Except for that one thorn in my side, life is fine, right?
Why do I keep hanging onto that one thing that bugs me ?
There must be a good reason around here somewhere.
The “symptom imperative” is a term coined by Dr. John Sarno to describe the way our stress persistently finds an outlet in another new symptom. For instance a particular fear manifests as back pain. You resolve that pain, but soon you have pain in your foot, which may be that same fear or another one.
In other words, for as long as we are fussing over our life (as we do, me too), a new pain or symptom will pop up in our body.
Our human mindset says it’s imperative that we have a symptom.
Our attention keeps going toward what’s wrong, which builds tension (muscular tension, in Sarno’s terms).
Tension, resistance, and physical troubles.
If you are lucky enough to not have any sore spots in your body, you may find them in your mind or your heart. Anxiety, jitters, recurring anger, moodiness, depression.
You may uncover your own recurring negative theme according to your habit-of-mind.
For instance, my personality habit is perfectionism, and my attention keeps sticking to what’s messy, dirty, dysfunctional, sloppy, incorrect, wasteful, wrong, and I’m quietly angry about all that.
My dear friend has a habit of mind that draws her attention to what’s-missing, what was lost, what was never given, what is withheld from her.
Another friend focuses on injustice in the world (yes these are countless aggravations, as most aggravations are).
Yet another’s attention is on safety. Can we ever shore up every single thing to ever be safe enough? (Maybe not.)
Our mindset does make trouble for us.
But you don’t have to let this stuff run your life.
You can take charge of your mind, your emotions, your stress, your body symptoms.
The spotlight of our attention is the biggest tool we have.
Many of us don’t realize we can take charge of the spotlight of our attention.
The human condition is such that our attention automatically falls toward what we don’t like. Because we don’t like it. Because we are attached to things being a certain way for us. We want them to be just so.
We wear ourselves out with tension and stress because things are not the way we want them to be. We keep chewing on the same old bone.
The only relief is to let go of that bone. Take a step back.
When you drop the bone you might look up to find that 99% of your life is working well. But you’re wrecking the day by focusing on that unwanted 1%, or 10%, or 20%, whatever it may be.
Save yourself and let go of that bone.
You are the only one who can do this for you.
HOW to let go?
A simple meditation practice will help you
– let go
– take charge of your attention
– shift your mindset
– lighten up.
Meditation can be as easy as spending one minute a day to sit and breathe deeply while keeping your attention upon one focus. You could focus on the breath, or a candle, or the ticking of a clock.
The point is to focus.
Distraction and head-chatter will come up, but you return to your focus.
You are building the muscle of your attention.
You are strengthening your ability to maintain the spotlight of your attention.
You are soon to become peaceful, content, even happy.
Check out our many posts on How to Meditate:
Glide: Meditation 1
Glide 3 Meditation on Sound
Glide 5 Spacious Expansion
Deep Peace Forest Vortex Meditation
5 Places the Mind Goes – a Meditation
How to Meditate like a Boss in Bliss
(Thanks to pixabay for this candle image.)