Although we get carried away with our thoughts and emotions, our own stories in our head, the good news is that we do have the potential for change. We all, whatever our background, whatever our previous experiences, have the same potential. Sometimes the stories seem to be so real that we get stressed, lose sleep and feel we’ve lost control of our lives. According to Aaron T Beck, the founder of cognitive therapy, when we have a strong outburst of emotion, such as anger, we mask reality by up to 90%.
Shamatha meditation, as we have been practising every week, calms our mind and so helps to bring us some stability. And once our mind becomes calm, it also becomes clearer and begins to see more reality and is less swept up by our stories. Slowly we start to have a little more control of our mind, then it becomes more flexible, so that when we want it to settle, it will settle. In this way we might stop worrying quite so much because as Shantideva said ‘ If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?’