You’ve heard this before. Peace is every step. Peace is in your heart. Peace is your true nature. Why don’t you feel it? What is the block to being peaceful? Feeling peaceful? All the time or at least, more often than not.
I believe that in our busy westernized world, we have lost touch with what we are truly capable of feeling and being. We have become robotic in our workday, and it spills into our private lives. We are bombarded with cell phones ringing, the tweets of twitter, the pings of a Facebook message, constant emails, plus the pulls of the responsibilities of our lives. We scamper from one email to a tweet to a private message to work to work out to the grocery store and so on. What is peaceful about that? We have created lives with no room to feel…to be…or for peace.
How do we shift this? How can we claim what is truly our divine right, to have and be peace?
One aspect of peace is being your true authentic self. Part of that is maintaining an open heart. “Sometimes people find that being tender and raw is threatening and seemingly exhausting. Openness seems demanding and energy-consuming, so they prefer to cover up their tender heart. Vulnerability can sometimes make you nervous. It is uncomfortable to feel so real, so you want to numb yourself. You look for some kind of anesthetic, anything that will provide you with entertainment. Then you can forget the discomfort of reality. People don’t want to live with their basic rawness for even fifteen minutes.”1
Think about that last sentence – People don’t want to live with their basic rawness for even 15 minutes.” How can we possibly connect to one another on an on-going basis if we can’t connect deeply with ourselves for a mere 15 minutes?
A shift needs to occur, and that shift begins within us. To be with ourselves, our pain, our rawness, our shame, our guilt, our self-doubt, our worries, our anger, whatever it is. To lean in and accept it. Not judge ourselves, but embrace ourselves. Love ourselves. Be with ourselves, our whole self, be with it all.
Meditation and mindfulness are helpful tools in creating inner peace.
“If violence begins with stressful thoughts in the mind, then peace begins with silence in the mind. According to the American Institute of Stress, 44 percent of Americans report feeling more stressed than they did five years ago. Just as we need to shower, eat and exercise on a daily basis, we need to practice healthy ways to release our stress on a daily basis.
Meditation and breathing techniques…are potent ways to cleanse your system of stress.”2
Now I know what you are thinking: I don’t have time for myself much less to meditate. To sit quietly for 20 minutes when the house needs to be cleaned, the lawn cut, the laundry done, and those reports for work edited. I get it. And I’m still saying take a timeout, get quiet, and breathe deeply. Breathing with purpose returns us to our true self, our inner divinity. It’s our reset button. That simple action realigns us with our more peaceful center and we receive a respite from the insanity and frenetic energy of our current world.
You don’t have to sit cross-legged on a cushion, although I must admit, that’s what I do and find it greatly grounding and comforting. You can sit in a chair, sipping your favorite hot beverage while being conscious of your breath and calming your mind. You can take timeouts at work by closing your eyes and breathing deeply for a minute. While driving, you can consciously breathe in and out. When you take a walk with your dog or a friend, consciously breathe for a couple of minutes. There are many opportunities for quiescence throughout your day. Find them! Seize them! They’re yours!
You will discover after practicing this for a short while, that your mind will calm measurably. The chatter will lessen. You will find it easier to focus and concentrate. Negative thoughts and emotions will migrate to the outer recesses, relinquishing their grip on your mind, heart, and soul.
You will feel more at ease, more kind and yes, more peaceful.
The operative word here is practice. It needs to become a positive habit in your life. When adversity enters your life, breathe. When negative emotions or thoughts arise, breathe. When someone cuts you off in traffic, breathe. Breathing needs to become your first action when you are shaken off your stable center, for it briefly returns you to consciousness. Then you have a choice of what action to take, mindfully.
It all begins with something we do every day, every minute, every second…we breathe. Simply be conscious of it and watch what happens. You will be pleasantly surprised.
- Chogyam Trungpa, Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery, Copyright 2009 by Diana J, Mukpo
- Mona Shah Joshi, HuffPost, Feb 16, 2017