feel lighter and brighter.
10. Visualise an Outcome That is for the Highest Good for All
Whenever I feel I have no power over a situation or changing another person, I have learnt to let go of trying to control the situation. I step back from the situation, send everyone involved love and healing and visualise an outcome that benefits everyone.
Sometimes we just to have to let go of trying too hard and surrender.
However, this means it doesn’t always work out the way YOU want it to. This is when we have to learn to let go of ego and let life flow in the direction it’s going. It also means that you may have to be patient.
For me it took four years for the healing to happen but love ALWAYS overcomes fear. All we need to do is TRUST that it eventually does.
If you are still feeling stuck then ask the angels for help. Now, I know this does sound a bit woowoo, but honestly, from my own experience they really do help!
Whenever I find myself in some deep emotional situation that seems impossible to solve, I ask the angels to intervene, and always keep my heart open to the possibility that everything will work out for the highest good of all. Invariably, things have worked out for the best.