How To Cope With Just About Anything

I’ve often thought (and wrote) that life is a constant process of discovery, so much so that many teachings, life lessons, and concepts can fade in and out with regularity.

Think about your own situation, and how perhaps you would walk away from a conversation, a lecture, a conference, or from reading a book, full of wonderful and actionable advice on how to live a happier and more enjoyable life – and then, as these experiences overlap and time passes, much of what you learned gets pushed to the back of your brain, in favor of the latest learnings.

I was fortunate enough to have a particularly good life learning circle back to me this past weekend, and this time I really intend to keep it close to me, and not let it slip away so easily.

Because, in essence, the learning was one of the best coping mechanisms I have ever come across. And it’s really easy to do, once you’ve gotten over the initial disbelief about it.

I attended a lecture of a Buddhist Monk named Bhante Wimala, who spoke about the concept of “mindfulness“. Not from the prospective of being mindful of what’s going on around you, but what is going on within you.

His suggested path to that particular kind of mindfulness is thorough meditation. I’m sure that word conjures up images of sitting cross-legged and trying to absolutely clear your head for lengthy periods of time, but it really is much simpler than that.

For in the key element of effective meditation lies the mechanism – that is, focus on your own breathing.

Sitting still, and listening to your breath – in, and out. In, and out. In doing this you quickly discover that it easily focuses your attention inward, to what’s going with your head, and your body.

By being so much more “in tune”, as it were, a person can then much more easily attend to what’s going on around them – or better put, better ascertain how what’s happening “out there” is affecting them, physically and emotionally.

Once you can “feel” the effect, now that you’ve put yourself right smack “in the moment”, all of a sudden that cherished “perspective” that we always strain to get in times of stress, or anxiety, or even loss, becomes a little easier to find.

Because as you breathe and focus within, it’s all about you, and not what’s happening. That’s more control.

I had learned this when I first started practicing yoga, well over a year ago – but as I noted before, it got a little lost lately in the parade of other newly discovered life lessons.

Now it’s back in my consciousness, and sure enough, I’ve reaped benefits already. Just this morning, I faced what I was perceiving as an unbelieveably busy and stressful day. When I arrived at the office I took a couple of minutes and started paying attention to my breathing, and sure enough, I immediately noticed the tension in my shoulders, and my neck.

Once “tuned in”, I immediately relaxed, and once that happened, the proper perspective flowed. I wasn’t going to let the day affect me negatively.

Then I went to work, still relaxed and ready to rock and roll.

I invite you to try this yourself – give it time, because it does take a little practice. But the dividends are many.

Just breathe. And cope.

Comments

  1. says

    Here I was hoping you were going to give me permission to start ninja-kicking some folks… ;-) Seriously though, breathing is good. I tell many people throughout the day to breathe yet often forget to myself. I haven’t gotten into yoga (yet) but do have a few meditation tapes downloaded on my iphone. (How’s that for a relaxing use for technology?) One of them is so simple it seemed stupid at first — about breathing in RE and breathing out LAX (re-lax). But I love it.

    Have a great day!

  2. says

    Thank you for some great advice! As someone very busy who often feels overwhelmed, I’m excited to try this ‘do anywhere/anytime’ coping tool!

  3. PamelaMartin says

    Thanks Terry! Once again proof that the universe conspires to give you exactly what you need…

    You’ve really hit upon a struggle I’ve been having lately with being a “perpetual student”. Thanks for reminding me that “the practice” is just that, the practice of, not the study of…

    Thich Nhat Hanh said “Wherever we are we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other and the wonder of our breathing.” Thanks for reminding me of the wonder of my breathing.

    Namaste’

  4. says

    Thanks for the reminder! I notice that when I do pay attention to my breathing, I realize how much breath I’ve been subconciously holding in. It’s amazing how this simple exercise can have so much of an effect on how we feel and what we experience.

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