Do your local newspapers put up billboards on streetlight poles where you live? You know those headlines that are meant to entice you to buy the paper? Mine do. These headlines are almost always filled with appalling content. Sometimes it is so bad that children cannot read them without being afraid to get out the car. What are the newspapers thinking? Certainly nothing good can come of filling our minds with bad news. Trash in trash out as the saying goes.
After being mentally assaulted in this way I tend to seek refuge in my studio. Relief comes after a few minutes of painting or some other creative activity. This brings me to the main thrust of this article. What is the best way to escape our worries and anxieties? Yes anger too. The answer involves escaping from time itself. Einstein reminded us that time is an illusion. Honestly time is nothing more than our attempt to make sure we get to work without getting into trouble. We believe it exists so there it is.
If that sounds odd then you may be surprised to note that our real self is not found in our mind. Our mind is the voice of our outer self. The ego that we tend to identify each other by. The mind fills out heads with things to worry about. In order for the mind to do this it needs time. It is the past (baggage) and the future (anxiety) that is the focus of all our mind’s thoughts.
What if we escaped the past and future and focused on the present. The now. According to Ekhart Tolle in his excellent book The Power of Now, all we have is now. This fact of course is confirmed by many other faiths and thinkers. Unfortunately we have given up on the now as we try to anticipate the future and stew over past events. The result is pain and misery the world over.
So to get into the Now we need to focus on the moment. Meditation is difficult for me. I choose art as my escape from the mind’s chatter. Most of us have experienced the joy of the moment in activities like sport or even dangerous activities that demand our full attention. Whenver we are in a state of blissful focus we cancel out the mind’s time based messages. We have the present moment. With this knowledge we can start to indentify the bad habits that send us in the wrong direction. We have a choice about what happens at this moment.
A good place to start is to avoid triggers like those terrible newspaper adverts. Enjoy the moment,because it is all we truly have.