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  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee

The Battle Rages

That is the battle with negative thoughts. You might recall that in my last blog I was setting myself the challenge of attaining a peaceful mind through my understanding ofAHIMSA.

I knew I was in trouble when I started rationalising that thinking someone was a total ass was completely different to calling them one. I allowed a momentary wallow in superiority for appearing to master Ahimsa. But if reality has anything to do with my quest for eliminating the toxic thought habit I would have to at least acknowledge a failure when I saw one. Day One: fell off Ahimsa wagon!

It is so hard to battle the machinations of the human mind. And what’s more frightening is the number of times in a day that one’s brain goes immediately to the negative. Trying to manage a monkey mind that has its own idea of what penetrates the consciousness is exhausting and complicated.

So day one of my new mindfulness started well. I drove to work harmoniously and did not allow myself to internally chastise the two exasperating drivers who seemed blithely unaware of their disturbing behaviours. One doing 30 kilometres under the speed limit, the other seemed to think that driving on top of my back bumper would make the driver in front of me suddenly hit warp speed. I felt sandwiched between two persons who in my non-ahimsa phase might have generated some fairly intense thoughts. But it was only a two minute stretch of road; I could manage.

And that was the easy bit. In the course of the day anything and everything I learned about mindfulness and a smiling mind was spirited away by a succession of human challenges. People, I have found, in general, are not willing to do their bit to ensure my Zen-like composure! The week that followed almost had me giving in to the wave of cranky sods oblivious to my search for serenity. It seemed outrageous that no-one cared as much as I did about this.

And then the American election happened. Along with millions my head metaphorically exploded. How did Trumpty- Dumpty become president of the USA? In that awful moment of realisation that the least compassionate, the most inane and hardest to like candidate was elected by his fellow citizens. This was the turning point in my quest. And maybe not in the way you might think.

You might imagine that I gave up all together the challenge of wrangling negativity, both external and internal, but strangely the opposite occurred. It seems to me that in the face of turbulence and pessimism Ahimsa may be the only way forward. When the world gets that little bit crazier and nastier perhaps the thinkers and hopeful amongst us must not allow ourselves to be crushed. It is more important than ever that we strive to settle the uneasy mind that finds a both spoken and unspoken brutality appropriate. I did some pretty spectacular shouting at the TV during Trump’s victory speech, and shed real tears at Hillary’s defeat. Peace did not reign.

This, more than anything provided the greatest lesson. It’s not when I’m sitting in the calm and balmy conditions of the good life that Ahimsa has its place, it’s when faced with the storm, that more than ever, one must establish the peace. It is so easy to be filled with anger and bitterness; the words of criticism and malicious name-calling so readily trip off the tongue. It’s harder to find a generous thought in the face of fear, disappointment and hurt but it is what one should strive for. That’s the theory.

The practice, however, may yet be beyond my grasp. Perhaps starting with a benevolent thought about Donald Trump is too much for the novice! Maybe even too much for the mystics!

I’ll keep you informed of my progress. 

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