While I was in Spain recently, there were some massive storms down on the Costa del Sol and it created some equally massive waves crashing up on the beach, as well as a huge run-off of rain water from the hills down to the sea.
After selling our apartment last year, this time around I was staying in a penthouse on the 14th floor of an apartment block with a great view out towards Malaga and the coast. It was also a great vantage point to see the stormy waves crashing in and the sea spray floating across the town of Benalmadena like a fine mist. It was also easy to see how murky brown the sea was with all the sand being washed away. There was devastation along the paseo and many chiringuitas (Spanish restaurants on the beach) were flooded.
Just a few days before the waters had been a lovely blue-green and as still as a millpond.
It made me think that this is often like our own thinking. One moment we can be calm and have clarity of thought and the next we can get caught up in a raging thought-storm that can create havoc in our life. We can whip up a story inside of our mind and make it grow and grow like the thunderstorm clouds and before we know it, it rains heavily down onto us. This is mostly because from this state we make poor decisions.
Yet if we can take the time to still the mind and quieten the thought-storm, the mind will settle back down and soon will return to calmness. From this place we can gain clarity and tap into our own innate wisdom. This is likely to give us better quality decision making and a greater likelihood of success.
You don’t have to meditate or practice mindfulness in order to quieten the mind (although these things can definitely help). Awareness is key. Just recognising that you are allowing to create this thought-storm yourself is enough for you to also be able to stop and allow the mind to settle again.
So next time you are getting anxious or worried and running a story in your mind, stop for a moment, take a deep breath and allow your mind to settle. Going for a walk or doing some exercise can often help too. When the mind settles down again you will be able to see what is the truth in the situation and what is the next best step for you to take.