CoSozo Living

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Wed, October 31, 2012
Regaining Sanity in a Busy World
“Stop the world and let me get off! I can’t take it—I need a break!”

And so it goes in this fast-paced world. From morning until night we’re on the go, rushing here and there, managing one responsibility after another—work, family, home, health, finances, finding a job, keeping a job, and so on. Month after month, the mighty momentum of life pulls us along like the force of a powerful undercurrent.

We do our best to keep up, but there’s rarely enough time or energy to navigate our way to the bottom of the endless To Do lists, not to mention relaxation, exercise or quiet time. As soon as the lawn mower is tucked away, it’s time to prep the snow blower. No sooner are the kids back in school, it’s time to stuff the turkey, hang the holly and ring in the New Year, only to start all over again!

We work long, busy days. We take care of parents and grandparents, children and grandchildren. The duties of life require a tremendous giving of ourselves, and all too often at the end of the day we are left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and defeated.

So how is it possible to find peace of mind when we are surrounded by a 24/7, multi-tasking mentality that is deeply embedded in today’s society? How can we enjoy life in the present moment when we’re worried about the future? Where can we find peace and tranquility when the world is such a busy place? More than likely, an extended stay at a remote tropical island or a quiet mountain resort is out of the question!

The truth is, we don’t have to go very far to live a life free from anxiety and stress—actually, we don’t have to go anywhere at all. It is possible to experience a vibrant, healthy, and joy-filled life while managing hectic schedules and daily routines—even while performing the most mundane tasks.

As contradictory as it might seem, the peace that we are looking for can be found within our everyday activities. In fact, this is where we must find it, for the world is the stage on which all of life takes place—the ups and the downs, the joys and the sorrows, the easy and the challenging.

The good news is, by practicing the following tools and incorporating them into our daily activities, we can access a quality of living that we might never have thought possible.

Meditate

It’s the natural tendency of the mind and senses to be drawn outward toward the world as we engage in life and all that it entails. Throughout the day, the mind and senses are pulled here and there, attracted, distracted, and absorbed in the vastness of creation.

While often enjoyable it can also be exhausting, and over time we feel frazzled, empty and out-of-sorts. We experience sensory overload and loss of energy; the mind becomes agitated and difficult to control; we become restless and unable to get good, sound, sleep; our patience, youthful spirit and sense of fulfillment slowly vanish; and we lose touch with our Self, the essence of our being, the ultimate source of joy and peace.

However, when the mind and senses are turned inward, even if just for a few minutes a day, stress and anxiety gently melt away, and a renewed sense of contentment and wholeness are restored.

Meditation is perhaps the most powerful tool for relaxing the body, mind, and senses. Find a time that works best for your schedule: morning, lunch break, after work or before bedtime for example. Sit quietly for 10-25 minutes in a comfortable, upright posture with your eyes closed and attention turned within.

Don’t try and force your mind to stop thinking—you won’t win! Just relax and lovingly guide your attention to your breathing (see below). Allow your whole being to become still and let your meditation naturally unfold from within.

Become Aware of Your Breathing

Our breath is the source of life and is always present in the moment. Therefore, it is one of the greatest tools for centering the mind, releasing tension, and staying calm and present. From time to time throughout the day, whether your eyes are open or closed, gently focus your attention on the natural process of your breathing, the in-breath and the out-breath.

While waiting for the computer to boot up, washing dishes, shopping, or any other appropriate activity, guide your focus to your breathing, and ride the wave of your breath. This peaceful interlude, regardless of how short or long it lasts, is very beneficial for health, happiness, and well-being.

Create a New Perspective

The tiniest shift in our attitude or outlook can generate a multitude of positive changes that ripple-out and influence every area of life. Even a slight adjustment in our approach can dramatically change our experience of day-to-day living.

Step out of your ‘same old way’ of being, thinking, listening, interpreting, etc., which comes from the past and is often stale, out-of-date and ineffective. Instead, create a fresh perspective, a new point-of-view. This can be practiced throughout the day to stay buoyant and free to be present in the moment.

Moderation

Moderation is the key to harmony and balance, for without it, there can be no peace of mind. Therefore, travel the middle path, not too much, not too little. In every area of life, practice moderation and simplicity—food, drink, TV, computer, phones, exercise, sleep, business, social, and all the many ways we expend our energy. Excess creates imbalance and is a hindrance to a stress-free, healthy life.

Create a Peaceful Environment

Enjoy a quiet reprieve and permeate your home with tranquillity. Bring peace into your living space by turning off computers, TVs, CDs, radios, cell phones, etc., and speak softly if at all, for 20-30 minutes on a regular basis.

For children and adults, this is a very simple way to unwind and de-stress, especially after a hectic day! A peaceful environment is beneficial during study or homework time, as it allows the mind to concentrate and focus.

Doing this before meals is very beneficial for digestion. Practicing this 30-60 minutes before bedtime helps ensure a good nights sleep.

Make these tools a habit and part of your daily routine. The perfect time to start is now. A little bit here, a little bit there, like pennies in a bank, it all adds up! Before you know it, you are solid, steady and peaceful from within, as the world goes on around you.

From the outside, perhaps nothing appears to be different, everything seems the same—same job, same kids, same spouse, same routine. But inside, there’s a noticeable difference, a transformation has occurred.

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