Breathe. Just still your mind for thirty seconds and breathe. Let your energy drop back into your body, hop off that never-ceasing hamster wheel of thoughts swirling around in your head, feel your roots plunge into the earth, and inhale deeply. Then let it all out.
We forget the importance of breath in our hectic every day lives. Have you ever taken a huge, expansive inhale and on your exhale realized how tense you have been? The breath not only calms our buzzing bodies and mind’s, but brings our awareness inward; the opposite of how we are taught to live. We spend our days constantly concerned about money, health, image, love, and other external values and we forget to bring our attention to our state inside.
We exist in a human body around other human bodies, so the material has a fundamental role in our existence on earth. However, we only exist in a human body, we aren’t our bodies. The importance of the intangible is highly overlooked and undervalued.
The material is fixed and yet our feelings toward what is concrete is ever-changing. For instance, have you ever been in the shower and peered down at your wet body and thought, “wow, I really wish I was more fit,” or ,”gosh, I need to lose some fluff there,” or simply, “I really hate the way I look?” Then, the next thing you know, you put that new outfit on and you think, “wow, I am hot stuff!” The truth is, these fluctuations take a toll on us, even if we view our bodies positively for the most part. When we put our value into how we look, we will never be truly satisfied because one minute we will love ourselves and the next we will want to put a paper bag over our heads! To view our bodies as simply the wonderful vehicle in which we have been gifted in order to experience this earth is the healthiest way to live in my mind. If we think of our bodies as who we are, we will live in constant fear of losing who we are or loathing who we are.
Now, this is not the case with our true essence. When we look deep inside ourselves and get in touch with our authentic being, we will never be disappointed. Our true, core self consists only of light and pure, unconditional love; it doesn’t have disappointment or hate in it’s vocabulary! However, to connect with our true essence, we must remember to acknowledge it regularly. Once we are able to touch into our core authenticity and come only from a place of utmost truth, we will truly be free.
“I want to be free!” you say. Well, I say, “you can, if you choose to be.” This is not as easy as it sounds, though. As I have said prior, to look inward is the exact opposite of our human nature. It is much faster and more satisfying in the moment if we focus on external things to bring us joy. However, the material can only bring us happiness that is false and ephemeral. Pure joy comes from within. Pure joy cannot be seen, or held, but felt fervently and wholly. My rule of thumb is, if I can lose what I feel joy from, then what I am experiencing isn’t pure. This rule also goes for people. “What, but my children/ husband/ dog/ etc. bring me joy and I know that is pure!” you scoff. Yes, it is…but this comes from a soul level. You can never truly lose those things precious to you because they are pure essences of love just like you. You are loving their authentic being, not their ego or human “skin”.
“Ah, I think I am getting it,” you say, “but how can I connect with my pure essence?” Well, my dear soul, your authentic being is always with you, you simply have to notice it. I begin by taking three long deep breaths and drifting my eyes closed. Still your mind and relax your entire body all the way down to your toes. Then, in my mind’s eye, I venture into my inner garden, which it located right behind the 4th chakra or heart chakra (for those who are not familiar with chakras, right in that space between the breasts for the ladies, and pectorals for the gentlemen). Everyone’s inner garden appears differently, just remember to make it your own. Here you are safe and free to be completely, 100% you. Your garden could be an expansive meadow surrounded by trees, or a beautiful flower garden, or a forest path leading to a Divine temple. Whatever it looks like, just make it your own. Spend some time in this inner garden, exploring, playing, and relaxing, anything your heart desires.
Notice how you feel here. Notice how relaxed you are and how your heart fills with ample, childlike joy. I always want to skip and dance when I journey into my inner garden! Just take note of what it feels like to be utterly free and uninhibited. Breathe into this feeling and commit it to memory, realizing that you can experience this wonderful, loving feeling at any moment in time, you just have to remember it. Stay in your inner garden as long as you would like, for it loves getting attention and lives to be visited by you. Then take a couple deep breaths and slowly come back to your body. You can write down what you experienced or just relish in this wonderful feeling over and over.
Now that you have discovered your inner garden, you must remember to venture back on a regular basis because, just like a garden on earth, it will die if you do not give it love and care. This is your essence. That spectacular feeling of peace and bliss you experienced in your inner garden is who you really are. So, when you are feeling caught up in the material and the hectic tendencies of human life, remember your inner garden. The quickest way to connect to this feeling is to breathe. Remember how truly powerful the breath is and you will begin to step into living freely.