As I woke up today with tingly feet and immediately began worrying about my them, I remembered that the day before I worried about a one-day teaching residency I’m going to have to travel extremely far for, to a part of Chicago that is as of yet completely unknown to me. When I decided to allow the discomfort in my feet, and surrender to the present moment, my mind started thinking about finding a new apartment in September and how stressful that might be.
Sound familiar? When life is stressful the voice in the head tells us that after a certain point or after something happens we will finally be at peace.
Even though I think that I’ll be at peace after I figure out what is going on with my tingly feet, when that moment does come my mind will just as soon have an exorbitant amount of other things I’ll have to wait for until I can be at peace.
While the content of the thoughts we have differs, we all experience the same mechanics. There is always a phantom future moment when the mind will agree to let you relax and enjoy life. And that is exactly how that voice stays alive, in control of your attention.
Once I was able to become aware that unless I decided to be at peace now I’d never actually be at peace, I was able to choose peace now despite the circumstances. The long standing thought mechanics in my mind still had a whole lifetime’s worth of energy to keep it going, so the worry thoughts popped up nevertheless.
Despite this mind mechanic momentum, to smile and allow yourself to relax even when your thoughts are still vying for your attention, is to take control of your life and your sanity. In that moment you are present and the momentum gained from that glimpse of consciousness will only grow. Eventually the old thought mechanics will lose steam and peace will be all the remains inside and out.