In his last novel Island, Aldous Huxley described a Pacific island where an ideal society had flourished over 120yrs.
The goal of this advanced society was to free each person rather than to enslave them. On this island of Pala there were specially trained mynah birds – whose function was to screech “Here and now! Here and now!” at random times throughout the day.
Unconscious thinking is described by Eckhart Tolle as the tendency of our psychological mind to reside in thinking about the past and/or worrying about the future. In his book The Power of Now he brilliantly describes unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are all caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.
I will admit that I fell victim to too much future thinking during covid lockdown. Consumed by fears for my new business, the disruption to my children’s education and the knock-on effect on their future, the future UK economy, massive debt etc. The result of this was that my sleep was disrupted, and I lost my usual passion for running and yoga. Instead, I discovered a new passion for chocolate (!) whilst I watched the news and scrolling through endless social media posts trying to make sense of the world. (The two media guaranteed to feed your fears and hold you in future thinking).
One morning on waking my first feeling was that I wanted to burst into tears. This rang an alarm bell for me as I would say I usually default toward an optimistic outlook. I had stopped doing the things that kept me moving (running and yoga) and my brain was stuck in future worries.
Within the chiropractic premise we understand that our body becomes subluxated and posturally distorted due to one of three stresses: physical, chemical and emotional stress. My emotional stress was determining my inactivity and directing my food choices. This can be a negative spiral that can be difficult to escape. When we are stuck emotionally or physically, we need to move; to change our internal physiology. My mantra became “Move your body, still your mind”.
I had to unstick my unconsciously negative future thinking. First step to change is becoming conscious of what you are habitually doing. Noticing when your mind has wondered into psychological future or past thinking (anxiety or depression) and gently reminding yourself to come back to the present.
Instead of the incessant pull of my phone into the dark abyss of twitter and Facebook I have returned to reading and listening to audiobooks. Re-gaining control of where my mind was wandering has landed me in a much better place and I barely flinched at the announcement of lockdown 3.0
Like having your own mynah bird randomly reminding you “Here and now! Here and now!”. Catch yourself when you are dwelling in psychological time and remind yourself to come back.
This is the reverse of sitting slumped at a laptop. Turn your feet out, your knees and hips open, rest the back of your hands on your knees, palms facing up, lift your chest and chin and breathe as described above. See photo of my daughter demonstrating in the photo below 🙂
Eckhart Tolle (1999) – The Power of Now, A.Huxley (1962) Island, A.Huxley (1992) The Divine Within
With love, Clare
Monday to Thursday
Sunday & Holidays
9A Cheam Road, Ewell, Epsom KT17 1SP
Our practice is next to the central car park in the Ewell village if you travel by car. And just a 10-minute wander from both train stations in Ewell.