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You Now Have Permission to Take a Break

by Bob Garner

Have you ever had a day or two when just nothing seemed to go right? You were cranky and felt tired. You would try to do something and it just didn’t seem to work.

In my business, I have to create. I have to create scripts for my speeches and words for my books, CDs and ipod casts. I also have to create marketing and promotional materials, not only for myself, but also for those whom I coach. (Which ranges from entrepreneurs or those wanting to become entrepreneurs, as well as professional speakers and ministers, etc.)?

The right side of my brain does a lot of work. And hopefully, I incorporate my left side, so that what I do appears to be intelligent, as well.

Recently, I came to a wall. Well, I don’t know if I came to it or crashed into it. No creative idea would come out of my little head. I just stared at a blank page in Microsoft Word…and nothing. I was also short-tempered with others and a royal pain.

Obviously, I needed a break, but I felt guilty taking one. I said to myself, “Yes, you need some rest, but you have so much to do.” Then a voice popped in my head saying, “Bob keep working…bust through the wall. You can do it…force yourself.”

As this inner conversation continued, another voice rose above the chaos…it was a tiny, little voice saying these sweet words, “Shut up! The guy needs a break!”

Now, you might be thinking…how many voices in your head do you normally hear, Bob? Well, I sometimes hear quite a few. (Don’t you sometimes argue with yourself? Of course you do.)

That tiny little voice…that still, small voice, was the voice of God - my inner being - telling me that I needed to take a rest. Fine. I heard it. But, that didn’t alleviate the guilt that I had about taking some time off.

In fact, I got angrier with myself for not allowing myself to take a break, which made me crankier and very non-productive.

What to do? Well, luckily, it was close to bedtime and before I go to bed, I usually grab a few books. I have a tendency to read a lot and from many books at the same time. I call it “horizontal research.” (I got the idea from Mark Twain and Winston Churchill – two highly productive men who did much of their writing and studying in bed.)

On this particular night, I decided that I would search for some advice on taking a mental breather. To put it more bluntly, I was seeking permission from others and I wanted some facts to “back up” that permission, therefore removing my feelings of guilt.

Now, I know that seeking permission from others is so silly, but many people do it. They seek permission to succeed, to buy something or do something and, here I was, seeking permission to take it easy. (So silly.)

I also know that guilt is a worthless energy. I mean, unless you have done something to cause harm to another living creature, most of the things that we feel guilty about are ridiculous. (So, I was not only being silly, but also ridiculous. You gotta love it!)

Anyway, I picked up a book by one of my favorite authors, Paul Brunton. Brunton is recognized for introducing Eastern philosophy to the West. His ability to synthesize eastern and western, as well as ancient and modern approaches to the discovery of the soul was amazing.

The book is called “Perspectives,” and as I opened it, a whole chapter that Brunton wrote on retreat and silence stared me in the face. Perfect…the cure for which I was looking.

As I began to read, Brunton explained that a busy person who takes no breaks is just as bad as person who always seeks amusement, neglecting the important parts of life. In fact, these people are two ends of the same stick. One is always busy; the other always plays. To have a fuller life, one must learn to come to the middle of the stick.

That hit home hard. It also reminded me of a man I had met at a party, just the day before.

This man had told me that he had quit his job and now, all he wanted to do was surf. (Since we all live by the ocean, that is an easy thing to do.) The man had a wife and a small child, and I asked him what he would do for income, as well as how he planned to take care of his other responsibilities. He said, “I’m tired of working and my wife can now earn the money. All I want to do is play.” I asked him what his wife thought about this and he said that she wasn’t thrilled about his idea, but he figured that she would get over it, eventually.

I couldn’t help myself. I asked him how long he had been married, to which he said three years. (I’m sure that you are thinking the same thing that I was, which is if this guy doesn’t change his attitude, he’ll be lucky to make it to his fourth anniversary!)

I learned that this man was not wealthy. He had not hit the lottery or inherited a fortune from a deceased relative. He just wanted to play and neglect his responsibilities by shoving them on to his spouse. It’s not that he wanted a break…it’s more like he wanted out of life.

Yet, was I that different? By always working, I was shoving off the day-to-day responsibilities onto my wife. (We have been married for 15 years, and I definitely want to see my 16th anniversary and beyond.)

In reality, this man and I were two ends of the same stick – we were the “extremes.” Regarding these two extremes, Brunton said that unless we make a change in our behavior, we are forced to change when an emergency or crisis appears. Yet, at that time, it may be too late to repair any damage.

For the person who must always stay busy, you neglect your familial obligations. You also create havoc with your mental and physical health. The result could be divorce or a heart attack or both. I found that I was escaping into a world of “busyness.”

The person who always wants to play can suffer a similar fate. The spouse gets tired of supporting the family and, unless you’re financially loaded, your money runs out and you go broke. You wreak havoc on your physical health, due to worrying about money and paying bills. This person is not taking a break; they are escaping into a land of Peter Pan …where they never have to grow up.

The “busy body” must take a break to gather and regroup and to become one with their inner power. The “slacker” must take a break from their play and retreat into a higher knowing that will point them to a more productive and fulfilling life.

What is always needed is time to sit back, think, meditate…to be at peace. One must learn how to be quiet and to be at one with God. What you do is withdraw from the world’s outer activities, as well as from you own inner conflicts.

Brunton wrote, “The needs of external life are entitled to be satisfied in their place, but they are not entitled to dominate a person’s whole attention.” With regard to working or playing too much, Brunton continues, “These are insufficient grounds for a person to pass through life with no other thoughts than those of bodily needs or financial strivings. There is still room for another kind of thought, for those concerning the mysterious elusive and subtle thing, which is divine soul. The years are passing and one cannot afford such a waste of time, cannot afford the luxury of being so extroverted at the cost of having lost touch with the inner life.”

One must get in touch with that inner life. That inner being, the individual “I Am” of the Universal “I Am.” You do that through taking a break…giving yourself the luxury of communing with God from within.

You need no one’s permission. You already have permission to do so from the highest power. As it says in Hebrews 4, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”

In Isaiah 30 it states, “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”

As Buddha said, “Let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation; let him look through things, let him be much alone.”

Again, you do not need permission from any person to take a break. You do not need to feel guilty about taking some time-off from the chaos and confusion of our world. You must retreat into your inner chamber and close the door. You must take the time to align yourself with your inner power.

Let me close with another quote from Brunton, “As one gazes, the more attention gets concentrated, the more one sinks into finer and finer thoughts, honoring not only the visible sun outside, but also the invisible soul inside.”

Honor the power of God. Honor your inner being. Be still…and take a break.

A successful entrepreneur for over 25 years, Bob Garner is living proof that what he says works. Bob is the author of "Masters of Motivation," which has been called a “must read” by business leaders, as well as “ESP-Untap Your Psychic Potential.” The creator of a number of CDs that have empowered thousands, Bob is also a syndicated writer and speaks extensively worldwide on motivation, sales, and success. He holds a Masters in Religious Studies. Sign up now for his free monthly newsletter called "Personal Success" at http://www.bobgarneronline.com.