Instability is created when the mind is grasping and craving to be somewhere else. We’re unhappy, restless or bored with what’s happening right now, and so we crave to be somewhere other than the now moment. This creates powerful feelings that drive us to unsettle our situation, in an attempt to satisfy, our craving for stimulation. We go out for a drink; we crave the attention of others; we seek any stimulation just to satisfy our craving. We grasp at the next thing, constantly looking ahead, to what we might be doing next. If there’s nothing happening in every moment, we fear that we’re somehow, missing out. We’re never settled, thinking there’s always something better, or someone better to be with. This is instability. Horrible when seen for what it truly is.
There’s a lot to be said for being stable and living a stable life. Some might associate stable with boring, or worst still, normal. Also, we might need to experience a period of instability, before we begin to seek its opposite. In this vein, we could adopt the view, that it’s instability that has become what’s boring. When feelings of instability are a constant, eventually, we’ll tire of this.
Many of us actually seek to avoid routine. We see routine as monotonous, and the flat, neutral feelings associated, as hard to cope with. Some routine is useful. When we have certain things in life that are regular; timed to occur at regular intervals, we form stability. Meal times are an easy example of this. Some children are raised with no regular meal times and so miss this particular grounding of routine. We need a certain amount of routine. It is important.
Learning the art of meditation is a sure fire method of creating greater stability. As with anything to do with self-discipline, meditation takes strength of mind and persistence, before it becomes one of those positive habits. The ability to bring the mind back into the present moment, time and time again, helps to discipline the mind and steer it away from the craving and grasping, associated with instability. In its simplest form, that really is the nature of instability:
The mind craving to be in a state it has become accustomed to
Those of us who’ve grown up in an unstable and insecure environment become accustomed to this. The mind sees it as normal. For there to be quiet and stillness is suggestive of there being something wrong. The ‘quiet before the storm’ is an uncomfortable place for some children. For these unstable, insecure children, the quiet before the storm is often more frightening than the storm itself. As a result, it’s even more important for the unsettled adult, to remain in such a state (unsettled) because the quiet has become associated with anguish and fear. Therefore, the adult survivors of such an upbringing, can find meditation, particularly challenging.
Stability before the plan
As touched on in previous posts, meditation itself, can have an unsettling effect. When we’ve become accustomed to instability, and indeed this is the method we’ve employed to cope with difficult circumstances, meditation creates a change, the mind will initially fight against. Even so, we must find stability, and control over our impulsive nature, in order to form a coherent plan, to escape difficult circumstances.
Constant chaos and instability becomes a vicious cycle that’s difficult to escape. If the plan we’ve formed, is simply a reflection of a chaotic mind, it is bound to fail. So in this respect, learning how to still and settle the mind, before we begin to plan our escape, is a must.
Remember, by firstly understanding how we’re creating instability, we’re able to see what steps are needed, in order to find its opposite: Stability. A beautiful place to be.