How often have I heard this instruction in aeroplanes. However I only recently realized the wisdom that it contains… "In a case of cabin pressure loss…" In an acute situation of course it makes sense to secure your own breathing before helping your neighbors. But what about your own everyday life: Do you secure your own needs in order to provide space and recovery for yourself before you consider what people around you may need?
Supporting and assisting others is a wonderful thing that we should all cultivate. However many people practice providing for others through ignoring themselves and their own needs, letting others cross their boundaries without setting a clear statement. This is a widely spread phenomena. The Buddhist master Trungpa Rinpoche provocatively calls this „idiot compassion“. Even the Buddhist teachings that are known to emphasize compassion and understanding encourage every practitioner not to just blindly accept everything or to overwhelm yourself with friendly actions towards others, but rather to be careful and compassionate towards yourself until you have reached a certain level of inner strength and wisdom.
The air is getting thin -can you still breathe?
Many clients in my practice are surprised when they realize how much effort they put on monitoring the needs of their surrounding. Imagine how much energy and time goes wasted through that inner process. Imagine how much your own space shrinks in order to make space for the supposed needs of others.
Put on your own oxygen mask first…
Upon realizing that our main chore is to listen to and respect our own needs most people feel an enormous relief. This realization is a first step to freedom. This very important step of course needs to be followed by more steps of implementation.
Place the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally…
Listening more to your inner signals and needs, you will more easily notice when the air is getting too thin to breathe. You will hopefully intuitively know what you need in order to breath normally again. If you need assistance, just let me know. My mask is on most of the time.