What Do You Do When You Feel Panic?
Does this happen to you?
I can be sitting still from a session of meditation and without prompting, a wave of panic will pass through me. At least it seems to come without prompting. Since I am sitting still, I can usually reflect enough to be able to identify the source of the panic.
It’s a thought.
Recently, I was thinking that I was grumpy and critical of my husband all weekend. And then, whoosh, panic descended. It came from the belly and spread through my body.
The whole experience came with memories too.
Specifically, the times when I thought my parents were so sad or weak or emotionally unstable, or just distant and so into themselves and their problems that they were incapable of taking care of me and my needs.
The panic back then, was in response to seeing my family situation as dangerous to me.
And the panic now, this weekend was in response to seeing my husband struggle with some of his issues.
At that moment, I saw him as not strong, nor reliable. I saw him as not being together enough to take care of me.
Rinse and repeat. It’s childhood all over again.
Except of course, it’s not true. It’s all made up in my mind.
My husband is amazingly emotionally resilient, kind, loving and always growing. More than anything, he is always there to support me.
And so my panic had no basis of truth in my current reality.
I couldn’t help but wonder, “is there anything I need to do about this?”
Panic is not a good feeling.
And then I remembered Matt Kahn.
Matt Kahn in his book Whatever Arises, Love That suggests to simply love whatever it is that is coming up within us. He doesn’t think we should go about trying to change it. Love love love is the correct response.
According to Matt and other spiritual teachers, it hardly matters what specifically caused the panic.
Now, I do like a good detective story, but knowing all this about my past and how my psyche works is really just another way of trying to be in control and trying to change or manipulate life’s events. Can you say dead end job!!!
Michael Singer, in The Untethered Soul refers to all of life’s events as the unfolding of the universe.
How much control do we really have over that? Have you tried to make the sunrise lately?
To continue: My panic was my response to life’s events unfolding. And I was resisting them.
Singer writes, “There really is no reason for tension or problems. Stress only happens when you resist life’s events.”
What can I say. Resistance is futile. (That’s for my Star Trek Buddies.)
But really, resistance is futile. Spiritual living is learning to allow life and to stop resisting it. From that stance, you are more able to deal with what is really happening, and not fighting with the resistance in your mind.
Michael’s practise that I’ve adopted is to relax and release. Breathe, and let the thoughts and feelings flow through me. Relax my shoulders, breathe into my belly and open my heart, open my heart, open my heart. You know, kind of like clicking your heels three times.
And let that panic pass on through.
I feel better already.
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