Variety

Get a mess-free life

BHARAT SAVUR | Updated on: Jul 08, 2011

LF08_FITNESS

When you take a vacation, you let the mess sort itself out through your inactivity!

Mess causes stress. So, if your personal and professional life is messed up, that is, you're always tired, tense, uneasy, crabby, getting neckaches, headaches, frequent fever, or are unwilling to set off to work, please take a break.

The vacation is not to actively sort out the mess but to let the mess sort itself out through your inactivity. Strange as this may sound, it is sound and practical. Mark my words — wars, epidemics, crimes, pollution, violence, corruption are messes caused by excess activity. If despots, criminals, terrorists took regular vacations, there would be less violence. A study by Post Office Travel Insurance in the UK concludes that working people need six vacations a year — one every two months to prevent aches, pains, insomnia, depression, anxiety attacks, aggressive outbursts and withdrawal spells.

The recipe for peace, goodwill, authenticity and good health is complete relaxation. When the brain is disengaged from mundane routine matters, it shifts to a higher gear. It's like ascending the Himalayas to breathe in purer, rarefied air. The old stress-causing thinking patterns blur in this beautiful undemanding restfulness. In this serenity, the brain slips into a subtler realm where it can play with other aspects of life — like fun, love, non-work. Here, intuition smiles, sparks of latent genius flash and you're filled with a great resolve to do something new and fresh, something that turns on your light. It could be anything — to learn to play the guitar, take a course in conversational French, train your voice to sing and soar under a guru's guidance, hold story-telling Sunday sessions for kids. The world's an oyster for you to deposit several personalised pearls in. Meanwhile, before returning to normal working life, practise living in the slow lane where tortoises tread. Do things slowly, gently. Eat leisurely, relishing every morsel. Walk unhurriedly, admiring the scenic surroundings. Daydream endlessly. Carry this peace back to your everyday life. In a traffic jam, gaze tranquilly at the sunlight dancing on the metal. Enjoy every moment as if it is unique, every slice of life as if it is the smile of a child, so that the mind learns to pause, be at ease, remain calm and feel uplifted.

Of course, it won't be long before the mind frets, feels bored and urges a return to busyness. The nature of an untrained mind is to be restlessly on the move all the time. “So what if your back hurts or you're tired?” it pouts. “Swallow a pill and get back on the road.” Tell your mind soothingly, “I understand what you're saying. But I want to lead a better, fitter, healthier, fuller life. I want to breathe deeply and be fully alive in the present. I want to walk with my spine straight and shoulders squared. I want to work with a song in my heart, eat with hunger and receive gratefully the energy from the food. I want to exercise so that every joint becomes flexible, every muscle strong and able. I want to express myself creatively as my contribution to beautifying our world. So, please understand: I don't want to be static, I want to be ecstatic.”

When you capture the mind's imagination, you can't find a better ally, a more enthusiastic collaborator. Give the mind a wish and it just shrugs indifferently, but give it vision and it leaps from darkness to light like a blazing meteor.

A secret I've learned from the sages is: the mind loves habits. Use this knowledge to wisely establish positive habits: Exercise daily, meditate and eat at fixed times. Always include fresh fruits, raw vegetables in your meal plans. Breathe consciously every hour, then affirm, “I am relaxed, healthy and happy. Life is beautiful!” Soon, you'll discover that you'll be subtly compelled to exercise and meditate. If you don't have salad, you'll feel something important is missing. This is your mind at its supportive best.

Remember the brilliant idea that flashed across your mind during your vacation? Make that inner calling your focal point of each day. Start by dabbling in it. Commit to it. Let it intrigue you, draw you into itself, give you joy, feel absolutely right and give meaning to your life.

A focused purpose transfused with the joy in following it, keeps you deeply relaxed, mobile, motivated, meditative, supple, ageless. The brain releases powerful chemicals that convert stress into bliss and the immune system unleashes invincible infection-fighting compounds. You want to be strong and healthy at a deep level to follow your bliss. And if you're on medication, even the pills seem to imbibe your magic and work miracles inside you.

Once you find your purpose, your passion, the unimportant things fade out of your consciousness — those meaningless rituals, inconvenient routes, draining routines, pointless actions that freaked you out, tedious socialising that exhausted you, putting up with negative people, doing stuff dumped on you — you're just not into them anymore. And a whole new vibrant life, a whole new world with promise beckons.

That mess was not really a mess but a message… for a great, illuminating, awesome self-transformation.

The writer is co-author of the book ‘Fitness for Life'.

Published on July 07, 2011
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