Resilience

I have not written a blog for a while. Mostly because a lot has been going on in my personal life.

Today as I write this, I want to re-imagine resilience.

Life is such that there will be sharp corners which are hard to maneuver. It’s like I have been driving a race car but I never stopped at the pit stop to service it. Therefore the drag, the friction and the accumulated wear that has piled onto the car is making it difficult to keep traction on the road. Add to that, force experienced sitting on the driving seat.

What do I take away from this? It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to stop at a service station. Just like a race car, our body experiences accumulated stress that can really take a toll when it triggers. What do you do to address this accumulated stress?

When things are really difficult, this is also a good practice that works well for me. What do you not do when things are really difficult? What can you do to slow down to be grateful for the journey so far. This is easier said than done, when it is difficult to let go of the past. Or there are experiences and mistakes from the past, that continue to impact your present.

Believe it or not, writing is a medium for me to stay in the present. It’s hard to turn off the past, when things are difficult. So, I give myself reasons why I should continue to forge on. I give myself reasons why I shouldn’t give up? It’s not that I make up these reasons, these reasons are simply a list of my faults and virtues in the present moment. I list all my virtues and faults that I have or that I think I have. It’s not an easy task to see the goodness within yourself when things are difficult. So, I start with faults and then list out the virtues. The way my mind works, helps me to complete an exercise or task once I start on it. So, I start with the difficult things. This is true in many other aspects too where I always try learn the more difficult stuff first and then fall back onto basics once I realise that I am not at the level required to be learning the advanced stuff. It’s a bad habit of mine I guess. A result of high expectations and ambitions, that result in disappointment and failure and a self-created emotional roller coaster.

Back to the topic of resilience, when things are so difficult, what other things help me? From my experiences, exercise of any sort is one of the best things that can help stay in the present, along with meditation and healthy eating.

What if you can’t afford to eat healthy? This will impact your exercise routine too. I am thinking of this because despite there being so much abundance of resources, many people experience scarcity on a daily basis.

A scarcity mindset only adds to the accumulated stress and the view one takes of different life experiences whether in the present, past or unfolding future events. What can you do to combat this mindset? For different people there will be different ways. I say this, because we all have our belief systems wired into us. You can leverage these belief systems to your advantage if you understand your own system. Or rewire those belief systems, if you think your current ones are rooted in scarcity and a fixed mindset that doesn’t accept changes easily.

With this continuing pandemic, and the many around the world that are suffering under oppression. I hope that you read this and think it, mull it over if you ever come to a point of no return. When you feel so hopeless and much despair that the only thing you think of is, how not to exist!

According to what I believe and many monotheistic religions and other religions will likely share a similar view. Death is inevitable. If there is certainty of one thing, it is death. I also believe that death is predestined. This is a sensitive topic as I can think of a counter argument for it too. But let me write it out, why kill yourself? If you believe that you would die regardless, at your appointed time and place? One could argue that it was predestined perhaps for one to kill themselves. But if you believe that, you forfeit the choice that you have been granted. Your forfeit your freewill. You choose to give up and not make a harder choice which is to live on. True resilience in this situation will be to have patience, perseverance to continue through the midst of storm, thunder and the burdens of life.

True meaning of life is found in responsibilities, purpose, striving to achieve one’s goals.

So, in summary, resilience means to continue forward even when you are experiencing a lot of drag, other forces hindering you. When you experience this, it should only increase your faith, that you were born for a purpose and reason. You were born to achieve great things. Let the journey unfold because life is abundant. It may not seem so in the moment but, I promise you, good days will come, if you continue stepping forward. Push past your pain. Baby steps will do, you can’t fly with broken wings. Not yet!

ps. Writing helps me live in the present. It’s one of the mediums. Gosh! I missed writing. Although, since introducing this new habit a few years back, I have been writing in various other places. This blog has its own special place.

What does resilience mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Denied or Denial

Why did I even come up with this name for the blog? This was a couple months back. To be precise I wrote the title of the blog per my drafts on 15th October 2020. What did I want to write then? I can’t really recall lol

But what can I write about this topic now? In this moment, when thinking of these words the first image that comes to mind is that of a judge. A judge listens to both sides of an argument of the party in question and draws conclusion by how well their arguments are presented. The party who may willingly/ unwillingly plead guilty thinks they are denied, hence sometimes they can also be in denial. Perhaps denying the truth or perhaps refuting the lies, maybe denied blessings, hopes and opportunities. Maybe denied hardships and trials that they cannot see unfolding. There is only one True Judge. The True Judge must be just beyond all comprehension. The one that brings all to light. The hidden and manifest, the seen and unseen. What is spoken of and what is kept secret.

Why did I write, “Denied or Denial ” as the title of the blog? Was I thinking about worldly life? Or was I thinking of spirituality? If I were to think from the perspective of spirituality, and the word denied- it is a blessing. Deny what the ego wants. There is a famous saying that comes to mind, a spiritual person is grateful for all the blessings the ones received and the ones denied. The human intellect and wisdom draws on past and present and projects onto the future. However, that wisdom and intellect doesn’t know what lies in the future. The wisdom and intellect of a spiritual person has to put all trust, hope and fear to the higher power. To God!

