Imagine a time each day when all worries, anxieties and frustrations are put aside. How nice would it be if you could spend a few minutes with the basic, unconditioned, joyful essence of yourself? Now envision that state slowly expanding into all of your everyday activities, as this calmer mindset no longer reacts negatively to stressful triggers.
You can do this, because the only requirement for such a priceless state of being is setting aside some time every day, allowing the experience to unfold, and doing nothing but being receptive to the ethereal, eternal Source of all. You’ll begin to notice, appreciate and truly experience your connection to everyone and everything, with a depth of certainty that brings an inexplicable sense of peace and fulfillment.
Sounds too good to be true? Actually, it’s even better. You’ll feel a more expanded experience of life, just for the simple effort of devoting some time every day to practicing this deeper form of self-care.
We all take basic care of our bodies by eating food, drinking fluids, excreting wastes, and washing our skin of dead cells and dirt. Imagine not doing any of these everyday functions for an extended period of time, how our wellbeing, our life itself, would eventually be jeopardized. Think how awful our physical condition would become, and how repulsive we would look and smell.
While the physical needs are more obvious, our mental and emotional needs, although more subtle, require just as much attention and care everyday if we are to be fully healthy, whole, and content. These states are just as important as the physical, because when we become unbalanced we lose the ability to function optimally. Slowly, distorted thinking pollutes our mind as we slip into mental illness– depression, anxiety– without even realizing how bad we’ve become. Deprived of any joy with life, we hardly notice how much of these toxic emotions we’re dumping onto others (because, well, they’re the problem, not us…).
However, by allowing time each day to just “be” with ourselves and our breath, we align back into mental balance, finding it easier to let go of toxic emotional states by recognizing them for what they are, and therefore restoring our connection to Source, which heals and refreshes our entire being.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, we’re talking about the practice of meditation. This universal self-care and enhancement method has been utilized throughout time in almost all cultures and traditions in one form or another. Often we may experience meditative states of mind without even trying, moments where we stare off into space or close our eyes without thinking of anything in particular. After these brief periods of natural, thought-free experience, have you noticed that you’re just a bit more relaxed? Just like any mechanism, the mind shuts down and reboots when overloaded.
Sometimes, though, it doesn’t reboot when we keep pressing it with more and more to do. So why wait for a potential breakdown in order to give the mind a rest? We don’t treat our cars as badly as our own minds, by running them constantly without “rest” or regular maintenance. Think about this. Setting aside just a little time each day to enter a meditative state goes a long way towards keeping ourselves in balance, and allowing contentment to flow more easily into our lives.
Consistency is key: the only way to get better at something is to do it with regularity. It’s easy to say Oh, it would be great to feel less stressed, but if you don’t make the time to feel that way, then you might as well “wish” for a fifty-thousand-dollar raise!
What’s needed is time. The unseen Source cannot force healing upon you–it needs you to provide the space for this to happen. Then you’ll begin to feel more balance, emotional stability, insight and inspiration. No longer will you be the unwitting victim of an overloaded, stressed-out mind and nervous system. And even though this might seem like a no-brainer, it’s not prioritized or even encouraged by our ridiculously fast-paced, goaldriven, consumer-oriented society.
Imagine getting wounded. Your doctor tells you to rest for a period of time everyday in order to allow full healing to occur. Would you be surprised if that didn’t happen–or things got worse–because you pretty much ignored the advice? Many individuals who try meditating do the same thing. They give up after a few attempts when nothing improves, not following the route of consistency that leads to results. It takes time to learn how to quiet the mind, so that the Source can help us facilitate self-care.
Excerpted with permission from Conscious Contentment: Your Roadmap to a Life of Fulfillment. Available on amazon books in print and kindle versions: amazon.com/Conscious-Contentment-Your-Roadmap-Fulfillment-ebook/dp/B014AZ5YFG
Mario Starace, M.A. worked in the mental health field for over 30 years, under the umbrella of the N.Y. State Office of Mental Health. Presently his time is focused on writing, speaking and teaching how to utilize the holistic wellness approach to stress reduction known as “Conscious Contentment.” He has taught this approach as a course at both Queensborough and Kingsborough Community Colleges, of City University of New York. Mario published his first book in 2009, Spaces of Sanctuary: Discovering Peace & Contentment through Prose & Poetry.