Friday, May 21, 2010

Stress Relief

We spend much of our waking hours experiencing stress.

Our jobs, our families, our relationships all create obligations and expectations, and often we find that there is too little time to do everything that we think we need to do.

In this environment, it can seem preposterous to ask people to take time from their day to establish a meditative practice. If we are already too busy, where will we find the time?

One way to think about this might be to look at the ways that we spend our time now. Often, we want to escape stress. At the end of the day, we are exhausted. We might sit in front of the television, or eat ice cream, or have a glass of wine, as a way to escape for a moment. But these things all have the effect of delaying our stress rather than reducing it. (And a few glasses of wine might make the next day more stressful, not less.)

In meditation, we simply observe what we are experiencing in each moment. We are not trying to escape anything. We are embracing what is--whether that is blissful feelings of serenity, or frantic thoughts about a meeting we have the next day. In that embrace, we discover that what is actually happening is often not nearly as frightening as what we are thinking about it. We can see each thought and physical sensation as just that, rather than seeing them as defining us.

When we see that thoughts and sensations are creating much of our experience, we also see the beginning of a separation of whatever we see as "me" from those thoughts and sensations. And there is great peace in that. Some have called it the ultimate healing.

Can you find ten minutes a day to start healing? Can you give yourself that gift?


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