Here, I’m going to use a natural analogy, to help explain the link between our experiences and our state of mind.
The ocean is a good example of a physical body that is affected and responds to pressure and the actions of others. Sometimes the impact of these pressures is hidden deep. Sometimes they can be seen and be experienced by others.
We are each a physical body, that is affected by and responds to events and behaviours of others and just like the sea, we can be perceived in different ways by different people.
A stormy sea, with huge crashing waves, is one person’s fear and another’s exhilaration.
A flat sea with rhythmic waves is one person’s calm and anther person’s boring.
There is no one reaction to anything. We each have our own unique reactions to everything we experience.
So what about events?
The sea is affected in very small ways by small events both externally; a bird diving from the sky for dinner and internally; the fin of a fish moving through the water. These might have a small impact on the sea as perceived from space, but could have a large impact on anything close by - the fish that is dinner, or the particle of algae moved in response to the fin.
The sea also experiences larger events both externally, from the air and wind, and internally from sea bed volcanic action. And of course, it is subject to the influence of the moon, imperceptible to the us humans, yet determining the rhythm of the ocean and regularity of its tidal pattern.
These can in some ways seem less obvious, yet their impact can contribute to the size of waves, the clarity of the water, and general turbulence of the sea state.
Likewise, we experience events, both internally and externally, both physiological and psychological which create a variety of reactions in us.
We experience small, almost unperceived events every day. Most incidents go unacknowledged unless we are focused on them in the moment they occur. All these incidents are relative. What I might describe here as small may for some be overwhelming. For example the smell of your dinner cooking, the sound of a vehicle passing your house, the feel of a rain drop on your face, the taste of the water you drink.
The events we experience internally and externally occur on different scales too. All of these influences have shaped us into the person we are today in some way big or small. Many have had an incredibly positive impact and are to be cherished. Others, likely very well intentioned, will have had a less beneficial impact on the person you are today.
And then there are the influences that originate from ‘further away’ still. Some of these are even less obvious, from sociological structures, religious concepts and other beliefs taught to be global truths. Again, many of these are positive, and are what enables a society to function as we know it, some less so and create a sense of what we ‘must’ and ‘should’ be doing, and can be handed down through generations.
As we are all different and respond differently, we all need different coping mechanisms.
In part two I will take you through a short exercise to help you find your own way to create your calm sea.