Mod 5: Concepts for healing


We’re going to have one key focus here in Mod 5, and it’s a big one. So put on your thinking cap and do your best to track with me during some ideas I think will be really helpful.

Tapping into the Power of Now

I shamelessly stole that subhead from the 1997 book The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle, another one of the founders of the mindfulness movement. I referenced this book in Mod 1 when we first investigated mindfulness, and it’s very relevant as well to our subject matter in Mod 5. The Power of Now has been translated into 30 languages and sold in the millions of copies all over the world. The simple but rather mind-boggling concept of the Power of Now has changed more lives than I could guess.

Ekhart Tolle wrote his book after he was brought out of crippling perpetual anxiety and depression by a personal epiphany. That revelation, in a nutshell, was that the only real moment we experience is the present one. Both the past and the future exist for us only in thought: the past, in our memories and interpretations of them, the future in our fears, hopes and expectations. The past no longer exists and therefore has no effect on us. The future hasn’t happened yet so it’s anyone’s guess what it will be and we certainly can’t control it.

The present moment—the now—on the other hand, is real. The more we live in that moment, the more we can experience actual, real life, as opposed to phantoms of our past or imaginings of our future.

If you grasp this basic principle, it can totally change your perspective on the experience of your life.

The past and worries

First of all, it helps drive home the concept that your past experiences can be whatever you want to make of them. They no longer literally affect what is happening to you now. If you choose to let them dictate your reality or define who you are, it’s you—your ego—that is letting the past run your life.

Now you may be thinking, “But my experiences of the past have taught me what to expect from life. I learned hurtful and scary things that I know are going to happen again. My worries are happening to me right now.

Your worries, dear friend, are in your head, not in three dimensional space. They are, as we’ve learned, thoughts and not actual happenings.

Let’s say you were hit by a hammer once, and of course it really hurt. This memory of the blow haunts you, and you are worried you will be hit by a hammer again.

The thing to remember is this: your worries cannot pick up a hammer and hit you with it. They are simply your own imaginings that a hammer is going to come along and hit you in the future. If such a moment comes, and a hammer hitting you becomes “now” for you, you can deal with the blow then. That will be one hammer blow and one only, which is a heckuva lot better than letting yourself be beaten down by 100 pretend hammer blows plus that one real one.

Your ego wants to cling to your fear. Your ego believes that by thinking constantly of the hammer, you can make yourself better prepared to be hit. Which is, of course, illogical nonsense. Your ego also thinks that if you think about the hammer a lot, this may somehow ward off the blow. Which is superstitious nonsense. And who suffers more when hit with a hammer, someone who has mentally rehearsed the blow for days, or someone who has been living in the moment without concern about a hammer blow?

So you were hit by a hammer once. That was then, this is now.

It’s far better to view the past like you are looking at a photo album. Some of the photos are pretty to look at, others not so much, but they are all just photos. You can choose which ones you look at, and whether you view them as treasured memories or as lessons learned. When you reminisce or think about the past, it is completely up to you what power and influence you give it over you. Only your mind can make the memory of a hammer into a weapon.

The future and beliefs

While the past had real existence once, the future isn’t even determined yet, and therefore an even bigger waste of time to dwell on.

Narc victims, like people in general, may form vivid, detailed pictures of what the future holds. Dreaming, planning, and anticipating are all a necessary and helpful part of life. Like in the illustration of the hammer, the problem comes when the ego decides these visions of the future have tangible reality or some kind of impact on the present.

Narc victims can develop convictions certain positive things cannot possibly come to them in the future. These include self-esteem, financial security, friendship, healthy romantic love, trust, restored connections with family, peace of mind, etc. As the ego makes declarations about what the future will be, the result can most definitely follow that good old “self-fulfilling prophecy” principle.

Let’s say the worst happens and bad stuff truly is your future. In other words, let’s say that hammer is going to come and pound you on the head once a day for the rest of your life. Are you being hit on the head right now? Are you feeling the pain of that conk right now? NO. And in the future, there will be lots of times, the vast majority of time, when no hammer is anywhere near you.

Again, why spend all your time beating yourself every second with an imaginary hammer?

Again, it’s okay to do things like make plans, reasonably consider what your future may hold and conduct yourself in view of that (maybe buy a hardhat?), dream about what might happen if you make this choice or that, and anticipate happy events on the horizon. The point is, choose your attitude about the future in a way that serves the present. Because again, the present is all that’s actually happening to you.

How to live more in the now

It’s not really our nature to live in the now…that’s more the fortunate purview of the animals, who as far as we know have no imaginations so cannot be upset today because winter is coming in six months. But there are things you can do to practice being more mindful of the present moment.

You can start by giving these past few passages a reread, until you fully grasp the principles of the Power of Now. Like anything involving the fourth dimension (time), this can be a challenging idea to get your mind around. I highly recommend reading The Power of Now yourself or looking up some of Ekhart Tolle’s work online (you can start with his website at www.eckharttolle.com). The book can be challenging reading though, so if you find it hard to grasp, any writings in the field of mindfulness are really about the same basic principle.

The STOP and RAIN exercises, the Body Scan, and meditation in general are all ways to bring your mind back to the present moment and curb your brain’s tendency to run amuck with thoughts of the past and future. I’ll give you some more ideas in the upcoming Exercises section too.

Suffice it to say, the next time you feel something unpleasant come over you, a bad feeling or a distressing thought, it can help to simply say to yourself, “But what’s actually happening to me right now?” If you find a threat is actually present, then act. If it’s not, then take a deep breath, relax, and see if there isn’t something going on right now that actually happens to be pleasant!

Well, this was a lot of rather transcendent stuff. Time to take a break from this pretty heavy thinking and talk about some practical, easy Exercises that will bolster your sense of mental health and well-being!

Copyright © Lucy Rising