Using Attars to Deal with Stress

We’ve all been there—You just went to a weekend class or retreat and you feel awesome and inspired by what you’ve learned and you’re so excited to start practicing what you learned and you have great intentions. …and then the everyday stress comes crashing in—the bills need to be paid, you have to go to work, you have to deal with the morning commute, the kids or the pets need attention, etc., etc.—and our good intentions disappear like a fading dream. How could an attar help with this everyday stress? How can we stick with our intentions?

Everyday life can be a huge stressor, but it is also where we really getting to practice our intentions and spiritual path. It’s easy to sit on the mountaintop and contemplate and discover ourselves, but we really only grow through the nitty gritty of everyday life. So, step one, realize that everyday life and all its stressors are a great opportunity.

But wait a minute, how can I remember that? There’s so much to do, I can’t keep track of it all. There simply isn’t enough time! An intentionality practice has to be simple and quick so that we can practice it every day. So it can become an anchor and stepping stone and not another burdensome chore.

An Intention Practice Needs to be Easy

An easy intention practice is to pick a special oil that you’re going to work with every day for a while. If you want mental clarity and a higher awareness, our jasmine attar is a good choice. Jasmine is very mind-opening and focusing and the sandalwood base keeps you grounded. If you’re struggling with getting angered or otherwise thrown off balance easily, rose attar is a good choice, since the rose embraces you with its love and forms a bubble of protection around you. If you’re really distracted and need grounding, our ruh khus (wild vetiver) essential oil or our sandalwood essential oil are really helpful.

So as I said, pick one oil that you’re going to develop a deep working relationship with. The easiest, fastest practice I know is to anoint yourself every morning while setting an intention. You can just put a drop on your heart, or your third eye (the area between your eyebrows) or you can do our Nine Point Anoint. You can also put a drop in your palms, rub them together and then anoint your aura, i.e. form a bubble around yourself with your hands.

The Power of Intentions

While you anoint yourself, state your intention. I’ve always felt simple, broad intentions are best. It’s also best to use positive statement, avoiding words such as ‘not’ or ‘don’t’. An intention could be ‘My mind will be clear and focused today, grounded in my body and soul.’ Or ‘I am protected by a bubble of loving white light.’  Or ‘I will remain grounded and centered.’ 

You can imagine different things to strengthen your intention. If your intention is to stay grounded, as you anoint yourself, you could imagine roots growing from the bottoms of your feet into the ground below you. If you live in a tall apartment building, it may actually take quite a bit of effort to imagine those roots reaching all the way to the ground, beneath all the concrete. As you intend the protective bubble of light, really try to imagine and see it with your mind’s eye.

Try to do the same anointing and intention sitting every morning for a week or even a month. It doesn’t have to be long. You could incorporate it into your morning routine, right after brushing your teeth, for example. Don’t worry about getting the perfect intention, it’s more about getting into a daily practice.

A Daily Practice

You could take the oil with you into your daily life, so you can just take a quick whiff several times throughout the day. This will remind your psyche of your intention. If things get really stressful you could even anoint yourself again, several times a day if needed. Pro tip: Put just a small amount of your oil in a smaller bottle and leave the stock bottle at home, so that if you happen to lose it, you didn’t lose all of it. Also a smaller bottle is easier to carry in a pocket or a medicine bag.

The above intentions are just examples. Come up with your own intentions! Be broad and positive. Be creative! Try not to be overly detailed. Avoid ‘not’ and ‘don’t’. Have fun.

Over time, the stressful events in everyday life will simply become reminders to smell your oil and remember your intention. And since we all have plenty of stressful life events, we have ever so many opportunities to practice our intentions and smelling our oils. How rich with opportunity life can be! Turn your frustrations into your stepping stones.

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