One of my favorite prayers comes from the “Blessing Ceremony” of the Navajo people, the largest tribal nation in America.
With beauty before me I walk. With beauty behind me I walk.
With beauty below me I walk. With beauty above me I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen, may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty all day long may I walk.
“I Walk with Beauty” is a timeless message that expresses the importance of living in harmony with nature, one’s neighbors, circumstances, and most of all, with oneself. It is to walk the pathway of life in a state of grace rather than in disharmony and spiritual “dis-ease”.
Many years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Swami Satchitananda, a direct disciple of the great Master, Swami Sivananda. He was a friend of Swami Kriyananda and loved “word-play.” He enjoyed reminding his audience that the life of a perfected yogi is one of “ease”, of being balanced, harmonious and in a state of grace. Such a life comes naturally when we transcend our little self, the ego. In contrast, the worldly man’s life is far from “ease,” filled as it is with tension caused by worries, fears and a focus upon “I, me and mine.” Such a life is one of “dis -ease,” of troubles, ill health, conflict, and emotional pain. In other words, to live outside of an awareness of God is to live in the world of disharmony, tension and stress.
Stress is our modern world’s pandemic manifesting as mental, emotional, and physical tension. Though we all experience stress symptoms, few realize that its root cause is not found in our challenges, nor in our daily struggle with circumstances. We can never be “at ease” so long as we seek fulfillment in the ever-changing world outside of ourselves. To focus upon our own cares and personal concerns in isolation from a larger reality is to inevitably live in a state of spiritual tension between the downward pull of our little ego and our soul aspiration for perfect freedom. The best cure for stress is to adopt those attitudes and practices that expand our sympathies from limitation toward something larger than our little selves, toward something divine and beautiful.
Tips to Overcome Stress
- Recognize and accept what “IS” rather than mentally wishing for circumstances to be other than they are. Stress springs from resistance or a wish for something to be other than it is.
- Embrace life with willing enthusiasm. Cooperate with it. Circumstances may be neutral, but they are not random. Life has arranged itself for a karmic, divine purpose to help us grow toward freedom.
- Have faith. This is God’s show and we are His actors. The Divine Director is behind the scenes, benevolently guiding us according to His plan. Our job is to play our roles well as God’s instruments, non-attached and in the consciousness of His presence.
- Practice meditation. Meditation is the supreme tool for transcending ego consciousness. Only in transcendence can true rest be had.
- “Keep the body fit for Self-realization!” Exercise, proper diet, cleanliness of mind, and healthy habits of living are vital for reducing stress and tension.
In Divine Friendship,