Do you sometimes feel like you’re a human doing rather than a human being, always running to catch up with a general sense of anxiety? Your emotions and physical sensations are yelling for your attention, your minds are working harder and harder to find a way out.
Even just writing and reading that last sentence my heartbeat quickens and my temperature rises. This is definitely one form of suffering, as if I had to tell you that. You see yourself here (uncomfortable, stressed, anxious) and you want to be there (at ease) so your mind analyses the gap between and tries to bridge it. Good old rational critical thinking.
The mind uses the doing mode to break problems into smaller bits in an attempt to find a solution. It then assesses if you are any closer to your goal. The doing mode is activated whether you're trying to catch a train or file your taxes. Thank goodness we have it! It's one of our most important assets.
BUT, if the gap can't be closed, because you've tried everything, you become fixated on the gap, torturing yourself with harsh criticisms like, What started it this time? What have I done to put so much pressure on myself again What I should have said, done? Why does it hurt so much? Maybe it'll never get better? What if I fail?
These open-ended questions can increase anxiety depression and stress, burning up your energy and leaving you feeling fragile and broken. It gives the mind free reign to catastrophise. One fear leads to the next and before long you're spiralling into a dark and scary place. It’s a vicious, exhausting cycle.
But there is an alternative.
You can’t stop the triggering of unpleasant sensations in the body but you can stop what happens next. The spiral of negative thoughts, feelings and emotions.
You can learn to take a mountaintop view that is unclouded by thoughts, feelings and emotions. Psychologists call it the being mode.
You can become aware that you are thinking. This metacognition allows you to experience the world without your thoughts acting like a distorting lens. You can learn to see things as they actually are, not as you expect or fear them to be. This interrupts the cycle that leads to anxiety stress and depression.
Awareness allows you to step back from your pain and suffering by breaking free from the tendency to overthink. It takes practice, but you will gradually begin see thinking as only one aspect of your daily experience. Unpleasant yes, but not all of who you are.
BEING MODE IS NOT BETTER OR WORSE THAN DOING MODE. IT'S JUST DIFFERENT.
It’s bigger than thinking, kinder than thinking and often wiser than thinking and it has been cultivated for thousands of years. And we can learn this by the practice of mindfulness meditation. The only way to know if this works for you is by carrying out the practices. Belief is irrelevant but it’s certainly worth a try. Isn’t It?