Last Saturday (7/17) was a usual morning. I turned on my laptop to check if there were any important messages before I went for a quick run. To my surprise, the monitor of my MacBook covered with lines that caused me not able to log in. I immediately went into a panic mode. After turning the machine on and off for several times, I knew it was hopeless. So, I started to search the Apple support website and YouTube via my phone. After checking different videos for about 30 minutes, I decided the only way to solve this was to bring the machine to the Apple Store. TODAY!!!!!!
At this moment, I can feel myself lose all the will power to go for a run. I sat there and thought to myself: “What can I do? There is nothing I can do to fix my MacBook at this moment.” I felt powerless. I decided to take a shower to calm down, and if not, I will meditate to see if I can calm my anxiety brain.
Thirty-minutes later, after thinking through all the backup plans and all the implications of losing the computer for a day or a week, I sat in my chair and tried to meditate but I can’t. So, I gave up and turn on the podcast. Today, I decided to check out the Getting Things Done (GTD) podcast.
In the podcast, Mr. Allen, the founder of the GTD was talking about the fundamental principle of GTD. He said:
“GTD is to pay attention to the behaviors that get us on the right track…… What makes for the better day than the others?”
I sat there and started to think about this morning. I realized that, as much as I went through some panic mode, I wasn’t completely lost it as I would be five years ago. Evidence? I started to focus on what I can do instead of staying the panic mode.
So, what’s different? What behaviors got me on the right track?
Five years ago, I would have completely lost my control over my emotions and started to pace around in the house. I remembered how I used to need to have all the control to have my day went as I planned. If anything went wrong, I would go into a panic mode and unable to calm me down.
So, what’s different?
The answers are meditation and forgiveness. Five years ago, I picked up meditation. I couldn’t get myself sit still in the very beginning. I started at 2 minutes a day and those 2 minutes would feel like the two years. Now, I can sit for about 20 minutes every time.
If my brain is like a car, the thought would be the gas and the meditation would be the break. Every single minute, my brain keeps pumping the gas with processing all the thoughts. After a while, my brain is like a car on the freeway racing like 500miles/hour. On the other hand, those 5-20 minutes meditation provides a break. It gives my brain a break and allows the car to slow down for a break.
Another way to think about meditation to me is like turning off the computer so that the processor and the memory of the computer don’t keep running.
By doing so, I can think more clearly in these unexpected situations.
An unexpected “side effect” of the meditation is the development of the “forgiveness” or “compassion.” Somehow, as my brain slows down, I seem to develop a sense of forgiveness to myself and people around me. In the situation like last Saturday, I would have cursed and blamed myself the entire time until everything is resolved. (In this case, it would be an entire week!) I would run through everything over and over again in my mind to try to find out how I caused the situation and how I can solve it to move on with my life.
However, last Saturday morning, after making the decision to go to the Apple Store that afternoon, I went to work and took care of everything as usual. When I learned from the Apple Store that I won’t have my computer for a week, I took the news well and drove away to try to find a computer where I can use for the coming week.
I went to a rent center, hoping that I can rent a laptop for a week but not able to. So, I drove away and told myself that I would come up something later.
I wasn’t upset or panic. I just let it go.
I went to my friend’s house for our usual Saturday afternoon get-together. To my surprise, my friend landed me her laptop for the week. On the way home, I thought to myself: “everything worked out in the end!”
So, to my surprise, I realized that the meditation not only brings out the forgiveness and compassion but also the ability to let the emotions go to find a better solution.
Next time, when you are in an unexpected situation like mine, try this:
Take a deep breath!
Say to yourself:
It’s an accident.
It’s going to be OK.
Everything works out in the end (even though the outcome is not exactly the way I want).
I am fine.
Take another deep breath. Yes, you are OK.