It’s no wonder most of us live lives of quiet desperation. The media feature stories on the war on terror, impending threats to Medicare and Social Security, violence at home and abroad and, now, an impending economic recession that threatens to impact the lives of millions of Americans.
The price we pay is stress within our bodies and minds that, if left unchecked, can send us to doctors, theapists and our local pharmacy seeking relief from the physical and psychological tension we carry with us throughout the day.
Most of us know about the dangers of stress; it’s a frequent topic in the health sections of our newspapers and magazines. But how many of us are actually able to deal with stress in our lives? Tara Brach, a therapist and meditation teacher, offers a winderful tool for finding peace and calm in the midst of the chaos of our lives. She calls it “the sacred pause.”
The sacred pause is a way of stepping off the treadmill and resting in the present moment. It’s especially useful when we find ourselves caught up in regret for the past, worry about the future, grasping for desired results, or pushing away reality’s unwanted gifts. We can take a sacred pause whenever and wherever we find ourselves.
To create you own sacred pause:
1. Choose a time when you are caught up in a result-driven activity: cleaning, paying bills, working on an important report.
2. Stop what you are doing, sit with a relaxed yet alert posture and close your eyes.
3. Take several deep breaths and “tune in” to the quality and duration of your in-breath and out-breath.
4. Notice what you experience as you live within the pause. What sensations, feelings, thoughts arise in your body…in your mind? Do you experience boredom, restlessness, or some other quality that tries to pull you back into activity? Just sit and notice without judgment.
5. Gently allow yourself to be with whatever is happening in this sacred pause.
For the next month, try out this simple yet effective process at various points in your day: upon arising, while at work, before you drift into sleep at night.
Try this approach and observe what happens. Feel free to share your responses. I would love to hear from you.