When I was asked to write this article on spirituality, I wasn’t sure where to begin.
I knew that if I could find some quiet time, something would come to mind.
However, it was a very stressful and “stormy” week in the office and where was I to find the time?
On Friday, we woke to a heavy snowfall. Although the snow was heavy and footing treacherous, I decided to walk.
About halfway to the office, an incredible sense of peace came over me. There is something about fresh snow that is calming. It was at this point my theme came to me; the calm amongst the storm. I knew when I arrived at the office, the storm would still be there.
I wondered as I continued to walk along how many people would stop and listen to the sounds of this quiet morning and appreciate its beauty. Or, would they simply be rushing off to work and grumbling because it had snowed and slowed their journey to work.
I also thought about those that weren’t rushing off to work and wondered if they would take time to enjoy the moment. It seems that in this day of timesaving devices we have no time. We have fast cars, speed dial, microwaves, even fast Boxed Dinners. All of this would be fine, if there was more time available to enjoy. We should have more time than anyone in history. But we don’t.
The Tao of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff in his book The Tao of Pooh has a wonderful chapter called Busy Backson that tells us the importance of taking time to enjoy our surroundings and appreciate being alive. I recommend the book to everyone to read.
How do we slow down our bodies, our minds, simplify our lives, and take time to feed our soul? It is necessary to feed the soul because it is the part that will always be there. It is the part that will not die; it is the part that moves on. This is what Wayne Dyer (author of many books on spirituality and a person that has greatly impacted my life) says is there when you look at your aging body in the mirror and think “that’s not me, I am not that old.”
Finding the Calm
We can begin by trying to make our lives less complex and finding techniques to relax the mind. There are many books that offer suggestions on simplifying our lives. I will concentrate in this piece on a way to slow the mind; a method to stop the chatter. It is said that the average person has over 60,000 thoughts per day and many of the same ones over and over again of which many are negative. One way to slow the mind is to focus on the breath.
A Simple Breathing Technique
Sit or lie in a comfortable position with the spine straight. Allow the eyes to look down. Begin with abdominal breathing. This is done by exhaling completely and allowing the inhalation to arise on its own. As this happens, the abdomen will rise. The breath should be long and slow and through the nose. There is a direct connection between the mind and the breath; the slower the breath the calmer the mind.
Continue as above, but add a pause following the exhalation. Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar, the foremost authority on yoga says,”if you know this secret there is no stress no strain at all.” During this time, attempt to keep the attention on the breath. When outside thoughts enter the mind, label them. Is this old chatter? If so, throw it away. Is this a negative thought? If so; throw it away. Is this a new creative thought? If so, put it on a shelf to use later. Keep returning the concentration to the breath no matter how many interruptions occur.
Finding 10 minutes of quiet time each day will bring many rewards. It will bring peace and improved health.