We live in a world that is fast paced, increasingly removed from Nature and filled with many stresses and challenges to our well-being. Whilst we may not be able to directly change much of what is occurring in our world, we can learn to develop a state of equanimity and inner peace that will allow us to traverse through our lives unaffected by much of what is happening. This doesn’t mean that we are ignoring what is going on around us, rather we decide the meaning that something has to us and choose how we will let that affect us or not. Everything in life is a neutral event until we attach a meaning to it, and then create a story around that, which takes us into the journey of the consequences of that decision.
What if we learnt to be at peace with whatever is happening in our lives! What benefits would that ascribe to us?
How do we achieve inner peace? What is inner peace?
Wikipedia describes it in this way: Inner peace (or peace of mind) refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Being "at peace" is considered by many to be healthy (homeostasis) and the opposite of being stressed or anxious. Peace of mind is generally associated with bliss, happiness and contentment.
There are many ways of achieving inner peace and amongst these personally I find meditation to be the most effective, a practice I have done for over 35 years. Meditation comes in many forms and it is important to find a form that suits you depending on your disposition, i.e if you are an A type personality that has an over active mind, then just sitting quietly trying to calm your mind might be a struggle for you. You might need to have the benefit of some relaxing soothing music to allow your mind to follow the peaceful resonance of this and allow it to go into a deep alpha state and induce the sense of well being associated with that. Other people might find using a specific mantra as the TM meditators use would be helpful.
The deeper you go into meditation, the more effective you become at accessing the deeper brain wave states beyond Alpha. Alpha brain waves are present in deep relaxation and usually when the eyes are closed, or when you’re slipping into a lovely daydream or during light meditation. The next level is the Theta State and is achieved as we go into deep meditation. “It is said that a sense of deep spiritual connection and unity with the universe can be experienced at Theta.”
To access the deeper states of inner peace and balanced brainwaves we can utilise our breath to calm our systems.
A simple but powerful way of doing this is to sit comfortably and gently close your eyes. Relax your shoulders and neck. Relax your jaw and throat and bring your awareness to your breathing. Breathe in gently through the nose and gently out through the nose whilst maintaining your awareness of the breath. Stay with this process for 5 minutes or so and notice how much calmer and more at peace you feel. In fact you can stop at any point in your day (make sure you aren’t doing anything that requires your attention like driving etc) and close your eyes and just be fully present with your breath for a minute. Just be still and aware of your breath and everything will settle down. From that place of inner peace you can continue in a more effective way than if you were stressing about something.
Connecting with Nature is another way of achieving inner peace. Simply by sitting down on the grass and just allowing yourself to feel the Earth beneath you can induce a sense of peace and well being. Any time we spend in Nature will help us to feel more at peace and still. A walk in the bush or along the beach whilst drinking in the sights and sounds will invariably help us to feel better.
The impact of each one of us achieving a state of inner peace can not be underestimated. The Dalai Lama describes the importance of inner peace:
“The question of real, lasting world peace concerns human beings, so basic human feelings are also at its roots. Through inner peace, genuine world peace can be achieved. In this the importance of individual responsibility is quite clear; an atmosphere of peace must first be created within ourselves, then gradually expanded to include our families, our communities, and ultimately the whole planet.”
We each have the power to affect great change in our world through our own attainment of inner peace and awakening to the truth of our Spiritual Essence which will be the topic of an upcoming blog post.
“Peace. Be still and know that I Am God.”