I didn’t go to work today. This was the third day this week when I stayed home. I am writing and answering e-mails, arranging a few things, but I don’t have any errand to take care personally or any meeting to attend, and I don’t feel like meeting people anyway, so I rather stay home. Besides, the temperature outside is extremely high, that convinces me even more not to leave the apartment.
I woke up early morning for a very long Monday. I meditated a bit, while my girlfriend was still sleeping next to me in the bed. I did my morning routine, I had a quick breakfast, then I left to the hospital where my father and my brother were waiting for me. There was snow on the streets everywhere, that had fallen during the night. I was already tense before leaving, even more during my way to the hospital. It usually comes and goes in waves, just like now. I tried to listen to the radio in my car, then I turned it off, because it disturbed me. Then I turned it back on, while time was passing, and I was sitting in the traffic jam. It took me an hour to get to the hospital. I wanted to arrive, but when I finally arrived, I felt I was unable to pull myself together to get out of the car and go inside.
I’m having these panic attacks sometimes, and meditation seems to teach me things that can be useful in those dark moments. The only thing is that most of the time I get so overwhelmed and frightened during a panic attack, that I lose sight of what to do and how to handle the situation in a mindful way. It is really not easy, even if I know I am in the middle of a panic attack, and I won’t die or something. It is still very scary and difficult, and I am also very confused about the right attitude.
I think I just found something important in my meditation practice. Kabat-Zinn had a metaphor in his book, that I really liked but then I completely forgot about it. He said that meditation is like sitting out to the banks of the river of our thoughts for a while, instead of flowing with the river. Just watching and listening to the river and its constant flow, without letting it carry us away. Whatever happens inside the river, it is nothing more than a thought, not the absolute truth. When we feel something, it is not more than just a feeling. When we think something, it is not more than a thought, generated by our mind. And it really is possible to look at thoughts as mere thoughts, feelings as mere feelings, just watching them, accepting them just the way they are, and not letting them have too much power on us.
Just like I realized it years ago, I am unable to honestly recall and experience feelings much after I experienced them. That’s why I think it is important to write them down when I am right in the middle of them, or at least as soon as possible. Because if I don’t do that, later I won’t be able to recall and describe them half as genuinly as before. On the other hand I have a strong tendency to forget or minimize them, just as if they weren’t serious at all. A totally hopeless and desperate situation can seem completely different and harmless to me the next day. Sometimes I can’t even take my own feelings seriously after one day, except if I am able to read my painful thoughts and feelings from the previous day. That’s why it is important for me to write of my thoughts as much as possible these days, because I feel like there are wars going on inside me, and I am going through the most important transformation of my life, day by day, week by week.