Sometimes, when we are stressed or fearful, it can feel as though our thoughts are wrapping around and around themselves in the darkness. We will often rehearse the same thoughts over and over only further reinforcing the feeling of stuckness. We might know that we are doing it but we can’t get out of the pattern. It is as though we are trapped; perhaps as though our brains have become ‘root bound’!
The metaphor of being root bound can lead us to a helpful visualisation for breaking the cycle of negative thoughts:
Imagine being gently taken out of that situation that is keeping you stuck. Visualise being root bound before being gently loosened and then placed in a warm space and allowed to reach out into the fertile soil. In this new place, imagine being gently held and allowed to reach out in new directions. See yourself being nourished and growing tall, stable and strong.
For me, meditation offers this sense of freedom. Focusing on the breath frees the mind from continuing to perpetuate the endless train of thoughts. Coming back to being in the body is a constant reminder that we are not just a brain. Feeling into the sensations of the body can be like feeling into the warm soil: recognising that there is a much broader and more fertile terrain than just the shape of the pot or the suffocation of being ‘all in the mind’. In meditation, we recognise the thoughts as they arise but we don’t follow them as they go round and round in circles entrapping us. We constantly loosen and release.
By continuing to practise with gentleness and self-compassion we can find great nourishment, grow in new directions and develop much greater resilience allowing us to flourish whatever the weather!