Without inner peace … outer peace is impossible. Here we share some ideas on how you can find your inner peace and let go of worry, anxiety, frustration, anger and depression. Switch off those thousand and one thoughts and enjoy some contentment and harmony in your day to day life.
How do I get it?
Peace of mind is a state of mental and emotional calmness. It’s a state of mind where there are no worries, fears or stress. It’s when your mind is quiet, and you experience a sense of happiness and freedom. It’s a state of bliss.
Depending on our lifestyle choices and habits, these peaceful moments can be either rare or can be a regular part of our daily life.
There’s no doubt that in our everyday lives we are constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli which can be both distracting and destructive to our health and wellbeing. Whether from our devices, busy homes and offices, or hectic city streets and shopping centres; our brains and bodies need some much-deserved downtime. It’s during this time out that we will find peace of mind.
There are several activities and techniques that can take away the mind from its usual thoughts and self-chatter, replacing the constant thinking and worrying with a taste of inner peace. Some examples of how to experience this emotional and mental calmness are:
Being in nature – walking along the beach, pottering in the garden, bushwalking
Gentle repetitive movement – jogging, surfing, swimming, yoga
Relaxing – lying by the pool, reading a good book, drawing or painting
Being in the company of someone you love, even patting an animal
Meditation is a powerful and direct link to being in a state of inner peace
The question is, how to bring more peace of mind into our life, and more importantly, how to experience it in times of difficulties and distress.
1. Minimize watching the news on TV and reading the newspaper. Most reported news stories are negative and can be distressing and depressing. You can’t change or do anything about it, so don’t let the stories bring you down.
2. Avoid negative people and negative conversations. You don’t want these thoughts and words coming into your subconscious.
3. Don’t hold grudges – learn to forgive and forget. Holding onto grievances and ill feelings can eat away at you and affect your health in a number of unwanted ways such as poor sleep, bad eating habits, etc.
4. Try not to compare and contrast – this can lead to feelings of not being good enough (low self-esteem) and can bring about feelings of jealousy.
5. Accept what cannot be changed – this can save you a lot of energy, time and worry. If a situation is beyond your control and you are unable to change it, then don’t fight it – instead, accept it and let it go.
6. Be here and now. In other words “be present” – don’t dwell on the past. Let bygones be bygones. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift (which is why it’s called “the present”).
7. Learn patience and tolerance. This can save you a lot of judgement of family, friends, co-workers and even strangers. Exercising patience and tolerance can relieve you of angst and frustration.
Often when beginning to practise meditation, it can feel intimidating or even impossible to still your mind. As with anything though, practice makes perfect.
Meditation is a deep, personal and fulfilling practise. There is no judgement or competition, it is within yourself, so it is okay to start small and to take your time.
Just a few minutes each day can have an incredible effect on your thoughts, mood, sleep, perceptions and your actions. Setting aside time to meditate for 20 minutes each day can bring great peace and harmony to your day to day life.
There are various types of meditation practices including:
A few simple strategies for approaching meditation which can help you begin :
Feeling and listening to your breath. Notice the sensation of your breath coming into your nostrils. Notice how the breath fills your lungs and expands your ribs. Notice every bit that your breath touches and the sensations of that as you exhale. Notice the sound that your breath makes as it moves in and out of the body. If your mind begins to wander, just gently bring it back to focus on the physical sensations of your breath.
Counting your breath. Begin by slowly counting in for four counts and holding at the top of your inhale for two seconds, and then release slowly for another four counts. You can count your way up to continue to slow your breath with your exhale by adding another second. So inhale four, exhale five; inhale five, exhale six; inhale six, exhale seven and continue until you find a comfortable balance. This will slow your breathing and help with bringing your focus inwards.
“The original condition of the Great Perfection is truly beyond the limited conceptions of the ‘three times’ (past, present future); but those who are just beginning the practice, at any rate, do not yet have this awareness and find it difficult to experience the recognition of their own State; it is therefore very important not to allow oneself to be distracted by the thoughts of the ‘three times’. If, in order not to become distracted, one tries to eliminate all one’s thoughts, becoming fixated on the search for a state of calm or a sensation of pleasure, it is necessary to remember that this is an error, in that the very ‘fixation’ one is engaged in is, in itself, nothing but another thought.
One should relax the mind, maintaining only the awakened presence of one’s own State, without allowing oneself to be dominated by any thought whatsoever. When one is truly relaxed, the mind finds itself in its natural condition. If out of this natural condition thoughts arise, whether good or bad, rather than trying to judge whether one is in the calm state or in the wave of thoughts, one should just acknowledge all thoughts with the awakened presence of the State itself.
When thoughts are given just this bare attention of simple acknowledgment, they relax into their own true condition, and as long as this awareness of their relaxedness lasts one should not forget to keep the mind present. If one becomes distracted and does not simply acknowledge the thoughts, then it is necessary to give more attention to making one’s awareness truly present.
If one finds that thoughts arise about finding oneself in a state of calm, without abandoning simple presence of mind, one should continue by observing the state of movement of the thought itself.
In the same way, if no thoughts arise, one should continue with the presence of the simple acknowledgment that just gives bare attention to the state of calm.
This means maintaining the presence of this natural state, without attempting to fix it within any conceptual framework or hoping for it to manifest in any particular form, colour, or light, but just relaxing into it, in a condition undisturbed by the characteristics of the ramifications of thought.
Even if those who begin to practice this find it difficult to continue in this state for more than an instant, there is no need to worry about it. Without wishing for the state to continue for a long time and without fearing the lack of it altogether, all that is necessary is to maintain pure presence of mind, without falling into the dualistic situation of there being an observing subject perceiving an observed object.
If the mind, even though one maintains simple presence, does not remain in this calm state, but always tends to follow waves of thoughts about the past or future, or becomes distracted by the aggregates of the senses such as sight, hearing, etc., then one should try to understand that the wave of thought itself is as insubstantial as the wind.
If one tries to catch the wind, one does not succeed; similarly, if one tries to block the wave of thought, it cannot be cut off. So, for this reason one should not try to block thought, much less try to renounce it as something considered negative.
In reality, the calm state is the essential condition of mind, while the wave of thought is the mind’s natural clarity in function; just as there is no distinction whatever between the sun and its rays, or a stream and its ripples, so there is no distinction between the mind and thought.
If one considers the calm state as something positive to be attained, and the wave of thought as something negative to be abandoned, and one remains thus caught up in the duality of accepting and rejecting, there is no way of overcoming the ordinary state of mind.
Therefore, the essential principle is to acknowledge with bare attention, without letting oneself become distracted, whatever thought arises, be it good or bad, important or less important, and to continue to maintain presence in the state of the moving wave of thought itself.
When a thought arises and one does not succeed in remaining calm with this presence, since other such thoughts may follow, it is necessary to be skilful in acknowledging it with non-distraction.
‘Acknowledging’ does not mean seeing it with one’s eyes, or forming a concept about it. Rather it means giving bare attention, without distraction to whatever thought of the ‘three times’, or whatever perception of the senses may arise, and thus being fully conscious of this ‘wave’ while continuing in the presence of the pure awareness.”