"Imagine a hot tub for the mind. That is what meditation is; it can bathe your mind in relaxing thoughts."
-- Eknath Easwaran
"Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes."
-- Etty Hillesum
There is a Buddhist practice of focusing on one body part throughout the day to bring you back to yourself. After all we are not a mind with a body we are a body with a mind. But too often the mind runs the show and when you are always thinking it is hard to ever truly be. The monkey mind is always on churning which leaves us little time to be present in the moment.
But it is this never resting mind that brings on stress. Stress is alleviated by the breaths in between the thoughts; the moments that we are actually showing up for our own life. I saw a car ad that stated, “I am not the sum of my errands.” But that is how we sum up our day; I went to the bank, picked up some groceries, swung by daycare, came home, cleaned the house and made dinner. This is a to-do list that doesn’t make one feel alive it makes one feel tired, stressed and ready for bed.
These things have to be done but how can we slow down the pace enough to be present while still getting the to-do list done? Have you noticed when you are rushing that it doesn’t really help? Try slowing down at the bank take time to smile at the teller and relax while they are working on your request.
At the store pick out something for yourself or smell a flower. Take a moment to focus on you and find something in the store that brings you a moment of joy. For me that is a Mocha Light Frappuccino. I slip my coffee decadence while I shop and with each delicious drop the stress melts away.
By the time I pick up my child I am renewed. Since this is when my day truly begins, I need to be fresh and ready for the ball of energy that is my son. Now is our time when I get to be alone with my little boy and he tells me all the wonderful things he learned or experienced and I have found a Mother’s bliss.
When we get home the cleaning and the dinner gets done because I am blessed enough to have a house and a family and both need tending. My whole view has changed and with a little help from my son everything is ready and on the table by the time Daddy gets home.
Did this all happen in a day? The resounding answer is, “No!” Bit by bit I told my husband I was trying something “new” and worked on changing the way I did things. When I used my mind all the time, everything seemed rushed and hurried and I was just happy for the day to be over. Now I can’t wait until my family gets home and I prolong going to bed as long as I can because I have this well of energy that fills up in me and allows me to do more by thinking less.
I guess it is like a new knitting pattern. You read the pattern and it is all mind. You work the pattern and refer back to it often but you aren’t really feeling it yet. Then you get to a moment when you know the pattern and you are knitting and confident and there is a flow, a rhythm to it all.
I’ve discovered that this flow, this feeling of serenity can be felt in everyday moments. There are things that I have done a thousand times before and yet I was putting all this thought into them. But now I enjoy the moment whether it be shopping or giving my child a bath because they are all the beautiful moments that make up my life and how I face them shapes me and who I am becoming.
Create a beautiful day!