Inner Stillness in the Fast Lane

Whether we are raising children, working in a job, running a business, or retired, we cannot escape the fast pace, stress induced life that surrounds us. Life has lost its simplicity: I need three to five gadgets to work my TV; it takes six steps to download an ebook from the library; and I still do not know how to use my new cell phone. When we add busy schedules, medical appointments, whole food preparation, commuter traffic, and multi-tasking, we are off to the races. This kind of stressful lifestyle plays havoc on our health, sleep, well-being, relationships and soul. If we do not make inner stillness a priority in our lives, we pay a high price.

Looking back to my childhood, I remember opening the door to my Catholic church and being inundated by the silence and stillness of this sanctuary. Whether it was the mystery associated with Jesus Christ or the church environment itself, I do not know. The stillness spoke to me at a young age because it was a time out from the loud, high stress family in which I lived. Interestingly, my parents did not attend church so I could enter the inner quiet without parental intrusion. I walked or drove with relatives, and when old enough I attended myself. To this day, I crave the stillness and silence that replenish my soul and have found ways to make it happen on a daily basis.

I invite you to recharge your life with moments of inner stillness. Here are six easy-to-implement techniques that nurture your soul, nourish your body and quiet your mind:

Morning ritual: Before getting out of bed, connect with your inner stillness with a mantra or prayer as you set your intention for the day. Morning rituals depend on how much time you can give them. But, minutes work! Devotional reading, yoga, meditation, visualization, prayer, and more, can start your day with purpose and serenity.

Breathing techniques: You can manage stress and striving by doing breathing techniques that work for you. As you focus on your breath, your mind stops its incessant chatter and your body relaxes. For example, this is one technique you can do for 5 to 10 rounds: Inhale for four counts, hold for seven, and exhale through your mouth for eight. It takes a few minutes.

Yoga and meditation: Stretching and meditating accelerate the path to a quiet mind and still body. When it becomes a habit, you can accomplish this after only a few moments of stretching and focusing. As little as 20 minutes can start your day with a strong spiritual connection of inner quiet and effortless flow.

Visualization: Use the mind to take you on a journey that leads to your own sanctuary of inner peace. I like a particular temple of silence visualization that leads to a palpable, restorative silence. Media recordings abound with journeys into silence, stillness and inner peace. The more you use them, the easier it is to experience stillness quickly.

Mantra or chant: When the mind is focused on any of these three, it is not incessantly thinking. Being immersed in a focused repetitive thought, induces a trance like state that can lead to inner peace. The Catholic Rosary and “Om Mani Padme hum” chant lead to inner stillness if you do them with mindful awareness and experience the energy shift in your body.

Mindless activity: Immerse yourself in a task with present moment awareness. When your mind is open and relaxed (receptive), it is not striving toward a desired outcome. Instead, you are available to inner stillness, and your intuition can deliver creative insights or solutions to problems. Bathing, exercising, performing household tasks, or walking in nature are perfect times to be available to inner harmony and higher wisdom.

Inner stillness leads to improved well-being and physical health and provides a pathway to a Higher Power. The following benefits have been verified: tranquility, experiencing the divine, mental clarity, improved problem solving, insights, enhanced creativity, improved ability to learn, stress reduction, relaxed muscles, lower anxiety and pain, reduced heart rate, better digestion, and increased energy.

The key to making inner stillness become a part of your life is to have short, intermittent periods of inner quiet throughout your day. While you are living life to its fullest, it is possible to create moments of “down time” in just minutes. With little effort, you counter balance the fast lane with periods of rest and rejuvenation.

A sanctuary of inner peace await you if you will enter this sacred place. Your mind, body and soul will flourish, and your life will be filled with ease.

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