Imagine it is a beautiful day and you are at the beach. As you look outwards at the vast ocean, you notice you are able to see far off into the distance, as far as your eyes can see. In front of you is an enormous ocean, and above it sits the limitless sky. You feel peaceful as you notice the vast and infinite expanse ahead of you.
Then as you are observing your vista, a flock of birds come into view. You take you attention away from the sky and instead start to focus on the birds. You ask yourself:
I wonder what kinds of birds these are? I wonder where they are coming from? I wonder where they are going? I wonder why they are alone?
All of a sudden you start to feel concerned they are the only birds in the sky, there must be something wrong!
Before you know it, you've stop feeling peaceful and now instead feel fear and worry.
What is the cause of your worry? The birds? Or your thinking about the birds?
The worry is the outcome of thinking.
When we shift our attention away from the vast openness that is the sky onto thinking about the birds (much of our thinking is driven by our unconscious survival strategies and judgemental bias), we feel the contents of our thoughts.
Did the sky disappear when we were looking at the birds?
No! We just moved our attention away from it.
Notice how a quick shift to observing the vast open sky, and staying focused on the sky, resets our nervous system to feel calm again?
When we feel stressed, anxious and worried, we can choose to let go of our thinking and return our awareness to the vast open consciousness our thinking happens in, and in doing so feel the fullness of who we are again.
Try it, and let me know how you get on!