It?s an inside job Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Monday, 28 February 2011 08:02
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If you’re reading this, it means you are now holding The Bronberger’s 100th edition in your hands. And if you’ve been reading The Bronberger once a month for the past eight and a half years, you’ll know just how far we’ve come since our first edition in September 2002.

You’d think we’d be so used to bringing you your local rag that publishing this milestone 100th edition would be a breeze. But then again, you’ve probably been thinking that this magazine is put together by a huge team of people. It’s not. There are four of us, of whom two work part time, plus a couple of contributors.

Of course this means that the four of us go into virtual overdrive when putting together an edition containing a Things-to-do guide like this one. And that each one of us, at some point of the production process, got into the kind of frenzy that comes from a lack of sleep, regular meals and normal contact with the outside world.

Let’s just say that the past month has been a very good exercise in what-not-to-do-when-feeling-overwhelmed. If I’ve learned one thing, it would be that there’s only one way of escaping the franticness of a given situation and that is by gently stepping out of your mind.

Nope, although the temptation has been huge, I’m not talking about the ranting-and-raving, foam-at-the-mouth kind of out-of-your-mind. It’s more like stepping out of the content of your mind so that you can see the substance of it.

According to David Robert Ord, the key to approaching any overwhelming situation is to relax into the moment, the ’now’, in which our challenge has arisen. David writes that most people confuse the now with what happens in the now, but that’s not what it is. The now is the space in which it happens.

When you succeed in stepping into this space, the incessant mental chatter won’t absorb all your attention anymore. Then, instead of telling yourself a story about how much you have to accomplish, you simply begin doing the things that need to get done.

So much of what we treat as facts are only stories we tell ourselves. Eckhart Tolle writes that if you’re completely identified with your thoughts, your sense of self is reduced to the story you keep telling yourself in your head - without knowing that you’re doing it.

Most of us are so identified with our thoughts that we don’t see them as just one part of us. It’s much easier to watch our bodies than our thoughts. What I mean is this: if forced to sit still and observe, you can become aware of tension in your shoulders or a knot in your stomach. There’s no way you’d be thinking you are the knot in your stomach, is there?

Why, then, is it so much more difficult to become aware of the fact that you are not the anxious flux of involuntary thoughts that whirl around in your head?

The mind is a superb instrument, but the thing is that you don’t use it – it uses you, writes Eckhart. You believe that you are your mind. The mind’s obsessive need to build an identity around the past and future invites stress and drains vitality.

“I’m a nervous person,” you might keep telling yourself. How much does this influence the way you handle situations? Of course you’ll be handling them as a nervous person would.

The torment you feel in overwhelming situations is most probably not caused by the external situation, but by the story you tell yourself about the way you’re going to handle the situation; by the drama you create around it.

Nervousness, anxiety and despair are less conditions than they are decisions. Stress doesn’t come from the outside. It’s an inside job.

Don’t cling so much to the drama. It’s not real. You’re not there. You are here. Now. At this very moment. Exactly where you are meant to be. Reading The Bronberger’s 100th edition, of course.

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