The secret of a meaningful and balanced life

Your body communicates, take some time to listen.

What are the elements of inadequacy and hurry or, on the other hand, meaning and balance? Let us take a break to reflect on what led to this situation, this version of self and this reality.

Let me demonstrate the issue through two people. Both of them describe the reality of their life. The backgrounds, capacities and circumstances of both of these persons are comparable. However, their experiences of life’s meaningfulness, balance and connectedness are very different.

Person 1

I live a full and meaningful life that springs up from my core. I reflect myself to the surrounding world and not the other way around.

I’m at peace with myself and the surrounding reality. I’m connected to sufficiently remarkable, meaningful things that keep up my love for life. Everyday activities support the course I have taken, and I’m part of the story meant for me.

A natural rhythm beats within me, and I give time to both logical reasoning and alternative knowledge. A strong calling stimulated by an internal need gives wings to my inspiration. My melody flows in harmony, and the chords are connected to everything. I am the VIP of my life.

Person 2

I feel caught in an endless rat race intensified by increasing obligations and responsibilities as well as external hopes and demands.

I find it hard to coordinate work, family and me-time, and I’m saddened by not having sufficient time for the most important and meaningful things in life.

I feel inadequate and guilty for not having the time, the capacity or the capability. My performance simply is not enough.

However, I have learned to optimize my use of time through external demands, through earning and consuming. Most of my time is spent on trying to reach the largest financial compensation from the labor market so I could consume more.

I understand that allowing external, performance-oriented factors guide my life only increases my experience of fragmentation. I just don’t know how to connect to my natural rhythm. I don’t even know how to get in touch with myself, let alone other living systems.

I simply don’t have the time…

Experience and creating a future

Why do we experience reality in so many ways although we are cut from the same cloth, drawn by the same problems, conflicts and responsibilities in similar life situations?

The presumption in this story is that our aim is to reach a situation similar to that of person 1.

They are at peace with themself, and they have paused to listen what the body-mind tells them. But how to reach the inner self? How to stop and listen to ourselves, to truly observe, feel and accept our own needs?

Body-mind and internal body sense

Let us examine the topic through the body-mind aspect. It is an important aspect to acknowledge on the journey towards a more meaningful and fulfilled state of being.

We are taught that everything depends on the mind and that we can improve our state by affecting our thoughts, our mind. Thus, based on our history and what we have learned, we have paid excessive attention to our thoughts and mind, never realizing that we are entities with an inseparable connection between the body and the mind.

Nowadays we know that focusing only on our minds may lead to an imbalance with our community, the world and ourselves.

The good news is that the future of our state is not set, but we make it. We are a part of it whether we want it or not. If we want a more meaningful and fulfilled future, we can deliberately start to make it such. When deepening our connection to bodily signals, ourselves, other people and our surroundings, we form a more complete conception of reality.

We are the sum of our habits and actions. Changing our habits is often a conscious choice, and it is advisable to practice it before it becomes a part of our reality. So, let us practice reaching our own core. How to be at peace with the self? How to reach a state where we can develop the skill to receive and utilize experiential and intuitive information on our own initiative?

Step 1: Be open

Be open to the interaction that flows between your internal world and the external reality.

Background and science: Internal body sense and listening to your body

The study of the internal body sense, or interoception, is still a relatively young field of science, but we are now aware of its existence. In practice, interoception encompasses sensory perceptions about the body’s internal state, especially the operation of internal organs: heartbeat, respiration, body temperature and operation of the digestive system.

Interoception sends signals of the body’s general condition and preparedness for action – of our current state of health. We know that the body provides plenty of signals of itself, but we do not always notice them.

In fact, our bodies and movements may sometimes communicate much more clearly than our words. Our bodies have natural intelligence that may be out of the reach of our conscious minds. Our consciousness and reason do not develop only within the brain, but the entire body is required. Increasing bodily awareness also involves a lot of unlearning. You need to take some distance to the analytical mind that has grown to enormous proportions along the years.

Towards hearing

Step 2: Stop

You can only hear your real needs when you truly take a break to listen. If you keep on running or even pick up the pace, you simply cannot have the time to hear the signals your body sends. The sound is too gentle to be heard through the noise you make. Pausing helps you start to optimize your use of time automatically so that it supports your needs and allows you to stop over and over again.

There are various excellent methods and exercises that help us take a break and quiet down the mind’s voice. The noise should be reduced so that we can hear what we have to say to ourselves. For me, conscious breaks, bodily relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing exercises, nature walks and photography as well as meditation have been the most effective methods.

However, the journey to this point has been several years-long and, in practice, I started from scratch. Now I’m aware of my body and its outlines. I’m aware of how breath flows in my body along the line from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. I have taken moments in which I push the analytic mind to the background and practice consciously silencing the mind and letting go of my thoughts. I believe that many people are better equipped to do this and that their journey to positive outcomes is shorter. However, on this path, the journey is just as important as the destination. It is an everlasting source of joy, peace and serenity.

When you practice these skills, they become habits and part of your reality, and you no longer need to make an effort to reach a state of calm. By stopping, you begin to hear what the body-mind has to tell you.

No measurable data

This is a difficult concept to comprehend because it is hard to model or measure. However, the most essential things cannot be measured or verified with conventional quantitative methods or logic reasoning.

The facts that our bodies tell us an important story and that we are part of something inexplicably larger than ourselves are things that can be sensed, experienced and felt, but cannot be measured by methods known to us.

Pausing to listen to yourself requires letting go, faith and losing control. It is something quite opposite to what we are used to. It is faith in the fact that the most essential things can be reached through pausing and calming down instead of forcing and performing.

The following examples demonstrate two distinctive methods, both of which are important for wellbeing.

Exercise is crucial, and our bodies were made to exercise on a regular basis.

  1. My goal is to run three miles on a forest path. I cannot spend too much time on the exercise. I have a timeframe. I endeavor to improve my physical condition, and I know it is important to engage in outdoor activities. It is good for my health.

However, the brain needs the permission to rest every now and then, and thoughts and emotions need opportunities to wander without aim. The senses must be given the chance to feel. It strengthens the bodily experience and memory. Nature is an excellent source of inspiration.

Take a break in nature at the roots of existence

  • I have a moment for myself, and I miss silence. I take a walk in the woods. I tread slowly and watch what nature shows me. I hear birds sing and the wind whistle. I stop. I breath and let everything flow from my mind down to the green moss. Gentle shivers run down my spine, and gratitude for the beauty of everything fills me. There is nothing but this moment, and this moment is good and complete in itself.

When we take a pause in the moment, explore the connection between the body and mind, we are on the journey of truly finding ourselves. It is a process where the body becomes more aware of itself, recovers more effectively, supports presence, stimulates intuition and strengthens our consciousness. Try it yourself.

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