Okay, I’m going a bit out on a limb today—and I hope you will stick with me whatever your spiritual leanings, because this article can prevent burnout, improve client results and increase your confidence and motivation.
As you’ll see, it isn’t nearly as woo-woo as you might think.
First, let me say that having clients is not all roses; you work hard to attract and serve them and then you are confronted with the reality of working with them from day-to-day. It brings certain challenges that you won’t see talked about in most self-employment circles.
Challenges like becoming so invested in them that you start leaking energy, feeling entangled—even becoming co-dependent. Eventually, you can burn-out and feel disconnected.
Then, there is the challenge of helping clients get the results they came to you for. How can you know your work is good enough? How can you help them be better partners in the work? (Because you can’t do it by yourself, you know.)
And finally, how do you maintain your motivation and confidence through the ups and downs of everyday life? I’m here to tell you that prayer and meditation can help you meet every one of these challenges.
This is a no woo-woo zone
I’ve had my share of non-ordinary experiences. I rely on alternate ways of knowing, like intuition, sensing into the environment and synchronicity. And, I pray for all of my clients—but I’m impatient when woo-woo is presented without a foundation in science.
There is scientific evidence for the effectiveness of both meditation and prayer.
Research has shown that meditation causes beneficial changes in your brain and body. It can entrain your brain and heart, bringing peace, heightened awareness, and the ability to think more clearly when under pressure. It lowers blood pressure and improves respiration. It reduces cortisol levels. (Cortisol is a chemical released by your body under stress. High levels are physically and emotionally depleting.)
Meditation is a good thing.
Prayer is practical
Larry Dossey has pioneered esearch into the effectiveness of intentional prayer. It appears that prayer operates even over a distance to speed physical healing and ease emotional pain.
There’s another practical side to prayer that makes it indispensable to me. When you pray, you are letting go of the idea that you are solely responsible for outcomes. You are loosening the reins of attachment. This allows creative possibilities to enter the mind that had been hyper-focused on a problem.
So prayer, too, is a good thing.
You don’t need to be religious to meditate or pray
While both meditation and prayer are keystones of the world’s wisdom traditions, you don’t have to belong to any particular church or sect to use them. All you have to do is take action, and it is very simple to begin.
Begin meditating by sitting still
You can begin to meditate by simply sitting still and in silence for five minutes. Set a timer. Your thoughts are likely to be all over the place. That’s okay. When you notice you are thinking, turn your attention to your breath. Repeat.
If you practice daily, you’ll gradually find that your mind is quieter. Your body more quickly returns to calm when stressed. You’ll ride the ups and downs of life more skillfully.
Naturally, there is lots more you can do to deepen your practice. Just Google “meditation, beginner,” and you’ll find lots of help.
Begin praying by setting an intention
A simple way to pray is to dedicate your day to the well being of a specific person or group of persons. Become quiet. Think of the person or persons (or cause, if you prefer) that you would like to support. Offer up a simple prayer dedicating your work to that. It may take you only moments.
You don’t need to know to what or whom you are praying. You don’t need to believe in this. Just do it.
Again, there is a lot more you can learn to deepen your prayer practice.
What I want for you today is the realization that you can begin with these bare essentials—and beginning makes all the difference.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise