"I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one."
Mahatma Gandhi

Life for most of us becomes routine. We do what we do day after day and our level of stress becomes normal for us. Just as a loud noise will not startle us if its volume increases gradually, if our stress builds gradually, we may not even notice it. Tension, frustration, unresolved anger and feeling unempowered can grow in us so subtly that they may not reach our awareness.

We are vibrating beings. The breath rises and falls, our heart beats, blood pumps, muscles contract and relax, brain activity fires in wave patterns. As what we do and how we think becomes habit, we find ourselves breathing, thinking and pulsing at our own frequencies. With stress, our frequencies increase. We can find ourselves pulled taut and vibrating like a violin string. On guard and under pressure, we need a certain level of tension to carry on. If we are not alert enough, we drink caffeine or consume sugar to give us a lift. As if it were not enough to deal with our own lives, we read the newspaper and watch TV, filling our minds with crime, war and trauma, which further adds to our emotional tension. If we never intentionally calm ourselves, we run the risk of growing increasingly unhappy, becoming less effective in our activities and collecting aches, pains, and illnesses.

Seldom does the world of work and popular culture give us an experience of peace. We need to create peace and calm for ourselves. That’s why sometimes it is important to retreat to a quieter routine. Getting away from it all can remind us of how we can be when the pressure is off, of who we are in our natural condition.

To reduce your tension, create the intention to set aside quiet time when you can let your vibrations settle at a lower frequency. Here are some ideas for ways you can use that time. 

Arrange time for solitude.
Meditate, pray, sing, chant, dance, or walk.
Do a labyrinth walk.
Stretch your body.
Practice yoga, tai chi, or chi kung.
Go to an organized spiritual retreat.
Spend time at a spa.
Take a warm bubble bath by candlelight.
Get a massage.
Visit a monastery for a few days.
Get out into nature.
Feed some birds.
Go camping with the intention of not doing too much.
Take a break from the news.
Leave off the TV.
Read something pleasant, but not stimulating.
Reduce the amount of caffeine and sugar you consume.
Mindfully prepare simple, healthy food for yourself.
Meditatively create something.
Write in your journal.

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© 2004 Tom Barrett