Easily said but not easily done, especially when you are pursuing a career, looking after a family, etc… and the main concern is how to fit more things in a day rather than slowing down. And yet nobody wants a headstone that reads, “I died because I was too busy and did not have enough time to enjoy myself”.
Enjoying ourselves does not necessarily involve going to parties, entertainment shows or expensive trips. How about enjoying this moment? Let’s admit that it is unique and cannot be reproduced again. So, in that sense, it is sacred, a treasure.
But how is it so difficult to enjoy the moment? Perhaps because it requires two ingredients, difficult to come by when we are in the middle of the action: stillness and silence. When our bodies and minds are racing it is very difficult to be mindful. We require a certain amount of quiet to become present. Let’s start with the body, much easier to control than the mind. In the middle of an activity can we stop once in a while and check where we are: here and now or miles away? where is our breath -inhaling, exhaling or in between? Can we take a couple of deep, aware breaths, disconnect briefly with the activity and connect with our center, our ground? We just have to find some tricks to remind ourselves to do this many times a day.
If we can take a few more minutes to “enjoy ourselves” we could go a little deeper and recall a special place. Bring it to the fore in your imagination and become one with the images, sounds and sensations it evokes. Make it very real and vivid. My special place is the island of Mallorca. I walk again in the mountains, smell the rosemary in bloom and fill my eyes with the blue of the sky and the turquoise of the coves. I sit on a sun-bathed rock and feel the salty humid breeze on my skin. I listen to the tinkling of bells far away… Now you know where I go to relax. I’m sure you have a special place too. Keep that place alive, cultivate it by going there frequently. Know that these secret places are as real to our minds as the actual physical ones. In a way we are tricking our minds without having to be physically there but the benefits on our nervous or immune systems are the same. These landscapes of our minds can be a beginning of meditation. The recall of the sweet sounds of nature are soft and soothing like mantras, and the visions, real or imagined, calming and peaceful.
Rest, relaxation and meditation are good for the mind but they are also extremely important for our health. Relaxation acts in a wholistic manner. It starts with the muscles but continues with the organs and the . Our heart beat slows down and the warrior hormones are replaced by the “feeling good” hormones. The central nervous system is the highway of the body that transports the messages of the brain back and forth to the different parts of the body. Some of the messages are autonomous and outside of our control but others are within our reach through relaxation and meditation. When we relax, the chatter of the day quiets down and the highway is cleared of traffic.
Rest, relaxation and meditation are always here waiting for us. They are free, simple and easy. So, take a break once in a while and, if you don’t have your own rock, I invite you to sit with me. It is large enough for all of us. But please be quiet.