In the midst of the clutter and noise of work demands, general life stress, family and relationships, it is usually difficult to hear yourself. Yet everything that makes up who you are continues to constantly communicate to you. Over the years I have learnt that paying attention to myself could be the difference between success and failure, happiness and anger, sorrow or depression. And in some cases, it could even be the difference between life and death.
But people don’t spend enough time listening. We don’t spend enough time listening to our body. We don’t spend enough time listening to our mind. And we don’t spend enough time listening to our soul (or our spirit as some would prefer to see it).
Take time to listen to your Body
I like to tell the story of my father, Doug Bliss. A great guy with a big heart. On a typical sunny day in October 1986, he gets up to take a walk down the street on his break, his heart explodes. He was a little overweight and wasn’t feeling that well. He didn’t survive. He was only 57. Too much damage had been done to the heart. Our body constantly talks to us, to de-stress, change a lifestyle, a pattern, eat better, seek help, but sometimes it is difficult to hear. Take the time to listen to your body, to be aware of it, to be conscious of it. That was the last lesson among many my father taught me.
Take the time to listen to your Mind
Several years after my older sister Diana was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety; she woke up one morning, went to her drug draw, opened a packet of her prescription medicine and took all of the contents at once. She proceeded to drown herself in the backyard pool. She was also only 57. She taught me to take time to listen to my mind, watch it, control it. Being aware of your thoughts will put you in greater control of what you think, your perception of it and your reactions towards this perception. Matthieu Ricard, French writer and Buddhist monk, said awareness is the greatest agent of change.
Having spent some decades of my life looking for answers, I now realize that taking time to be conscious and aware of my thoughts (and learning to let go of most of them) helps me avoid the effects of uncontrollable negative thoughts which could lead to feelings of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts such as my sister faced.
As my mentor Dr John Demartini would put it, you have the choice to be a victim of your history or a master of your destiny – every second, every thought, every day.
Taking the time to listen to yourself helps you connect with your body and your mind in a positive way. Through various research, science has shown that what you allow to pass through your mind not only impacts on your psychology but your physiology and your physical health. It has been proven that by managing your thoughts and the effects of it you control neuro-chemical transmitters in your body.
Take time to listen to your Soul
My near death experience several years ago puts this in a clear context. I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling pains in my chest, tingling in the arm, thinking I was having a heart attack. My body started giving these signals, my mind is thinking “am about to have a heart attack”?. And I stopped breathing. Scared and frozen in fear, a voice inside my head said, you are not gonna die, keep breathing. And then I came back to life. I started breathing again. I spent some time seeking proper support after this experience.
After this experience, I have learnt to engage in practices that help me calm my mind and body, and enable me to listen to myself better. To listen to my body, mind and soul talking to me. Some of these practices include mindfulness, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong. I am still learning, but I have come a long way. It is a proven way to know yourself. The German Author Eckhart Tolle said to know yourself is rooted in being, instead of lost, in your mind.
Now I have learned to give myself some time, to listen to myself, and to have better control of my thoughts and my life. I am healthier and more present at work and with my family. All it really takes is a small amount of time. And a quiet space.
And now, I teach CEO’S, owners of companies, board members, corporate leaders, management of major companies how to listen to their body, mind and soul.
Whatever you give attention to becomes more important. Whereas the focus tends to be more on our appearance, looks and shape and diet, we hardly pause to listen to our body, mind and soul to hear what it is telling us. To live a more fulfilled life, we have to listen. Listen in silence.
In this age when there is so much sickness, depression, insecurity and anger, with the fear of death and the burden of age, stress from work, family and many other sources, taking time to listen to your body, mind and soul can make the difference.