Try asking this question when people tell you they have a problem. Emphasise the word NOW. Maybe insert ‘At the moment”. I find that most problems are coming from the past or haven’t happened yet. For example, someone could be worried about something they did in the past or are worried about an uncertain future. If you encourage them to be present you can follow up with ‘Is there anything you can do NOW?’ If there is nothing they can do immediately, suggest that they move to accepting the situation until they can act. In truth, the only time anyone can act is at the present time. Usually the problem is not the actual problem but rather thinking about the problem. If you don’t think about the problem, it goes away. A good way of not thinking about the problem is to focus on your internal or external situation. Focus on your breathing or focus on what is happening around you without any labelling. Try it next time someone tells you they have a problem.
Imagine you lost your mobile. Do you now have a stream of negative thoughts like ‘My memory is failing’.’This shouldn’t be happening’.’I am having a bad day’ ? This is the daisy chain. Misplacing your phone has happened. The daisy chain often follows and makes the situation worse. It is very difficult to stop the negative thoughts especially if you are tired or stressed. Something you can do is to identify that it is your mind that is churning out the unhelpful thoughts and not you. This is the pause that helps. Try saying ‘Here goes my mind again.’ Let the thoughts pass by without engaging them or believing them. They are seldom true and not coming from you. They are background noise. You are the person who is aware of these random thoughts. Try it.
Do you think you can control your mind? Do you get bothered by unpleasant thoughts that keep coming back? This is your mind at work. It can keep you awake at night and stressed during the day.
It is possible to change your default position from constant thinking to being aware. This won’t stop the thoughts from coming but it will help you to manage them better. Instead of reacting to a thought like ‘I think I have the virus’, you become the observer and say to yourself ‘ There’s the virus thought again’. You don’t treat the thought as real. You treat it as only a mental event. Get yourself tested if you like but don’t treat the thought as more than a thought. Don’t stress over a thought especially if it is about something you can’t change or has happened in the past.
You can change your mind with practice. Don’t let it control you.
Why do anything? Asking the question ‘Why’ can lead to the discovery of a purpose or our purpose if we ask it often enough. I am not suggesting that we all have a single purpose that we need to discover to find happiness and get on track. Maybe looking for our purpose is actually our purpose. Did the early explorers go looking for new places or did they just like exploring? Some people seem to find their purpose early and stick to it for the rest of their lives. Some keep asking the question to get them heading in a meaningful direction. Now is a good time to ask the question again. What is my purpose at work and at home.Why am I doing what I am doing? If the answer is ‘ to make money’. Keep asking and go deeper. Money may come from a deeper purpose and is only a bonus or means to another purpose. So ask why and keep asking until you come to the source of your motivation.
COVID 19 is amazingly egalitarian. It treats everyone exactly the same. It doesn’t care about race, gender, nationality, age, status, financial situation. It probably doesn’t know who is vulnerable when spreading. It just spreads. It doesn’t blame. It doesn’t look for revenge. It does seem to exploit loopholes in our medical systems but probably not. Maybe our temptation to blame and discriminate helps the virus do its job. It can bring us together or separate us depending on how we think.
How bizarre that a virus can treat everyone the same and we humans struggle to do this. Equally bizarre is the need to blame when we should be working together to help each other during this crisis. This is not a competition to see who has handled the crisis better than others. This is an opportunity to think as humans helping each other and the environment regardless of our minor, superficial differences. We are all the same and equally important. Let’s behave locally and internationally as if we are all in this together. We are.
Are you getting glimpses of the pandemic being over and lockdown being lifted? The pandemic isn’t over and may last until we have a vaccine and the population is protected. What I meant is are you getting any feelings about missing this opportunity. Do you think you will miss anything about self isolation? What did you enjoy that may end when you get busy again? Will you still walk? Stay in touch with friends via social media or zoom? Is there anything you were going to do but didn’t? Maybe write your biography, tidy up your photos, learn to dance. You know what I mean. There is still time to do what you have always wanted to do. Contact former friends. Forgive. Be kind especially to yourself. Check on vulnerable neighbours. Teach yourself to think differently. Ideally you can look back on this time as a high point in your personal development and your life. Is there anything you would really like to do while the opportunity still exists?