It’s that time of year again when the holidays are over and life gets busy, your work load is picking up, kids are back at school, and autumn is beckoning.
So how best to maintain your peace amidst the chaos of making school lunches and nagging lazy teenagers; how to nurture your latent talent and connect to your true self amidst the rush hour traffic? How to deal with it all without losing your mind?
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that your state of mind is essential to the peaceful existence of others, as any stress or impatience will affect those nearest to you and make them just as irritable. And that’s at work as much as it is at home. Conversely, your peace and calm immediately reassures others that all is well.
So your biggest responsibility is to care for yourself first. This can appear selfish, especially in the light of making service a spiritual practice. But you can’t be of any use or do any real service if you’re coming from a stressed place, so respecting your own needs is actually the most unselfish thing you could do.
Become like a parrot by reminding yourself that 5-10 minutes of meditation a day can ease stress and give you the ground for greater acceptance, understanding and inner peace. While stress eats away at your sanity and sleep, creating fatigue, mistakes, burnout and breakdown, so meditation helps clear the mind and achieve greater perspective. It encourages mindfulness and awareness, which leads to greater coping capacity. It improves listening skills, which enhances communication. And it gives you the resource whereby you can be of genuine help to others.
Not bad for something that is free, takes little time, and leaves us feeling wonderful!
Almost everything we do in life is to achieve something: if we do this, then we will get that; if we do that, then this will happen. We’re not used to doing anything without a personal agenda. But in meditation we do it just to do it. There’s no ulterior purpose other than to be here, in the present, without trying to get anywhere or attain anything. If your purpose is to achieve a quiet mind then the trying itself can create tension and failure. Instead, you’re just with whatever is happening in the moment, no judgment, no right or wrong. If you’re thinking, then enjoy the thinking. Watching whatever arises and letting it go is all that’s required. It is more of an undoing than a doing.
Meditation has no set rules or structures. It simply asks that you pay attention, that you make friends with being quiet, with sitting still, with doing nothing. This is a space just for you to be with yourself, to remember your dreams and who you really are. In this quiet space you become your own best friend and, therefore, a better friend to all.