In this moment as you read these words, turn your awareness to your body.
Are your shoulders hunched up, your breathing shallow, your neck tense?
What else do you notice?
Develop your Awareness
It’s a fact that throughout the day your body experiences a continual flow of tensions. You only need to develop the simple skill of awareness for daily life to feel quite different.
Whether you feel anxious or angry, the body tenses up. The skill is to bring awareness to your breath and soften into the body’s tension. Let your muscles soften. Loosen and let go of the tense areas you discover.
This is what happens
- Pick up a pen and clutch it tightly in your hand. Notice how your hand becomes a fist and your fingers and knuckle are tense. Your fingernails may even be digging into your palms.
- Now turn your hand around so that your palm faces upwards and you open out your fingers.
- You can hold that same pen in the palm of your hand, yet this time there is the quality of softness . Simply let it sit on your hand without tension.
- Can you feel the difference?
This tight clasping of the pen is a metaphor for your life!
Each day feels tense and taught, as you find yourself struggling against time or fatigue, constantly attempting to stay strong. Much of what you experience are things you don’t enjoy and wish weren’t happening. It is tiring!
How about choosing to loosen up, go lightly and softly about your day? Allow yourself to be present with a sense of spaciousness and flexibility.
You can still do exactly the same tasks, yet with less tension mounting up. Just like your open hand supporting the pen, you can ‘hold’ experiences in your life lightly.
At birth all people are soft and yielding.
At death they are hard and stiff.
All green plants are tender and yielding.
At death they are brittle and dry.
When hard and rigid,
We consort with death.
When soft and flexible,
We affirm greater life.
Tao Te Ching 76
Soften your thinking
In a similar way you can let your thoughts be gentler. That tough inner critic of yours pushes you on like a bully. Notice what it feels like to stop the struggle. Are you willing to be gentler and kinder to yourself?
Let the language of your mind soften and be less critical. Allow more spaces between your thoughts and reactions.
Have a go! See how this can lead to a calmer response rather than a heated knee-jerk reaction.
And if there are parts of your day that you are not enjoying, stop resisting, wishing it was different. Soften your body, bring your awareness to your thoughts.
Notice how your stream of negativity adds more weight to your stressful tasks. Be good humoured with yourself rather than bad-tempered!
Remember, if you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you are in?
At Place of Serenity we develop this skill of awareness. Because ‘awareness’ is another term for ‘mindfulness’. A simple yet extremely effective tool for life.
Develop your inner strength and calm with Place of Serenity
The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
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