Feeling Overwhelmed by Intense Energies? A Simple Practice from Manjushri
Dear Readers: Several months ago I found myself feeling quite overwhelmed by the intensity of energies pounding into my life, and I asked Manjushri for advice on how to handle that skillfully. I am posting his response here, in the hope that it might be of use to others feeling intense energies or some personal turmoil or imbalance.
“No, you wouldn’t feel “alert and grounded,” given the intensity of the energies arriving and the fatigue you live with. It does, however, lower your defenses and resistances, and that can be very helpful, if you handle it skillfully. The most important step is to remain aware that you are in this condition and facing this situation; in other words, keep one part of your awareness a slight distance from the activity in front of you, not judging or evaluating, but simply aware, with a very light touch, simply aware of what is going on and how you are able to hold yourself in place.
This practice, for it is a practice, protects you from merging with the swirl around you and prevents you from getting submerged in it or even lost. If you notice that has happened, that you have lost your “view,” then connect with your breath and bring yourself back into center. Notice what is happening. Notice what is going on inside and outside. This will stabilize you and your attention.
It will also slow down your speech, and this can be very helpful. Before speaking, ask yourself, Is this the best thing to say or do right now? Just that pause, that brief question, also serves to re-center you and to bring your mind into alignment with your own perceptions and intentions.
A third practice in such a situation is from time to time, breathe very deeply and exhale very completely, visualizing the breath moving through any obstructions on the exhale and bringing in fresh oxygen and nourishment on the inhale. This is not only a metaphor; it is an accurate description of the power of the breath when it is yoked firmly with mind and body. That simple method of joining what so often is broken apart brings renewed freshness and often renewed courage and openheartedness as well.
If these small but powerful practices are not sufficient, excuse yourself and go for a short walk. That changes your environment, gives you some time alone, and allows you to rest in some silence. Even ten or fifteen minutes can make a very big difference, and you will find yourself able to return with new insights and restored ability to focus and participate.
So, these are the four practices:
1) Stay aware and awake. Keep some space between you and the environment.
2) Return to your breath if you wander. Think before you speak.
3) Breathe deeply several times, every once in a while.
4)Leave and take a short walk, to refresh and renew yourself.”