“It Can Wait” Mantra
Too much thinking can be toxic .. especially when our thinking is just a spinning wheel of negative and emotionally charged noise. In fact, it is the emotional charge behind most of our thinking that stirs us up .. tests our patience, increases our agitation and makes us more frustrated than we need to be.
We could be enjoying a day off with a friend, but in our mind, we have allowed ourselves to get caught up with work worries or family concerns, and it is this constant prodding that destabilizes our sense of self and floods us with anxiety. Not all thoughts, of course, are going to be ‘bad’ .. but when we are overrun with constant negative chatter we stop ourselves from truly relaxing and enjoying the moment.
This type of never-ending busyness-of-mind can also become a nasty habit
We might feel that we are not ‘performing’ unless we are constantly juggling, reminding, planning and ruminating .. so we keep touching base with all the many thoughts that cross our mind, and this inflated sense of urgency leaves us feeling edgy and anxious.
It is the ‘fight and flight response‘ (the one that protects us from the pack of hungry wolves .. accept I’ve never actually seen the wolf) that sends a flood of adrenaline and cortisol into our system, which further encourages our nerves to buzz and our to heart race. Over time this constant cycle of stress will weaken our immune systems and increasingly wears us down (physically and mentally).
Living on ‘red alert’ can also mean that we tend to overreact to the simplest of challenges, because our tired and overstimulated brain can’t focus quite as well as we need and we get irritated quickly, make poor decisions, and miss the beauty and what is actually happening in the moment.
But what if you just embraced the idea .. “IT CAN WAIT“
I first heard about this modern mantra from the teacher Bodhipaksa, a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, author and founder of Wildmind. I had pondered the practice but, until recently, not really embraced it in daily life.
But over the last few weeks, I have been extraordinarily busy. There have been (many) times when I felt like my mind was spinning out of control and time was making fun of me .. so I began to use the new mantra ~ with really excellent results.
A mantra is a single sound, feeling, object or thought, that can be repeated silently or aloud. I sometimes describe the practice as ‘words replace words’, and our chosen mantra can provide a powerful replacement for the noisy irrelevant chatter that often floods our mind space.
When our mind becomes overrun with competing and often irrelevant thoughts .. this simple mantra ‘it can wait’ can become a commanding instruction ~ put aside the unimportant, and refresh your focus on what is most important right now.
“It can wait”
I found this mantra to be a powerful friend in both my formal seated meditation practice and as a gentle mental reminder throughout the day.
When trying to finish an urgent article (trying not to stress about the lack of creative ideas and the glaring white page staring at me) .. I simply repeated “It can wait .. It can wait .. It can wait” .. gently and softly repeating the mantra until the worrisome thoughts abated, while I took a walk outside in the sunshine, and when I returned to my writing.
Racing around to complete tasks like trying to get to the Post Office, the Bank and school pick up before close of business, again lamenting about the perceived lack of time, the article still not finished, the negative speak that I wasn’t good enough or capable enough for it all .. I silently brought the mantra to mind .. while in the car and waiting, continuing to move forward, but no longer trapped by negativity and worrisome mind speak.
When in meditation, where there are always going to be distractions, rather than getting caught up with the worries of the day, you might try silently noting “It can wait”, and then kindly and gently return to your meditation.
“It can wait” gives us permission to put down our load of stuff and focus on what we are doing in the present moment. Let us remove the irrational sense of urgency that challenges us to do all, manage all, achieve all – and choose to breathe deeply, put aside the unnecessary worrying and take a breath.
This post is from our FREE Monday Meditation Musings newsletter designed to provide an inspirational and meditative kick-start to your week .. a little meditative nourishment!