Finding the breath.
Looking back into the darkness, I remember my first objective was to still the mind. Alas, even on the sunniest of days, this is a formidable task. When the sky clouds over and the light becomes dim, seemingly impossible.
How then to still the agitated mind?
In yoga, I often tell my students that the breath mirrors the mind’s state. And, vice versa: when the mind begins to still, the breath becomes ever gentler. If the advice was good enough for a room full of students, why not for me?
With what little control I could muster, I began to regulate my agitated breathing pattern: long breath out, slow breath in. I felt an immediate change; until the ego/mind discovered what I was up to, after which, the dark fantasies became even more abhorrent. But I persevered. One step at a time. Breathe. watch the breath.
With effort, I soon achieved enough peace to notice there were two forces at work here: Peace and fear. Such an easy concept to decern in phases of sanity, but when fear’s raging, almost impossible to get a grip on the concept of two minds working at the same time.
That was my first clue that my fears were caused by thoughts in my mind, in the dark thoughts that were keeping me from seeing the truth of the situation. Immediate relief; if I could discern the workings of the brain, it proved I wasn’t my fear. I was that which was observing the mind. The relief was fragile for, I realized long ago, the ego is a formidable challenger able to know and bring up my worst possible case scenarios, land me in a reality of dismal thoughts with devastating outcomes, make it so real I continuously revert to the belief I am my ego, my fears, my mind.
My next objective: to get my sane Self, the silent observer, back in control.
By focusing my entire attention on the breathing. In the midst of fear and darkness, keeping my focus on the breath.
One day ended and I was still alive. I thought about throwing in my cards and ending it a couple of times, but also realized I had now found a way out. Ridiculously simple and difficult to keep in action, but once there’s a way, there’s hope.