Clear Water

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

January 19, 2023

In 2019, while reading Bessel van der Kolk’s, The Body Keeps the Score, I was introduced to the idea of  meditation to help regulate emotions. Specifically, Bessel says,

“If you want to manage your emotions better, your brain gives you two options: You can learn to regulate them from the top down or from the bottom up. Top-down regulation involves strengthening the capacity of the watchtower to monitor your body’s sensations. Mindfulness meditation and yoga can help with this.”

Since I had already practiced and enjoyed yoga, I figured I’d try meditation, too. Well, four years later and I’m a firm believer in the power meditation. So much so, that I’ve even taught my children the art. And the more I learn about psychology and development, the more I understand why it’s such a powerful practice.

Morning Meditation

While I wish I could meditate every morning, first thing in the morning, I’m also a mother so that’s not always attainable. But as meditation has taught me, I just have to let go of that expectation and do the best I can. Yesterday morning was a wonderful exception to the norm. I woke up at 6 a.m. with both of my children in my bed. I was sandwiched in the middle of them, grateful to get the extra snuggles. (One day, they will be older and potentially snuggle-adverse – so I’ll revel in it while I can.) I knew I wasn’t going to fall back to sleep, so I took advantage of the quiet and did a morning meditation on Insight Timer. And I heard a quote that was so simple, yet so profound. It’s from the Tao Te Ching, “Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”

Settle the Mud

The purpose of meditation is found in the quote. Calm the mind. Calm the body. Calm the soul. Live a more peaceful life. By waiting for the mud to settle, the solution can be found without involving the dysregulated emotions. If we make decisions while our water is muddy, we’re bound to make them impulsively. If there is an angry email in your inbox, don’t reply until you are calm. If you are feeling that your life is unstable, don’t make a huge decision until you are more balanced. And if you feel as though your water is muddy, find the peace and space to be patient. A resolution will always show itself.

Patience is more than a virtue. It’s a way to improve your life.