How Water Can Wash Stress Away
Is it possible that something as simple as water can wash away our fears, worries, and doubts, and give us a sense of renewal and certainty?
It’s not a coincidence that after a hard or disappointing day, perhaps being stuck in the rain with your car broken down, or after a bad argument or breakup, there’s nothing your body craves more than a hot bath and also, perhaps a glass of wine.
Everyday we encounter the hustle and bustle of life, especially in our quest to try to do it all, and have it all. In essence, stress is ultimately caused by uncertainty—the ‘what-ifs’ in life. Some of us experience stress more than others, but either way it’s a feeling none of us are comfortable with and we try to find ways to cope and manage. Perhaps the most uncomfortable thing is when we do feel absolutely certain in specific areas of our lives we think would never fail us, like a great love, an ultimate best friend, or a fantastic job, only to have them stripped away from us.
We are all aware of the negative effects on our lives of having a lack of certainty and thoughts of doubt. In fact, there is biology behind it, and a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests certainty can bring us good health. We know that stress can affect our physical and mental well-being. Spiritually we know that the more a person falls into uncertainty, the more they open themselves up to negativity in their life. When we lose perspective, worry, start getting worked up and upset and asking “why is this happening to me?” what we are really doing is opening the door for more negative things to enter. Once that door is open, it’s even more difficult to get it closed. That’s why it’s important to find ways to reduce doubt and uncertainty from our lives. If we begin to understand that there is a bigger picture at work when things start to bother or stress us out, then we can remind ourselves of this idea: “I might not see it, but I know a greater picture exists and thereby I can accept what is happening in my current situation.”
Certainty is accepting the idea that life’s process is really the purpose. All that we experience—even if it’s chaos or not what we want—is ultimately for our greatest good and will bring us closer to our true potential. If we practice this certainty, then we can come to a point where even tremendous challenges don’t stress us out.
There is a kabbalistic tool that can be of assistance in awakening the consciousness of certainty. It is called the mikveh, which is simply immersing our entire body in water, preferably in natural flowing water such as a stream, ocean, or river. If that’s not available, then a pool or a bath will also suffice. Water represents mercy, and is also our “spiritual mother.” When we immerse ourselves in water, we are attaching ourselves to the greater reality, and the bigger picture that exists, the 99% reality (not the 1% world which attaches us to worries and stress.) As we immerse ourselves in water, we can envision current or past worries and situations that are plaguing us, and let them wash away from us.
Kabbalists teach that everything in our world has four levels to it: thought, sight, words, and actions. When we immerse ourselves in a mikveh, it is important to do it at least four times in order to cleanse ourselves of these four types of stresses.
The first time we go completely under the water, we meditate on removing negative, repetitive THOUGHTS that are ruminating in our head. On the second submersion, we focus on removing negative things we SEE that are causing stress and judgment in our life. During the third descent, we aim our attention on how we use our WORDS, and on those words that were directed toward us, in a negative nature. The fourth immersion is for thinking about the ACTIONS other people have done, or actions we have done, that have created stress in our life.
When we consciously connect to the greater reality as we immerse ourselves, we can truly remove—or at least diminish—the stress that permeates our lives. This may sound too simple, that the idea of immersing ourselves in water can bring us a stress-free life, but consciousness is everything and the power of our mind creates our reality.
This is one of the many tools available to us. We should do whatever we can to remove physical stress not just because of its physical ramifications but also because living a life of stress and doubt creates openings for more negative things to manifest. As we close the door to negative things, we can open a new door to let in the blessings that are intended to come to us, and manifest them completely.
Uncertainty isn’t really about self-doubt. It’s about self-discovery. Perhaps a good swim in the sea can do more for you than just cool your body down on a hot, sunny day. More importantly, it can cool tempers and negative thoughts as well. So, when all else fails, it’s worth a try. The worst that will happen is you’ll get a little wet.
— Monica Berg is a spiritual teacher, writer and guide who specializes in assisting people as they identify and overcome life’s challenges so they can reach their greatest potential. Monica is one of the founders of Raising Malawi, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping orphans and challenged youth throughout Malawi.