I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10+ years ago. I’ve been in treatment for many years… battling the mood swings and anxiety that happen with unfortunate regularity. I’ve been checking out Buddhist psychology and the practice of mindfulness– hoping to soften these moods and feel some peace already!
The Ordinary Moment
“Ultimately it is upon your vulnerability that you depend.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke
To lead from a position of openness is to be undefended. At times such vulnerability can be freeing, because we stop wrestling with our personal anxiety, resentment, and fear and simply expose ourselves fully to our world.
Yet such vulnerability can be terrifying, since we can’t rely on familiar postures, thoughts or emotions for comfort and reassurance. When we practice mindfulness, we are cultivating a deliberate and purposeful vulnerability – a consciousness undefended.
When we are truly mindful, we are patient, honest and non-judgmental. We have trust in ourselves, and in our intuition. We do not strive for a purpose. We are simply being — centered in the present moment — promoting acceptance and expanding awareness.
(The above paraphrased from “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn & Thich Nhat Hanh)
By being aware and letting go of control of my emotionally messed up experience, I can restructure automatic, ingrained patterns of thought.
In panic mode, there is a frightening disconnect between perception and reality. Bodily sensations are often misinterpreted or catastrophized. Panic may be created subconsciously before the panic thought occurs – leaving me in a sudden and unexpected episode of intense fear. Ongoing repetition of this panic experience can lead to the paralyzing fear of the fear itself.
How do I simply notice successive and repetitive thoughts of fear through mindfulness? Detached self-observation without reaction. I am searching for inner dialogue, awareness of my irrational thoughts. To be present in my life, and honor the ordinary.