The way we stay at home now reminds me a lot of the times I have been on silent meditation retreats. Of course it has nothing to do with what is happening in the world. Still, how it has been for many of us during the past few weeks has reminded me how easy it is to get into emotions of frustration, feelings of being trapped, unfairness, impatience and so on. It is understandable that it can be tricky for many to find themselves in the current situation where their whole life changes up and they have to stay at home.

My first silent retreat only lasted from a Friday afternoon to a Sunday afternoon and it didn’t take long before I decided I would never do it again. It was too hard. There was nothing to do and the meditations were too long. In addition to not talking, we couldn’t use our phones or write or read. Just practise Being as opposed to Doing. Waking up on the Saturday morning I just wanted to escape the whole thing.

The five-day retreat a couple of months later turned out to be much easier. Probably because I had done it before and also because it was longer, so there was more time to settle into a new way of living.

This longer silent retreat happened during spring. The weather was beautiful every day, like now. There were lots of flowers and trees and birds around. Everyday we had three meals, meditated a lot, and went for short walks in the surroundings. Nothing seemed to change around me from one day to the other. And still, one day could be so different from the day before. This made me wonder, how could one day feel light and easy and the following day so challenging? Here’s when I learned a few important lessons that have served me ever since:

1 – Emotions come and go. Having a bad day doesn’t mean the next day will be the same (it is really good to remember this when you are having a difficult time). Also: There is no need to attach to an emotion and let thoughts spin around it and make things worse.

2 – It is our inner state of mind that governs how we feel. If we choose to go to a challenging thought we are somehow making ourselves suffer (no it is not anybody else’s fault how we feel). Knowing you are in charge (as opposed to your mind jumping from one thought to another), you can choose differently. Sometimes we feel we don’t have a choice. Whenever that happens to me I find it helpful to remind myself that the emotion I have within me will pass. The emotion is not who I am. It might take less than an hour or it could take weeks. But the emotion will pass.

3 – We always have a choice. Instead of holding on to feelings such as anger and frustration we can choose to see things differently to stop emotions and thoughts from spinning out of control. We are in charge, not our minds. My way out of challenging thoughts and emotions is to sit with them and I do this through meditation. This is what many people do at the moment to find more ease of living in the situation they are in. It is the best way I know of.

With this in mind I wanted to add the following that I read on social media earlier today. It is by Dr. Joe Dispenza and here it is: “How uncomfortable do you have to become before you make up your mind to change something?”

Wishing you all well X

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children.