Actually, when you think about it, every single spiritual teacher, mystic, and guru that has ever lived has had a much more relaxed, laid back lifestyle than you do. It must be nice to spend 4 hours a day meditating in nature, but in our day and age, that’s just not realistic.
Even people like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra have maids, accountants, helpers, and assistants to reduce their stress and workload.
Chances are, if you are reading this, you are either at work, at school, watching the kids, out grocery shopping, or trying to relax after a long hard day. You have bills to pay, taxes to file, and responsibilities such as car payments, shifts to work, exams to take, mortgages, errands to run, appointments to go to, kids to run around, etc.
In our society, we don’t have time to meditate all day. Working 40 hour weeks is something Lao Tzu and the Dalai Lama just didn’t take into account.
How do we live spiritually in a busy modern world?
The secret is this: Learn how to psychologically and mentally detach from your to-do-list.
A lot of the times, it’s not our tasks that make it difficult to live spiritually, stay grounded, and stay centered. It is the mental world that we live in as we complete these tasks that drains us of our energy and knocks us off balance.
For example, let’s say we have to go to work and then pick the kids up from their friends house on the way home and stop somewhere to get dinner. If the work state-of-mind remains at work, and if you relax your mind as you do the other two errands, then there is nothing hard about staying centered.
But when you wake up in the morning, you may be stressed just by thinking about your to-do-list. Your body is in the shower, but your mind is already in the office. You’re driving to work and you have nothing to do except drive in a straight line, but you are overwhelmed with thoughts of responsibility and obligations to do certain things.
Here is an amazing realization. You can still get everything done that you need to do without constantly thinking about what you need to do. You world won’t fall apart if you take a break away from thinking about what you have to do next.
I have noticed my mind will create its own world out of the tasks that have to be completed. “I have to do this, then that, then go there, then drop off this” and these thoughts would play through my head all day. In reality, these thoughts were causing me the stress, not the actual tasks themselves. My thoughts about reality were responsible for producing my stress and anxiety.
Reality itself was not stressful. What was stressful was the mental world I created around my jobs and tasks, which convinced me that I needed to dwell on everything or else my world would fall apart. And its very easy to take a break and pull away from that mental world, and just have 10 seconds where you give yourself permission to not think or do anything.
All I needed to do was one thing. And then another one thing. And then another one thing. Thinking about everything that needed to be done was not only futile, it was actually hurting my ability to be productive.
It’s amazing to consider that it’s literally impossible do more than one thing at any given time. You can only make one decision and perform one action at a time. When you are stressed out at work or at home, it is helpful to remember that there is never more than one thing you have to do at any given moment.
The stress comes from dwelling on all of the things we have to get done, and being frustrated that we can’t get all of them done at the same time. It’s kind of like expecting to eat your dinner all in one bite, and then getting stressed out that you can only eat it one bite at a time. If you focused on that one bite each time, and ONLY on that one bite each time, there would be absolutely no stress.
So how do we live spiritually grounded in a fast-paced modern world? Catch your mind wanting to dwell on your to-do-list all day. If it won’t stop, write it down so you don’t have to keep revisiting the same thoughts over and over. Remember that you only can do (and have to do) one thing at any given time, and allow your mind to rest as you focus on completing that one thing.
Your mental energy is essential to your productivity, your health, and your spiritual wellbeing. Don’t waste it by allowing your mind to obsess over what needs to be done next. Live in the present, and do one thing at a time. You don’t have to meditate all day or do yoga by a river if you don’t have time. All you have to do is allow yourself to live within the world of the present moment instead of in the world of future tasks.
Hope this helps you!