Modern daily life offers few opportunities for quiet reflection for most people. Mobile electronic devices allow us to be accessible and to interact with others 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year.
But without time to rest our minds, and to refresh and renew ourselves our lives get out of balance. When we are out of balance we become anxious, we have difficulty concentrating, and we can lose focus on the things that are truly important to us.
Creating time for quiet and reflection gives us an opportunity to step back from the daily grind to reflect on who we are and what we are trying to achieve.
I frequently create quiet time by breathing while I am waiting in line at the grocery store. I keep my eyes open and stand in an erect but relaxed and balanced posture while I take 3 long slow breaths.
It is an excellent use of waiting time. I have found retreating to my internal breathing sanctuary to be even more useful at the beginning of my day and at the end of the day.
Starting the day quietly for a few moments after awakening can serve as a block to the flood of “what I need to do today” thoughts that invade our consciousness when we first open our eyes in the morning. It can also serve as a peaceful prelude to sleep before going to bed at night as a way to let go of the day.
Retreating to your internal sanctuary only takes a few moments. No matter how busy or time-stretched you are there is still time to take a few deep breaths. It is easy to get caught up in rushing, doing and achieving, but what about your inner peace?
“I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” is the most frequent response that I hear when I talk with friends about the need for quiet. I’ve learned that while physically removing ourselves from sources of distraction and interference is not always possible it is possible to create an “internal sanctuary” that we can carry with us wherever we go.
We can create an internal sanctuary by taking a few moments each day to breathe. The secret to the success of breathing is for us to shift our awareness and attention from outside ourselves to inside by practicing the following steps:
· Sit quietly in a chair (or stand), close your eyes and take three slow deep breaths to rid our minds of thoughts and problems
· Don’t just breathe but feel your breathing
· Don’t think about the sensations, experience them. Become “physical”. Feel the sensation of the outward movement of your abdomen as you inhale slowly. Feel the coolness of the air entering your nostrils
· As you slowly exhale, truly let go. Release the tension in your neck and shoulders. Release the tension in your jaw and the back of your throat
· Practice repeating this exercise for 3 breaths and then remain quiet for ten seconds. Then slowly open your eyes and resume your activities refreshed
You will be amazed how a simple breathing exercise can quiet you internally, reduce tension and clear your mind.
The goal of this activity is to take a break from tension and stress. Tension tends to accumulate and build throughout the day as we live our lives. Taking a breathing break can interrupt the tension buildup and allow us a few moments of relaxation that can make a significant difference in our emotional state.
If you want to improve balance in your life, take a few quiet moments every day to visit your internal sanctuary that is always with you. It costs nothing but pays huge dividends in creating peace of mind and freedom from stress.