I’m doing the dishes and I’m so annoyed. I’m stressing out because I’m thinking that I have more important things to do than washing these dirty plates. I would rather write, work on my website or post an Instagram photo (I know, that sounds stupid, but that’s what’s going on in my mind).
I go into the bathroom to take a shower. While I’m standing under the warm water that’s massaging my tense neck, I ask myself:
Why am I so stressed?
An answer comes out of my mouth:
Because there are so many things on my plate and I need to get them done soon.
Again I ask myself:
Why do I need to get all these things done?
Because if I work more, I’m going to get more successful meaning, I’m going to get more followers, more money AND people will finally be able to see that I’m a highly creative and talented person. This won’t happen if I keep doing housework all day.
But why do I need more followers, more money and why do I need people to see who I really am?
Then there is silence. My mind stops running wild for a moment. Clarity arises and spontaneously I answer:
Because if I had all these things and people would be able to see who I am, I could finally relax and be at peace.
In this moment I start smiling. It feels like a weight has suddenly been lifted off my shoulders and the tension in my neck starts loosening up a bit. I’m thinking, “Wait a second! I’m stressing out right now because I try to get a million things done. And I’m trying to get a million things done in order to be able to relax at some point in the future. So what I’m actually doing is stressing out RIGHT NOW to be able to relax LATER. This makes no sense. I could take the short cut and relax right now. Then I would already have what I’m trying to get."
My mind tries to argue:
"But if you relax now, your whole life will fall to pieces and you will never get anything done."
This thought becomes louder and louder. It wants to stress how important it is.
I on the other hand become calmer and calmer and I decide to follow the gentle voice that says:
“It’s ok. You can relax right now. You don’t need to wait. You don’t need to be successful to relax. You don’t need other people’s approval. You don’t need to be better or perfect to allow yourself to relax. You can just be yourself. You don’t need to DO anything or ACHIEVE anything in order to be deserving of peace.”
All human beings on this earth have one thing in common: We all want peace. We all want to feel peaceful. That’s our main goal. We’re stressed because we want to get more things done. And we want to get more things done to have more money or more followers or more success or more love. And we want to have all these things to be able to feel at peace not realizing that peace is already available right here and now.
In the Power of Now, a book from Eckhart Tolle, he tells a story about a beggar who’s sitting on a crate filled with gold without knowing about it. He’s begging for money until one day a person comes along who asks the beggar what’s in the box. The beggar says, I don’t know. I’ve never looked inside. He finally looks inside and realizes that all these years he was rich without being aware of it.
We’re all beggars sitting on a crate of gold. We are all going to be running after money, success, more followers and more appreciation until one day we’ll realize that the only thing we ever wanted was feeling at peace. And this is going to be the moment when we stop running and start enjoying our lives.
The next time you’re stressed, ask yourself:
Why am I stressed?
What am I trying to achieve?
What do I want so bad that I let myself get stressed? And what’s more important to me than being peaceful?
Set yourself free and put peace first.
It’s the shortcut to paradise.