Archive for Suffering

Relaxing the mind: an every day holiday

The most peaceful moment in time is Now. No matter what is going through our heads, we can drop it all at any time, and rest in the Now. The way to do this is to simply be with the task at hand. When stressful, destructive, or upsetting thoughts arise, we release them, and return to whatever we are doing. In this way, resting the attention with an activity provides us with a holiday from our worries, and allows the mind to refresh and rejuvenate.

We all know that things are better after a good night’s sleep. The principle is that taking our mind off things makes us refreshed, relaxed, and able to deal with life positively. Resting the attention with an activity provides the same boost. If we have a fight with our partner and angry retorts and injustices are whirling around in our heads, a great thing to do is wash the dishes. As thoughts of the fight arise, we gently release them, and continue washing the dishes. Whatever issues that we had with our partner will still be there when we finish the dishes – we have plenty of time to deal with them. However, when we finish with the dishes, we may also find that some of those so-called important issues have faded away. Taking our mind off things for a while gives us a great deal more perspective, which almost always results in a more positive outlook.

We all have different activities that we find relaxing in life. Some of us like to go for a run. Others read a book. For some of us, the only time that we take our mind off things is in sleep, and even this may be plagued with dreams or insomnia. The good news is that with a little practice we can find almost anything relaxing. The trick is just to let the attention rest with it – whether it be leisure or work. Even the most unpleasant of tasks is refreshing when we do this.

Destructive emotions reside in the past and the future. When we feel sad or angry, it is not usually related to the task directly in front of us. Although it is definitely important to deal with issues in our life, and to give the mind time to wander and think creatively, it is also important that we can drop things when we choose to do so. During our morning shower, we may contemplate that fight with our partner, and think of how we would like things to be different. This is fine, but if such thoughts continue non-stop throughout the day, we quickly become worn out and irrational. Thinking must be controlled, and perspective must be maintained. The ability to drop thoughts and return to the present moment is one of the most important skills we can ever develop.

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