7/14/09

Portable Home

Now that summer is upon us, many people look forward to having time to return home. For many Japanese, this means traveling to the countryside during the Obon holiday. For many foreigners, it means flying overseas.

It's wonderful to have a place where you can feel 100% at home. Unfortunately, many Tokyo residents feel like we have to travel someplace else to feel that way. Why should it be that home is someplace other than where we live?

When we are at peace with who we are, we feel at home no matter where we are. We are able to adapt to different cultural, professional, or social expectations and demands without losing our sense of self. By remaining true to ourselves, the feeling of being at home becomes portable.

We can remain true to ourselves by taking time daily to reflect, meditate, or pray. Quiet time for ourselves is often undervalued and overlooked, but it's essential to developing and maintaining a sense of peace and balance. Time spent reading, listening to music, watching tv, or exercising does not count as quiet time. These are activities that stimulate the mind, rather than quieting it.

If you choose to reflect, this does not mean judging yourself. Reflection means recalling pleasant memories, noting progress or achievements, or dreaming of the future. If you choose to meditate, this does not mean you follow your thoughts when they intrude. Instead, you just notice them as they arise, then let them go and return your focus to your breathing or mantra. If you choose to pray, this does not mean focusing on what you lack and begging for assistance. Prayer means expressing gratitude for prayers answered and then turning your problems over to God.

By taking time daily to reflect, meditate, or pray, you will come to know and understand yourself more fully. As a result, you will find it much easier to remain true to yourself. You will develop a sense of calm and peace that you can carry with you. When you make time to quiet your mind, you cultivate a sense of being at home in your own body. That is something you can carry with you wherever you go.

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