The Tao Te Ching asks us:
"Can you go through your days
Holding fast to the Tao?
Releasing your tension
As you focus your breathing,
Can you relax like a child?
Can you clear your vision
And open yourself to life?"
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 10)
The harmony of Tao restores and renews us. Yet how rare it is to give our full attention to anything. Many of us spend our days in internal monologues of worry, anxiety, future plans, and self-criticism.
Positive psychology research has shown that that pausing to focus, even briefly, on the beauty of nature or the blessings in our lives can help dispel anxiety, enabling us to think more clearly, gain greater peace of mind and find greater meaning in our lives.[i] The Tao Te Ching reminds us to "release our tension" by "focusing on our breathing," to renew our energy through meditation. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation, taking slow, deep breaths can help relieve stress and restore our peace of mind.[ii]
There are many forms of meditation including mindfulness, walking meditation, focusing on our breathing, and reciting a mantram or a sacred text.
You can join me now to release tension and stress in one meditative moment:
- Breathe in slowly and deeply, focusing on your heart.
- Exhale slowly and deeply, releasing the tension in your body.
- As you feel your body relax, smile as you say to yourself, "I am peace."
You can practice this brief meditative moment in the midst of your busy days. Whenever you feel stressed, just breathe in peace, breathe out tension, and say to yourself, "I am peace."
I wish you joy on the path.
[i] Hurley, D. B., & Kwon, P. (2013). Savoring helps most when you have little: Interaction between savoring the moment and uplifts on positive affect and satisfaction with life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 1261-1271; Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrated framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15, 169-182.
[ii] Shapiro, S. L. & Carlson. (2009). The art and science of mindfulness. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association;Vago, D. R. & Silbersweig, D. A. (2012). Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-Art): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6, 1-30.