The other night I was trying to go to sleep with my mind running circles around me. So many things to worry about these days with a lot happening beyond the usual routine and several emergency situations in flux. This particular night I was quite tired and my usual relaxation techniques weren’t doing the job. Then this came to my mind:
When I’m carrying really heavy shopping bags home from the store, I will stop every few blocks and put the bags down to rest for a minute. Then, when I’m ready, I pick them up and go on my way. So right now, my thoughts are just heavy bags that I’ve been carrying all day long. I can just set them down and go to sleep!
I was so tickled by this! For one, the recognition that thoughts/emotions can affect us as much in such a real way. Heavy states of mind are literally like giant bags we carry around with us all the time.Their effects can be so physical. The sheer weight of worry in the body… or how fear tightens and tenses our muscles… these states can overcome our whole being, our whole experience of life. But somehow personifying them as “bags of groceries” suddenly made my overwhelming thoughts manageable. I had the choice of what to do with them. I don’t have to lift all the things all the time! I could put them down, I could pick them up, I could go to sleep, I could choose. So, it was a fun, insightful moment for me.
In the bigger picture, I think it’s a beautiful way to approach of a meditation practice: as a moment of coming to rest… the time to catch my breath, recharge and gather my forces.