I have too much to do! My boss is so demanding! My mother-in-law always needs my help! I have so many meetings / orders to be filled / classes to teach / deliveries to be made...the list is endless. But in the midst of everything that is being asked of you, what happens to you?
Do you get burnt out, resentful or irritated? Do you get stressed? Do you lose your temper? Does the quality of care that you offer become affected by that inner tension? Or are you so used to being like this that it seems impossible to imagine being any other way?
Many of us have a difficult time saying no. Do you feel that if you don't help someone that they will reject you? That by saying yes it makes you a 'good' person? Do you feel validated by being needed?
It's easy to feel that any time you take to relax or meditate is time that could be better used 'doing' something. But taking time out doesn't mean it is selfish or even wasted time. Because, by lowering your blood pressure and releasing stress, you are immediately creating a more harmonious environment with a greater ease and peace that can only benefit all those around you.
When you take time out to be quiet it means you don't get so angry, resentful, or frustrated. Then, what you share with others is coming from that peaceful place. When you are feeling good you will be able to do far more than if you are dragging yourself through your day in a bad mood.
So, rather than being selfish, such activity is actually the least selfish thing you could do! This is when saying no to others means you are saying yes to yourself, which is ultimately of even greater benefit to the very ones you were saying no to!
No one can make time. No one can change our habits or routine. For relaxation and meditation to have any effect we need to honor ourselves by doing it. This is actually a commitment to our own sanity and freedom, as we will find a far deeper joy and happiness. We can change the way we look, where we live, even who we live with, but unless we connect with who we are inside then external changes will make little difference.
Entering into the Quiet
A stressed mind sees life as a burden or constraint, while a relaxed mind meets life with dignity and compassion. Taking time to relax or meditate is not the same as going for a walk or quietly listening to music. These are wonderfully relaxing activities, but they don't have the same effect as simply being still. Even just ten minutes of stillness a day can achieve enormous change, which will help all those around us as much as it does ourselves. Others will find it easier to communicate with us, will enjoy being with us, and will even be motivated to help themselves more. As peace is contagious, let's start an epidemic!
Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Eyes are closed; breathe normally. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale... exhale... count one; inhale... exhale... two; inhale... exhale... three. Count to five, then start at one again. Just five breaths and back to one. Simply following each breath in and silently counting. So simple.
Ed & Deb are hosts of Going Out Of Your Mind radio on VividLife.me. They are the authors of the bestselling book, Be The Change. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com