Be Calm, Be Powerful

There is a meditation – I think of it as the 10 times 10 meditation – that is one of a set of meditations from MatrixMeditations, written by Kooch and Victor Daniels. This meditation helps me whenever I feel anxious, or can’t get a worrying thought out of my head. I’ll share it with you in a moment.

The thing about anxiety is that it narrows our focus to what is directly before us that feels like a threat. If it’s a major worry, then that will be the only thing we can focus on. We aren’t and can’t be present for anything or anyone else. That makes us miss things, and places us solely at the control of whatever the threat is. If it is a worry, and if it’s the kind of worry that has nothing to do with us – like someone else’s anger or rage – then all we can do to gain any agency is to remain calm, so that we can be available for ourselves and the other person.

Let’s say someone in your group has worked themselves into a frenzy and is now falling apart, reacting to anything anyone else says, perhaps looking for someone in your group to blame; or, you witness a bully trying to intimidate his way toward getting what he wants, dam the consequences; or, you’re up all night fearing you’ll get laid off the next day along with others you know and care about. These aren’t situations that are physically dangerous, but they are hard to remain calm in. Yet, they would go a lot better if you could remain calm.

Getting calm in anxious situations happens when you create distance between yourself and the perceived threat. That distance could be real. It could also be mental and emotional, especially for situations like those above. The 10 times 10 meditation helps to create that mental and emotional distance.  Here it is:

  1. Begin by taking a few slow and deep grounding breaths. These help to shift your focus from the worry to your process of breathing.
  2. Then breathe in, saying mentally to yourself one. While breathing in, take in whatever it is you’ve been thinking or worrying about, or the sensations or emotions you’re currently experiencing. Do it as if you were an observer, observing these thoughts and feelings as impartially as you can. When you release your breath, focus on that release rather than what you noticed.
  3. Take another breath in, saying mentally to yourself two, doing the same thing you did with the first breath: taking in whatever you were thinking or feeling as impartially as you can, then releasing these as you breathe out.
  4. Take in a total of 10 breaths like this, then on the next breath in, fill your lungs and hold it for a few seconds, recalling what you noticed during the 10 in-breaths. As you release that breath, consciously release all the thoughts and feelings you recalled.
  5. Begin again with set 2, and continue until you’ve completed the set 10 times.
  6. If you lose count, begin where you think you lost count, or begin again if you can’t remember. I use my fingers to keep count; you may have a different way that suits you better.

Once you’re complete, take a few moments to notice any changes in yourself mentally and emotionally. It’s likely you feel refreshed and more distant from what is happening with others in your space, more present for yourself and others. More available. And, more empowered to be available for help, support, … anything that is truly needed in that moment.

Quote of the Week

Calmness is the cradle of power.”

– J G Holland

 

All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

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