Defeat the Stress of Today's Challenges
By Paul Damon
When you and I turn on the television news each morning, we see the many worrying reports about the economy, wars and revolutions in the Middle East, rampant poverty and starvation in many places around the world, rioting on the streets of Greece, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and across Africa, and then the sickening cases of children being abused and missing teenagers and gangland killings, the rising cost of living, surging unemployment figures, and cases of political and corporate corruption.
Equally, when we turn on the radio in the car on our daily commutes, we hear more about those topics being discussed by the radio show presenters on many of the talk radio channels. If you are like me, then you may feel a tension in your stomach, a sickly feeling. I can't help but wonder, and often fear, where this is all leading.
On top of those reports, we are seeing more and more catastrophic news from across the globe as a result of violent natural forces. It seems as if the weather itself is undergoing violent changes across the planet. With the recent tornadoes taking many lives across the states, as well as catastrophic flooding in some areas while other areas are undergoing catastrophic drought, many people are having to contend with terrible conditions that they have never experienced before. Such disasters as hurricanes, powerful earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, also dominate the news regularly.
How is one supposed to find inner peace when not only our personal and working lives are so busy and stressful, but the very world around us seems to be undergoing tremendous upheavals on all levels?
I repeatedly notice whenever I am driving that the faces of the people in the cars around me appear sad, angry, troubled, even depressed, and I can't help but wonder about the many stories that could be written about the challenges they face in their own personal lives and situations.
While getting gas at the gas station, many times I have heard people complaining about about the rising gas prices. If we face the truth, we have so much to worry about, just in our own lives, but sometimes we cannot grasp the true seriousness of some of these global events that we see every day in the news.
So how on earth are we supposed to find a balance? How do we sometimes just stop, relax, and take some time to be at peace with ourselves? Is it even possible?
I have found that it is possible, even on the most stressful days, to find a level of inner peace to re-balance myself.
I am going to start with sleep, as an example to lead you into an understanding of how important it is to designate 'down-time' to give to yourself for inner peace, balance, and spiritual enlightenment.
In order to avoid serious physical disabilities and sickness, and indeed in order to stay alive, we all must sleep once at least every 24 hours. We are physiologically adapted to the cycle of day and night to allow for sleep. Many of us do not get enough sleep, as we are supposed to get a minimum of eight hours every night. It could be because of our work schedules, or tasks that steal time away for rest, it is something that a huge percentage of the global population do not do. Gradually, the sleep deficit will catch up with us, and affect our health and cognitive functions. Serious side effects will occur. We are simply designed to shut down once everyday. And it is just as well because our days seem to start earlier and earlier and then we are exhausted by the time the evening comes.
We are all aware of the benefits, and we are all aware of what happens if we avoid it. In effect sleep is nothing more than switching off of the conscious mind and the switching on of the subconscious mind. It is then that we enter the land of dreams, but our physical body undergoes many millions of processes in order to repair itself, and rejuvenate itself.
Just as sufficient sleep is vital to our existence, so is the daily need for 'down time'. I certainly do not mean the type of down time spent in front of the television, or out enjoying adult beverages with friends. This down time is so vital, that you should ideally incorporate it into your daily schedule out of automatic necessity. I am talking about a small pocket of dedicated time where you can isolate yourself to just sit down comfortably, and being to reflect on your day, and contemplate your need to feel free of stress and worries.
Let's go back to the importance of sleep for a few moments more.
How often do you find yourself waking up perfectly rested, with plenty of energy, and full of exciting enthusiasm for the day ahead? I can bet that it is not a common occurrence. But imagine if it could be that way every day, if you've got the right amount of sleep, deep, peaceful sleep, and when he woke up you fell tremendous.
Well, I'm glad to tell you that this is very possible. But not only that, I'm talking about waking up and feeling as if your very soul has been rejuvenated and you feel and in the excitement about life, even excited about meeting challenges head on that previously made you lose sleep.
I am going to relate to you how I am working every day to bring a peaceful balance between my spirit, my body, and all of those challenges that clamor my mind up for space so often. This is something you should try, but not as a passing gesture, rather something that you should work on each and every day.
Join with me on this empowering journey. One that will have you discovering aspects of yourself that you never knew existed. Find out those things that really make you tick, and explore your unexplored passions for life. Yes, this is much more than a way to relax, meditate, and find strength to fight those daily battles around you, but ultimately a method for you to discover who you REALLY are, and to pursue new adventures, new horizons, and grow in a spiritual way that will bring you so much joy.
The Challenge: Walk a Different Path - Step One
The most important part of this exercise is overcoming an immediate obstacle. That is to meet the challenge of being able to focus on emptying your mind.Now for some this might be an oxymoron, in other words, focusing a thought with the intent of emptying the mind in of itself will create random thoughts, as you stumble through the process of quietening your mind.
Just today I spoke with an old friend, and the topic of conversation became his blood pressure problems and medications. In the conversation, he told me that he felt anxious all the time, that he felt like he has so many problems, so many things to worry about, that his mind was for the most part in a fog. I identified this immediately as a level of stress I call 'background worry noise'. We humans have a tendency to catalog and label our worries and stresses into varying levels and priorities. Similar to a computer running applications with varying degrees of importance relative to the amount of processor (the brain of the computer) usage, some of these worries have a priority level, while the remaining worries sit in the background, periodically taking up redundant brain power. Those random worries usually pop into your mind when you are sat still, eating, sat at a traffic light, and those other moments where we find ourselves motionless, and waiting. It is as if our brains go into 'search for problem' mode, and we remember things that add to our worries.
That is a real key to understanding how to make the mind go quiet. To break apart the generic 'mountain of worries' into the individual problems themselves, identify them, file them away, and slowly dis-assemble that mountain. So, you see a process here. That is what you must understand. To bring peace to the mind in order to allow yourself to go inwards, and find new depths of inner peace, there is a sequence of processes that must occur within your mind, and indeed your soul.
You can actually prepare yourself for this, by taking a little time to write down those issues that are affecting you, those worries and stresses that are dominating your days. I advise you to do this right before you settle down for your 'chill-out time'. Write in numerical order of those items, the most stressful first. Now I understand that what maybe stressful to you, may seem insignificant to others. That is irrelevant. This list is for your eyes only. It is to help you prepare to empty your mind. You are writing them down to affirm that 'Yes, these are my worries'.
When you have completed that list, go through it a few times. Read it over. I want you to put a check mark next to every item that you have an immediate achievable solution for, and an X for everything you have no immediate solution for. I can guarantee with a lot of certainty that you will not have even one check mark. Correct? Just a lot of X marks. This is good. This is a major step in realization, and a revelation in many respects.
Step One Overview
In short, 99.9% of the things we worry about on a daily basis have no immediate achievable solution. They are things that will take time to resolve, anything from a day or two to years. However, we still lose tremendous energy, focus, and balance each day dedicating our brain's resources into just agonizing over those issues. Get them written down. The notepad or journal will serve as your 'new external hard drive' for those worry processes to be remembered. In Step Two we will look at disconnecting your mind from that external hard drive, so as to allow you to enter the next stage in achieving a new level in inner peace.
About the Author
|Paul Damon, Tao Dreams & Awakenings|
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