The UK, Europe, USA and Asia have been gripped by record levels of snow, ice and Arctic temperatures. Britain is blanketed with inches of snow, its roads are like ice sheets and night temperatures have reached to -18 C.
After the initial excitement, many people are now finding the snow, ice and bitter temperatures doesn’t simply lead to physical discomfort and suffering, but people unable to travel, children unable to get to schools or parents to work combined with decreasing supplies and increasing fuel costs the emotional and mental stress are quickly starting to manifest.
When people suffer from the physical affects of cold temperatures and wintry conditions, they can take action such as wearing waterproof and warm clothes, however, with emotional and mental stress, there are no “fixes” readily available.
Surprisingly, these challenging conditions also provide us with an excellent opportunity for self-growth, especially as the climate and earth changes underway appear to be just the beginning to our “awakening” to what is actually going on and its impact upon our lives over the next few years, as we begin to experince food shortages, economic collapse, social re-structing and social revolt. The Universe appears to have supplied an “easier” challenge to ease us into 2010.
Part of our suffering is that we don’t want to experience the current challenging weather conditions. So, we can first start by accepting the circumstances. Things are the way they are! Of course we can make our lives more comfortable if possible, but we accept the situation.
Our mind has its own natural mechanism of avoiding distress, these are denial, projecting and splitting. Denial is the refusal to accept something which causes anxiety, whereas projection is the transference of our feelings and impulses onto others and splitting is when we see things as black or white.
We start the process towards acceptance in a gentle and compassionate manner, a progressive softening of resistance and growing willingness to accept not just the challenging external circumstances, but also, willing to accept uncomfortable emotions and feelings too.
Meditation offers us an excellent opportunity towards acceptance and also self-compassion. Just as every living being wishes to free from suffering and happy, so do you.
The process towards acceptance goes through a number of stages, these are:
Avoidance – attempting to avoid discomfort, feelings and physical
Curiosity – “what is that feeling?” -turning towards discomfort
Tolerance – enduring emotional pain while wishing it would cease
Willingness – allowing difficult feelings to come and go
Friendship – start seeing the hidden value of our situation
Self-compassion (by Dav Panesar)
Mindfulness (by Dav Panesar)
Symran (by Dav Panesar)