“Be silent and wait and when the clear green fore-head-stone is given, wear it.”
And, “Don’t always be waiting to see what’s behind it. That wait and see poison your spirit. Reach for it.”
Ok, so now what exactly do you want me to do, Mawlana? Should I silently wait or should I not?
It took me some time to grasp the essential message in all traditional teachings – Life is a paradox… embrace the opposites, the ambiguity… listen to your heart.
In another place, Rumi advices, “Nothing happens until you quit contriving with your mind. Quit your talking!”
In CBT, we call this undesirable “contriving”, the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts), those auto-generated thoughts that creep in- seemingly out of nowhere- and drag you down the rabbit hole.
An anxious mind is a mind loaded with ideas, thoughts, plans, to-dos, and scenarios… a mind like the World Wide Web firing in all directions all the time. Our ANTs generate negative feelings such as worry, fear, irritability, and helplessness. In their turn, the negative feelings initiate physical symptoms (hypertension, heart palpitation, high blood sugar levels, depressed immunity) and generate self-defeating behaviors that generate more ANTs and a vicious cycle sets in.
Psychologists identified ten most common cognitive distortions (another fancy word for ANTs) that lead us down this rabbit hole. We all have them in various extents, but each of us usually has 2-3 patterns that we fall in again and again.
You can download the sheet of the 10 most common CBT patterns HERE
Try to identify yours and monitor your thoughts this upcoming month. Use a journal to catch the “ANTs”. Whenever you see yourself slipping into a negative thinking pattern catch those ANTs and quickly stick them in your journal. Write down exactly what those negative thoughts were - What were you saying to yourself?
Explore why and how those ANTs arise, reflect about it… Can you challenge/refute those thoughts?
Can you “Quit your talking!”
You are carrying too many responsibilities, running in all directions trying to meet everybody’s needs wondering when will you have time to meet your own… And, what are those needs of yours… you no longer know.
You are suppressing or avoiding your thoughts and feelings out of fear. Fear of facing the world… fear of facing your self… So, instead, you are putting on a mask that hides who you truly are.
And, on top of all that, there are stored grief and sorrow, and a deep feeling of loneliness and isolation. “Am I good enough?” You keep wondering. You have a need for intimate connection, a need to nurture and being nurtured, a need to love and be loved… A need to trust yourself and trust the world around you.
Your heart gets crowded with anxieties.
The rest of the body maybe undisturbed,
But in your chest, there’s constant traffic.
Find a safe haven instead
In the strong autumn wind of awe
Let last year’s peonies blow off their stems.
Those flowers must go, so these new buds can grow.” – Rumi
Our modern life became more and more stressful It is like a race with us running like hamsters in a wheel. Maybe it is time to slow down and take a deep breath… Find the safe haven Rumi is talking about.
“Patience, not haste, gets you where you belong,
Slow down and heed the Beloved’s song.”
Let’s heed the Beloved’s song in our daily life… This month, let’s conclude every day by reflecting on one thing -at least one- that was sent our way that brought joy into our hearts.
In an increasingly frustrating and demanding world, let’s seek and focus on joy! Remember, you always have a choice!
Have a Blessed Joyful month :)