I took this photo years ago, with my girls, as we watched little kids feeding koi small pieces of bread. They were trying to lure the fish in close, so they could touch them, and they wisely used the bait to get them to swim close enough.
Although a fish taking the bait is a process of luring them with food, the same happens in our lives. We are lured in by our fears, our thoughts, other people's opinions, gossip and drama. Since we understand we cannot control our thoughts, and we certainly cannot control other people, we can choose to not take the bait.
Many years ago, when I was struggling with anxiety, I had no idea how to get myself out of the crippling thoughts that haunted me. These thoughts would fill my mind, and I would try endlessly to fight them, which caused even more adrenalin. The more I struggled to free myself, the worse the anxiety symptoms became. It was like pouring gasoline onto an already blazing fire. I was lost, sad and hopeless. I truly believed the rest of my life would be just battle after battle, trying to tame this monster, that consumed my every moment.
Then, one night, when my stomach was churning, and I felt the burning of another familiar panic attack coming on, I thought, let me try something different. I began an internal dialogue with myself. I reasoned, how about instead of fighting and fear, why don't I try acceptance and peace?
As I lay with my eyes open that evening, trying what was clearly counter intuitive to my survival skills, I let the panic wash over me, and did not react. The thoughts became stronger, and the physical symptoms more pronounced, trying their hardest to scare me into a reaction. I sat still, and just accepted them, as they crashed harder and harder upon my body and my mind. Then, this phrase popped into my mind "Don't take the bait". I smiled as this came forth, as I knew it was my new mantra. I learned not to take the bait of thoughts or physical symptoms.
I understood that all of the anxiety was just manifestations of stress, and as I let them be there, they would reduce. As days turned into weeks, and I used my new mantra, the panic faded, and I found myself no longer bound to the grips of flight or fight. Of course there were other steps I took to let go of it for good, but this was the pivotal moment, the moment I knew there was a way out of this misery.
I was able to apply this not to just anxiety; but to drama,opinions and gossip. I learned if I did not take the bait, I was happy; but when I did take the bait, I fell into the energy of the lower vibration.
When you learn to accept the fact that there will constantly be bait in your water, but that you have the ability to swim around it and not hook on, you have mastered your peace.