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spirituality and stress management

When did ‘go with the flow’ become common to everyday speech? Its origin is sometimes attributed to Shakespeare and its present meaning is to follow the crowd. I connect the expression to the hippie culture of the 1960s and 70s. It meant to take life at an easy pace, don’t get stressed, be cool. In that context, the saying conjured images of people opting out of the rat race and moving back to nature. It connoted the desire for a simple life and escape from the frustrations and stress of societal expectations.

Spiritually, the expression means to be with life on life’s terms, whatever comes. That is more difficult to accomplish. It seems easy enough when our daily experience is agreeable, composed of success and positive reinforcement. It gets challenging when what comes our way is demanding, such as a job loss; frightening, such as a scary medical diagnosis; or terribly painful, when we lose someone we love. All of these can make a mockery of life as we have lived it. Let’s dig a little deeper into the nature of spirituality and stress.

can spirituality help with stress relief

Even when we are not hit with emotional blockbusters, the truth is that few of us ever really go with the flow. We’re rarely 100% satisfied with the day, always could improve it, make it a bit more to our liking. Always something if we admit the truth.

I think of myself as easy-going; I meditate daily. My semi-retired life is ideal for the ‘flow.’ But, the dishwasher just broke for the 3rd time, my beautiful vines are destroying the stucco fence, and eating chocolate at night is good for 2 lbs. by morning. And on it goes.

We have these nit-picking judgments and opinions about the minutiae of life and like brambles in a stream, they block the flow. These are minor sticking points and they show the places where we are not seated in the truth of ourselves.

spiritual ways to manage stress

It is difficult to be a human being. Our bodies appear separate from the world in which we live. Our thoughts and desires seem hidden from the view of those around us. We observe what occurs outside of ourselves without any better understanding of ‘them’ than they have of us. From such fractured evidence, we create our own reality – and it is a creation.

The purpose of the reality we piece together is always safety. We want to feel safe in a world of which we can’t make sense. We develop ways to cope; we want to survive. Like soldiers poised for battle, muscles contracted, prepared to attack or defend.

In life, this is the least effective strategy. We are made unsafe by our own beliefs and behavior. We are not separate. I lean on the arm of my chair and we rub molecules from one another. I exhale carbon dioxide and the bushes outside my window breathe it in. I shake your hand and we trade a few cells.

spirituality and health

We are not the individuals we believe ourselves to be. We are more nearly pulsations of energy. Drop the stories about who we are and we are simply energy having an experience. As is everyone and thing. From this perspective, going with the flow is the only way. This is not rolling over and giving up. It is a more truthful stand in relationship with life. It is surrender to what was, what is, and what will be, not of our control. As the Buddhists note, ‘life is suffering,’ but only because of our expectations about how life should be.

Meditation on Going with the Flow

meditation for stress relief

I am at a crossroads of living. There is a block and heaviness in my heart. The flow is backing up and wants the block to give. But the flow is gentle and the block is holding its own. Where to from here? When I notice my breath it feels tired. I am not sure of my direction. If I am going on, then where?

I have so many opinions, so many beliefs about how things should be and what should happen. I know I am not right and it feels impossible to let my views go. They weigh heavy on me yet thoughts of alternatives are unbearable. I have so much fear. What could happen if I wasn’t afraid? Would I die? Would that be so bad? Am I killing myself by living this way?

I’d like not to fight with the past, the present, the future. Perhaps just start with the present and where I am now. Let the energy move cleanly through, nothing to interrupt sweet movement. What would my life be if the dam broke and the flow was all that remained? Would my life be over? Could something greater occur?

It is exhausting to fight the river.


If you’re looking for spiritual support or growth in your meditative practice contact Dr. Sandra Egli at Center of Intention to start your holistic journey. Call (480) 860-0400 today!


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Meditation: Sandra Egli
Music: Torey Ronhovde

The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.

To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.


Sandra's graceful way of listening & non-judgmental demeanor allowed me to open up effortlessly. I was certain, as I left her office, that I had received precisely the healing I needed.

Female client, age 44
Phoenix, Arizona