The moment we realize we are not present, we are present.
The above wisdom has served me well in the last couple of years. The moment you stop and realize what your mind is doing — at that moment, you have moved toward a better state of mind. You have taken a step out of the chaotic thinking or disturbing thinking. I have diffused many a funk with this wisdom. I have broken out of many instances of anxiety and panic with this wisdom.
I recently discovered a new tactic that works for me. I noticed that when I’m freaking out, I start to say things to myself, “Stay calm. Stay calm.” Or, I’ll say, “Everything is going to be alright. Everything is going to be alright.” Or, “Don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it.” Well, even though I am saying these things to myself, I still find that I am freaking out a little. As a matter of fact, saying these things can keep me freaked out. I feel that I have to keep saying them. I feel like I am still freaking out, and therefore I need to keep saying them. I am in a state of mind where I need to be talking myself down. I stay stuck. I keep struggling. It’s an infinite loop, kind of.
With my new tactic, I still might say the little mantras or whatever, but what I think really works is when you go beyond the words. Run yourself out of words. Stop piecing together words. Stop with the words. No words – just feelings. Just get a gut feeling for how you are. Don’t use words to describe it. Don’t use words to describe how to get out of it. Just feel your way through. Feel your way out of it like your feeling your way out of a dark room, towards light.
Mantras are a zillion years old and they have a zillion years’ of success. Ancient wisdom recommends mantras. What I’m saying — as one last step — say your mantras — but after that, don’t say anything for a while. Don’t think anything. Don’t form sentences in your head or search for some comforting phrase or sentence. Just stop searching. Stop struggling. Stop volition. Stop willing.