Denial in regards to spirituality in my thought and little knowledge that I hold embodies the lower ego. The id as classified by Freud. Or perhaps the unconscious mind and the shadow self as classified by Jung. The 2 ideas are powerful and as Jung says, if you don’t make what is unconscious conscious, it will dictate your life and you will call it fate. The id and the lower self is a force within the human mind, body and soul that entraps a person in a cycle of unconscious behaviours.

There is much more I can write on this… on and on but at the same time, I think that because what I know is very little, writing perhaps helps me explore the unknown, writing helps me gain wisdom and insights from the lens and pen I hold. It grants me wisdom the way my mind works and thinks. However, reading and listening is what truly opens the door to ideas, possibilities, different perspectives, different ways of seeing things.

Something that just came to my mind, the water that flows can create a path forwards. Even if it meanders to get there.

Why do I say this? In the context of denied and denial; whether looking at it from the perspective of a judge or the parties in question involved or, looking at it through the lens of spirituality. Staleness is what stunts our growth. Stale water eventually becomes a life source for micro organisms, algae and fungi. A person who does not want to grow and lives in denial- can be likened to that stale water. The mind of the person becomes a source and force for denial. Denial in the context of the idea of judge, and denial in the context of id and the shadow self.

Body, Soul and The Mind- 2

Few Mondays ago I posted a poem with the same title. I wanted to elaborate on why I wrote it and how are the body, soul and the mind intertwined.

Self-awareness is to be able to observe one’s behaviour whether in real-time which takes a lot of practice, or through hindsight. In addition, dissecting the emotions away from the thoughts and behaviours. So that we can look down from above. An objective view.

Metacognition is the ability to change one’s emotional state through thoughts. Our minds and limbic system doesn’t know the difference between emotions that are felt through real life experiences or the ones we feel by daydreaming or visualizing an event and emotions before the event happens. Feelings influence thoughts, similarly thoughts influence feelings. When feeling the emotions that we don’t want to feel, the research in psychology suggests, we should replace those feelings with positive feelings. Visualisation is powerful technique that can help us anchor our being in a state of calmness and joy amidst discomfort and adversity.

Chronic stress is a stress response that is built in the body over a long period of time. A chronic stress response when triggered is difficult to control as the chemicals released when in any situation that triggers chronic stress, are the natural state of the body. The body goes into the fight, flight or freeze response, cortisol and adrenaline kicks in, heart beat pumps up and the person loses control over their thought process/rational thinking and emotions. As a result, the individual is likely to make poor decisions and underperform. It’s a self-sabotaging mechanism. For many individuals, if they do not address instant stress then there is a greater likelihood of chronic stress getting triggered.

I have a lot of unfinished articles laying about in the drafts. Despite knowing theory and believing that I am emotionally intelligent, emotional self-awareness in real time can be quite challenging to actualise, especially in high performance situations/sports. But such challenges also give us an opportunity to grow.

So, having explained those terms that I think link the mind body and soul, I will refer back to this diagram I drew when I wrote about the ego.

Ego, heart and mind connection

Heart and brain coherence can be observed scientifically through exposing people to different situations that will trigger a response and the ability of those people via meditation/breathing techniques to remain calm. Exposure and deliberate practise is one of the ways to develop heart and mind coherence.

How the heart beats when under stress and when there is a shift to appreciation

Conscious breathing is a great tool and anchor to shift to appreciation when feeling stress. Wim Hof has proven scientifically how he can control his body temperature under cold stress through breathing technique. It unlocks the potential of mind, it taps into the ancestral genes that lie dormant within us. Joseph Campbell in the ‘Heroes with a Thousand Faces’ describes the many journeys of the hero. The archetypal journey of hero is full of challenges, stress and obstacles. That is the nature’s way of nurturing the potential of the hero.

It is possible to reach the highest state of consciousness and keeping in mind the struggles of ego as presented above, the rhythm of the heart and breathing technique to consciously shift to a state of appreciation. Practising this over and over can help release all the trauma, stress and dispel negativity. Below are the emotions and how they rank on the spectrum. The elevated emotions on the upper end and the limiting emotions on the other end. The elevated emotions are selfless and also the creative emotions. The limiting emotions are survival emotions which keep the mind, body and soul pinned in a scarce surrounding. There is no room for growth in feeling these emotions. Growth starts when one replaces the limiting emotions with elevated emotions. Deliberate practise through focus, meditation and breathing technique can help reach a higher state of consciousness. One of abundance, one of gratitude, one of appreciation.

Where are you on the wavelength?

Which frequency are you tapping into? Is your mind constantly bombarded with beta waves? Do you rest and sleep to energise yourself? In our sleep, our mind goes into the slower theta waves. With deliberate daily practise of breathing and meditation, it is possible to access to slow down the brains waves to gamma frequency and access higher consciousness. Traditional meditational practises of different religions have proven this. Although, it is not an easy thing to achieve, it is not impossible.

Instead of describing the different frequencies of brain waves, here’s a link to a short video of a crash course on brain waves. How they help us achieve higher consciousness! how it can help us open the path to new possibilities!

This is an explanation via what I have learnt from studying psychology, a little bit of neuroscience and reading and practising meditation. If you are not a science person, refer to my previous article Affairs of the heart. In there you will find other techniques and meditations, if practised with deliberate focus, those techniques can help you get near the path of higher consciousness.