Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self. – Russell Simmons
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. – Dalai Lama
Last night I had the most amazing dream. I dreamt that I was breathing underwater. I was about 20 feet under water. I remember the water being very clear, and I could see the surface of the water. While I was floating, I saw two other human beings. They were floating near each other while I was floating away from them. I was so excited that I could breathe under water! While I was breathing, one of the human beings told me that I would die if I continue to breathe the water. I didn’t listen to the human, and slowly a bright light started to descend into the water. It was a beautiful white light. As it saturated the water, I realized I was dying, and I woke up from the dream.
So what does this dream mean? According to gotohoroscope.com: To dream that you can breathe underwater also shows that you have obtained complete mastery over your emotions. Many times in dreams the sea or the ocean or any body of water will be representative of your emotional state. When you are on a boat, you are showing that you have the ability to navigate through all of your complex emotional responses. However, when you are swimming in the water and don’t even need a boat, then this suggests that you have an even greater mastery than could have previously been seen. You are extremely in touch with yourself. (See more at: http://www.gotohoroscope.com/txt/dream-dictionary-breathing-underwater.html).
I agree with the above statement. I feel like I am in touch with myself and my emotions. I can experience my emotions, and then let them go. In the past, I was so judgmental about my emotions. In my mind, I think I should have felt this way….or I should not have shown a particular emotion to someone. Now I realize at that moment; I felt that way. I am responsible for my feelings. Therefore, if I didn’t hurt anyone, I can let them go.
I like the quote from, Awaken Joy, by James Baraz: “I’ve see the Dalai Lama get very serious, even cry, upon hearing about a tragedy and then, as the subject changes, laugh a few minutes later. His complete openness to the sorrows of the world lets him also be touched by delight, goodness, and joy when these arise.”
I was glad to read that even the Dalai Lama will cry sometimes. The Dalai Lama is fluid with his emotions; without being attached to them. He is present moment by moment.
Here is a mindful approach to working with difficult emotions (taken from Awakening Joy, by James Baraz):
RAIN -When you are in the midst of a strong emotion, take a few moments to try this approach:
- Recognize what you are feeling and name it (label it). Anger, fear, sadness, confusion?
- Allow the feelings to be present, without pushing them away and without getting lost in them.
- Investigate the feelings in your body and mind. Where in your body do you feel it? How does it feel in your mind – heavy, tight, open, agitated?
- Non-identification is the key to freeing yourself from the emotion’s grip. What you are feeling is a human emotion that arises and passes away. It does not define who you are.
Two days ago, I got into a car accident. It’s been 14 years since my last car accident, before this one. I was on a highway heading home. It was Sunday evening, and there was a bit of traffic. I was behind a black mini-van. The light turned red, and the mini-van in front of me slammed on its brakes. I slammed on my brakes too, but I was too close. I bumped into the back of the van. My bumper, hood, and grill are damaged, and I dented the hatchback door of the mini-van. Thankfully, all passengers are fine.
After this accident, I reflected on mindfulness. Sunday morning, before my car accident, I was in my meditation group, and our monk talked about his driving lessons, and he said the instructor told him, “You must drive mindfully.” Now I wince silently. I did not drive mindfully. To be honest, I was looking at my cell phone just before the accident happened. I know, I know. I should not look at my phone while driving! I tell my kids this! Now I am living with a consequence of my actions.
I know accidents happen. I forgive myself for not driving carefully, and I will be more mindful when I drive (with my cell phone turned off). I realize when I am not a careful driver, I put myself and others in danger. However, I am proud of myself because I remained calm during and after the accident. In the past, I would have been emotionally upset and crying. I think my daily meditation is helping me remain calm in stressful situations.
My new mindfulness vision while driving: When I get in the car, I will turn off my cell phone (unless I use my phone for directions). I will turn my music on low. I will keep my eyes on the road, and I will be watchful for cars, people, animals, and objects. I will slow down. I will keep my mind on the road (no autopilot driving).
PLEASE DRIVE SAFE!
Your body knows the doorways to be opened – it’s a pure vehicle of transformation. – Llyn Roberts
I feel a little stressed out lately. I think my stress and anxiety comes from a combination of starting a new school semester, grieving the death of my father and two good friends, and worldly events. I had a few sleepless nights and a few panic attacks. I knew I had to get myself back on track. The best way to reduce stress is through self-care.
My self-care includes slowing down, staying home and resting, taking a bath, eating well, taking the time to reflect, getting a massage, listening to a relaxing podcast, meditating, doing yoga, walking my dog, and spending time with good friends.
Here are a few more tips for reducing stress (taken from Ridgeview Medical Center, Home Care and Hospice, Minnesota):
- Stress reduction in five minutes. Mediation, deep breathing, and yoga increases oxygen, moves your body, and focuses your mind. Just take 5 minutes twice a day (morning and evening) to do yoga and meditation. Studies show that this lowers blood pressure, releases healing hormones into your body, increases creativity, increases productivity, and increases your ability to handle stressful situations.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. Walk your dog, walk at lunch, or set a treadmill up in your living room so you can exercise and watch your favorite show while you give your body life. Discover new exercises such as Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong. Death rates from all causes, including heart disease and cancer, are much lower in people exercising 30 minutes a day. Exercise lowers the risk of strokes, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
- Laugh as often as possible to release healing hormones such as endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Do not buy pills for your stress. Rent a funny movie or go online to a humorous site daily. Laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and boosts your immune function.
- Play and re-establish “child-like” qualities. Science tells us when we play; it increases our immune cells that combat disease. Playfulness also increases creativity and optimism at home and work.
- Pay attention. When we daily pay attention and learn to live a life of awareness and mindfulness, we become aware or our emotions, our choices, our relationships, our home life, our work, we can begin to live a rich life of awareness. Practicing mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression.
- Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters are healthier and live longer than non-breakfast eaters. Research has shown that people who live to the age of 100 were consistent breakfast eaters or they consumed breakfast more frequently than non-breakfast eaters. People who eat breakfast consumed less fat and had a higher intake of essential vitamins and minerals, and lower serum cholesterol, which leads to a lower instance of heart disease.
- Get a pet. Studies reveal there are benefits of owning a pet, such as reduction of blood pressure and inducing a relaxation response in our bodies. Pets are emotional lifesavers, they help people experience intimacy and help with changes and loss in our lives.
- Create Friendships. Friendships are strong indicators of mental, physical and spiritual health. Friendship is not a luxury but is essential to work-life balance and your health. Studies show that isolation decreases immune functioning and increases mortality risk.
- Attitude of Gratitude. It is physiologically impossible to be grateful and experience stress at the same time. Research shows grateful individuals report having more energy and less physical complaints than their non-grateful counterparts. Studies tell us daily gratitude exercises resulted in high levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy.
- Altruism and philanthropy. A generous soul lives a rich, abundant life. Altruism neutralizes negative emotions that affect immune, endocrine and cardiovascular function. Altruism creates physiological responses or “helpers high” that makes people feel stronger and more energetic and counters harmful effects of stress.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. Blessings.
It is very important to sit and go within. We need to go inside to see and make space for the divine to enter. – Ma Tureeya, Rishikesh, India