How Mindfulness Manages the Mind

By not trying to quiet the mind, you quiet the mind.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

On my 26th birthday, I was admitted into the emergency room for tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate).

Five days later, as I laid on the emergency room table getting prepped for an electrophysiology study to rule out arrhythmia, I’ll admit my only thought was, “Why in the world would they play Wheel In The Sky by Journey?”

In case you need a refresher on the chorus…

Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’

I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow

Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’

Lights out.

I awoke to the nurse telling me I had a healthy heart.

I was released shortly thereafter without a diagnosis and with a lot of fear.

Clearly something was going on. An extremely intense time in the unknown.

It’s been over a decade since that event, and I can confidently say that what appeared to be a glitch in my heart turned out to be nothing more than anxiety. Triggered by a very active imagination.

A creative mind that just didn’t stop had finally taken its toll.

Even as a certified yoga teacher, who had studied and theoretically understood the mind-body connection, I didn’t really get the power of the mind until this unforeseen experience.

In retrospect, that less than fun adventure left me with a profound recognization of the undeniable connection between the mind and body.

Unfortunately, for 6 years, I didn’t have the tools to navigate it.

I was introduced to mindfulness while completing my behavior change and integrative health coaching studies at Duke Integrative Medicine. Mindfulness is the foundation of the program therefore I was required to complete a course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

I took to mindfulness right away. And the commitment to my practice, changed everything for me.

In time, I discovered that the very thing that served me, an active imagination, was also the thing that created a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

Anxiety that had the potential to paralyze me from reaching my potential.

While I felt great in a dance studio or on my yoga mat, what was I to do the other 23 hours of the day?

What was going to help me focus my mind so it would be productive and not destructive?

How could I direct it so that instead of writing mental screenplays, I could use that mental energy and write an actual screenplay?

Through acceptance and observation of my thoughts, I realized….

By not trying to quiet the mind, I was not only able to quiet it. I was able to focus and direct it.

As a result, facilitate it.

I was able to be more present. In everything, and with everyone.

Naturally, inner calm and physical well-being ensued.

Like Yogi Bhajan said, “A relaxed mind is a creative mind.”

What followed…

I could hear my instinct loud and clear.

So, everything that has needed to be created by me to date, has been created.

Except the unnecessary anxiety.