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Feb 10: Sitting with Anxiety March 3, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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I have a pretty packed schedule for the next few days, so I found that there were a lot of planning thoughts arising during my sit this morning. I felt that I was only able to get a little bit concentrated, but not very well overall.

For most of the sit, I noticed the presence of an anxious mental state, where I was trying to anticipate any problems that I had to foresee coming up in the near future. In other words, I wasn’t being in the present moment. I felt like I had to be on guard or on alert for potential problems.

When I was able to try to be still, I tried to find out where this anxious, guarded mental state came from. I was reminded of a phrase a meditation teacher once told me, What are you made of? It seemed as if the anxiety was mostly being driven by fear, fear of what it would mean if something “went wrong,” or how it would affect how people would see me. I had a fear of not being able to maintain a certain self image to present to others.

I don’t feel like I’ve made a huge progress into these anxious thoughts, but at least it’s a start. Slowly but surely, as I gain awareness, these anxious and fearful mental states might eventually dissolve. All I have to do, I believe, is diligently maintain my mindfulness and not be afraid to look at my suffering. As much as I would like to believe I don’t have anxiety, the truth is that I do experience it, and being able to face that fact will go a long way.

I also noticed that the anxious mental state I was in during my sit meant I felt a forceful nature to motivating myself to stay concentrated. It was the opposite of being gentle or relaxed with myself. I am slowly learning that being forceful and aggressive with myself doesn’t get me anywhere, as much as I would like to think it does. Being gentle with myself is one of the best things I can do. Continuing to keep my body and mind calm and free of tension during my sitting practice is the best way I can do this, I am finding.

The thought that was in my mind when the bell went off at the end of my sit was, “This is happening now. Just this.”

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