The concept of good health immediately points to our physical condition. But many of us are carrying too much weight in our minds – excess emotional baggage, born out of past experiences and anxieties about the unborn future. Unless we offload them, we can’t make much progress in Life!
The human mind is always engaged in thoughts. It’s like a freeway. Thousands of thoughts keep coming on that freeway. And most of these thoughts pertain to anger, hatred, fear, insecurity, jealousy, grief, guilt, sorrow and very few deal with inner peace and joy. Resultantly, each day, we are carrying the excess emotional baggage of several debilitating negative thoughts. Just like a flight agent will charge you for excess baggage, you have to pay a price for your emotional baggage too in Life. And that price is through a challenged physical and/or mental condition – diabetes, hypertension, stress, depression, insomnia and what not!
The way to offload your excess baggage is to do two things: 1. When you wake up every morning focus your attention on the day ahead for a few minutes and remind yourself that you will not bring any of the past or the future into your day. 2. Before you go to bed focus your attention on a peaceful night’s sleep and remind yourself that you will not bring any of your past or the future into your night. This could include reminding yourself about anything that’s going on in your Life – from a relationship issue to a fear of someone or something that’s gnawing at you to anger over a business deal or an insult someone has heaped on you to anxiety over losing a job…whatever. Whether you pray daily or not (depending on your religious preferences), do this twice daily, religiously. Watch yourself slowly, over just a few days, anchoring in inner peace.
This practice is adapted from an ancient Zen story.
Two monks, one of them in his 60s and the other in his 20s, were once travelling together along a mountain road. A heavy rain was falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross a small stream that was overflowing. The current was ferocious. And obviously the pretty young thing was scared she would be washed away should she step into the water.
“Come on, girl,” said the younger monk. Lifting her on his back, he carried her across the stream and set her down on the other bank.
The older monk was aghast at what had happened. Monks were not to touch women under any circumstances. He angrily crossed the stream and grunted several times to see if the younger chap would notice his discomfort. He did not speak again until late that night when they reached the monastery. He no longer could control himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he said. “It is forbidden by our monastery’s law. Why did you do that?”
“Sir,” said the young monk, “I left the girl there, by the riverside. Are you still carrying her in you?”
This lifetime is too short to be weighed down by emotional baggage. So, as much as you would focus on your physical health, focus also on losing, or offloading, the weight you carry around in your mind. When you travel light, you travel far, and travel comfortably!