While in Baja doing some personal development and soul searching I developed an exercise to help manage fears in our daily lives. While walking along a beach that ran for miles with flat, hard-packed sand, I thought it would be interesting to see how many steps I could take without opening my eyes. I wanted to close my eyes because it was super bright, and I didn’t have sunglasses with me. What I found was that it was hard to reach my anticipated number of steps without panic and fear consuming me. Opening my eyes prior to goal could be caused by stepping on a pebble, the sounds from a larger set wave washing through or getting sea grass stuck in between my toes. There was not a single example of me tripping, stubbing my toe or any real danger. It was all perceived danger.
I think that having your eyes closed while walking will often be something that will cause your mind to race with fear. The more steps you take, the more you think you might be off course and run into something that might hurt. I found that the more your mind races, the more the mind will try to understand where it is, the more your body reacts, it starts pulling at your muscles and steers you off course. There was nothing pulling at you when you started and walked ten steps confidently, but after 100, it becomes more challenging after 200 or 300 steps.
Closing your eyes is analogous to having peace in your life. If you think about life and how it corresponds to peace, there are a million of things that can eject our mind out of the present, into the past or future of hurt or fear. Walking with your eyes closed is similar. We can set a realistic target, close our eyes and start walking. Having things in our lives that bring us out of the present and into hurt and fear start to nudge us off our intended outcomes in life. We soon let our mind control us by pulling up barriers and armor to protect from getting hurt by those around us. Most of this protection does not serve us and keeps us from being our authentic selves. These same racing thoughts lead to sickness, disease and living without joy.
Mental exercises like this are important because it illustrates how irrational your mind can be. I often opened my eyes and found nothing in my path changed, but the urge was so strong to open my eyes. The counter-intuitive part of this exercise is that the more we let go of those fears, the more naturally we walk. The more present we are, the more likely we are to remain on target and end up where we are want to be. This exercise is a micro example of our macro lives, and our lives are nothing more than a collection of thoughts and steps as we live our journey. Learning about how your thoughts work, can have a drastic effect on the outcomes of the reality we create.
This exercise can help find how the mind works and can apply it to daily living. Just being able to recognize similar thoughts and feelings that we will experience as we live will help to process how you handle them. It is all about taking that next step without fear. Just as with walking with your eyes closed, it gets easier as we build the confidence and the ability to set our target and reach it regardless if we might trip. We will meet our target, even if we trip and have to get up and keep stepping.