Apart from creating temporal space, there is emotional space, by which I mean to be able to drop back into a spacious heart, the state of equanimity. This is the more important, the greater the emotional upsurge.
When we are in a rush, stop! Let it all subside.
Have you ever failed to hear the alarm and found yourself speed washing, gobbling breakfast, running to the bus stop or driving with hands clenched to the steering wheel? Even if you arrive in time for work, does that anxious rush career you through the day. Sometimes it is as if we have put ourselves on a roller coaster and don’t quite know how to get off.
This is where a shot of vipassana comes in most useful. Just finding those few minutes to sit down, close the eyes and let everything calm down. Even to others around, you can say, ‘I just need a few minutes to collect myself. To chill out!’
This had a great affect on me when I was working as a teacher. I would often find myself in the mode of rushing. Trying to get things done! I got in the habit of just stopping even if only for a moment. And I also found it useful to talk myself down.
Down to what? Equanimity which is stillness of the body, calmness of the heart, silence of the mind and an attitude of openness. From here we can bring in metta, some goodwill intention, and start again calmly.
Working with a persistent mental state.
When we stop the rushing and still ourselves, we often encounter a deeper mental state such as anxiety, boredom, depression and restless energy. These sorts of emotional states can hang around all day sometimes. For some people, they are virtually a constant. Here, is one way of handling them when we don’t have the time to do vipassana.
It is a case of putting them to the side. This is not the same as suppression, because suppression presumes negativity towards them. We simply ignore them because we don’t want to feel. But by putting them to one side, we are acknowledging them and intend to deal with them at a more appropriate time. In this way we don’t add aversion to the problem. Indeed, we can do this with kind gentleness as if bandaging a sore knee and yet we keep walking.
Then, of course, it is important to find a time in the day when you can work with them. And this is better as soon as you get home from work before you eat, even if only for twenty minutes.
Something to pin on the wall, place on the desk. Adjust according to personal experience.
One Job at a Time
Intend New Action
Make Dhamma Resolve
Steady Attention, Season with Care
Bring back Wandering Mind with Gentle Insistence
Let Reactions Subside
One Job Well Done!