Image: Chaiwad Baimai
"Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep...
Let’s say it’s 9:30 a.m. You’ve been awake for two hours, and a hundred things have already gone right for you. If three of those hundred things had not gone right—your toaster was broken, the hot water wasn’t hot enough, there was a stain on the pants you wanted to wear—you might feel that today the universe is against you, that your luck is bad, that nothing’s going right. And yet the fact is that the vast majority of everything is working with breathtaking efficiency and consistency. You would clearly be deluded to imagine that life is primarily an ordeal."
- Rob Brezsny, excerpted from PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia
Our brain has a negativity bias, which causes us to place greater importance on threat and danger than on ease, joy and contentment. Our news media is entirely focused on sharing with us the tragedies, horrors and hyperbolic forecasts of an imagined doomsday future. With the advance of science and technology comes both the opportunity and the weight of connecting with an ever-expanding group of people, of knowing their struggles and wishes, of feeling into their joy and pain.
Our increasingly technology-dependent days have neither a "start time" or an "off time", and for many people the same fate has befallen the "work week". The combination of these factors spells real trouble for our nervous systems.
We are in fact the first group of people who have been so widely connected, who have dealt with the sheer volume of data that we encounter on a daily basis. Considering how much we've taken on, it's no wonder that many of us have racing minds, taught tempers, frazzled ends, a (seeming) dearth of time. There is no question that we're dealing with a great deal.
But we have great choice in how we relate to all this. Greater choice than we often acknowledge. We can set limits on technology use - not only for our children but for ourselves. Just because we can be connected at all times, doesn't mean it serves us to do so. We can choose when, how, and if we consume news media. We can choose to nourish ourselves afterwards with a walk in nature, playtime with a child or a pet, or some precious moments of meditation. We can fill the well of our deeper selves, regularly, on purpose, and as a priority. We can take our time back. We can take our attention back.
Studies have shown that stress reduces empathy. When we allow the pace of the frenzied world to entirely set the pace of our lives and minds, we're very likely to miss important cues about the state of our bodies, hearts and minds. We're much more likely to cause harm to ourselves and others from that place.
The practice of noticing what's working, what's going well, what's wonderful, what's life-giving has always been a powerful one. And it may be more necessary now than at any other time in our history as a species. To maintain our balance, to support our nervous systems, to support our ability to be sources of kindness and tolerance for one another, we've gotta take in the good. Here's a guided meditation to assist you in that process.
Thousands of things have gone right for you today! May you notice them and feel their import throughout your being.
Breathe deeply, practice often, be well.
Dana Wyss Healing Arts