The world is a crazy place that we stress over and rush through on our way to our final destination which for all of us will be death forgetting that it is actually the journey that we should be enjoying and taking time to cultivate stillness so that we may know ourselves and learn to become peaceful in our minds and in our words and actions.
Now I guess being peaceful has a different meaning for all of us but for me it means non confrontational speech, compassionate and supportive action and a feeling of stillness in my mind with an underlying bubbling of joy. Do you know what I mean? I'm sitting quietly, I feel calm but the corners of my mouth turn up and I feel so connected and joyful.
This for me is bliss.
This is not to say that I don't feel stressed or disillusioned sometimes because that would be a lie as would me saying that I've never hurt anyone with my words or actions but I try to be mindfully aware so that for most of the time I don't. Like everyone, I am a work on progress.
As I've already said, Mindful awareness is the first step so that we can identify, challenge and change harmful beliefs, words and actions.
Once we have started paying attention to these which are the tools of the mind (beliefs, words and actions) and we have created some focus and awareness, we can then begin to work on the mind and look at how to find peace through Mindfulness.
Trying to accept people and situations for how they are, not how I think they should be. By honestly appraising the reality of a relationship or situation, I can prevent a lot of my suffering as it's only me that will gets hurt or frustrated when something isn't as I think it should be. So instead of giving into those emotions, I try to see the person or event as being exactly as it or they should be. I don't assign a good or bad value to the interaction, I now know that this is how they or it is meant to be because that's how it is. To think otherwise would be arguing with the reality and truth of what is and it's that that will cause my suffering.
I try to let things go. When something hasn't gone the way I thought it would or something sad has happened, I allow my feelings to wash over me, accepting and acknowledging each one, I look for what I can be grateful for in the encounter and sometimes, I have to dig really hard to find that and I look for the lessons I need to learn. I know that I need to learn them because they are right in front of me and if I'm not paying attention and learning them, similar lessons will keep appearing until I do.
I practise sitting in silence. For me , this makes up part of my daily meditation practice but I also make time during the day to sit quietly and check in with myself. To ask myself how I am feeling and to notice whether my thoughts are working for or against me.
I spend time in nature which helps me to slow things down.I am very proactive and organised and a conscious creator but I make an effort to not rush and create space in my day. Being in nature enables me to relax, let my mind mull things over and by body to respond to the sound and rhythm of the environment.
I use the breath. Most of us only shallow breathe all day and that can cause our body to feel under pressure and tire easily. Taking regular deep breaths help us to slow down, increase the oxygen supply to our brain and activate the parasympathetic system all of which creates a relaxed state.
There are two breathwork or pranayama practices tat I also find very helpful for creating peace.
One is Nadi Shodhana Breath
Also known as “alternate nostril breathing,” this technique quickly relieves stress and anxiety, balancing the two hemispheres of the brain.
How to Practice:
Sit up straight.
Hold your right hand up to your face.
Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
Slowly inhale through the left nostril.
Pause for a few moments after the inhale.
Close the left nostril with your ring finger.
Release the breath slowly through the right nostril.
Repeat for a few rounds.
As you breathe, set an intention to balance the brain and remain engaged in the practice. Alternate nostril breathing is especially useful at the end of a long day, when you’d like to quiet the mind and enjoy deep rest.
The other is Sahita Kumbhaka Breath
We’re often so concerned with our inhales and exhales that we completely forget about the space found between. Kumbhaka is the state of pause, or suspension, between the breaths, and helps us find stillness through focused mindfulness.
How to Practice:
Pause and hold for a few moments at the top of the breath.
Hold for a few moments at the bottom of the breath.
Repeat for five minutes, then return to a normal breath.
This pattern of breathing may feel a bit unnatural at first – after all, we’re typically rushed in our busy lives – but in time you will become more mindful of your breathing patterns (and the stillness found within) and will find that your breath naturally becomes more steady, deep, and intentional with practice.
I find the more peace I can create in my mind, the more peaceful I want my environment to be and this includes not using harmful chemicals, eating well, managing toxic people and situations quickly and effectively and not entering into other people's dramas. I am happy to listen and to offer suggestions to help but I no longer have any attachment to them taking my advice or trying to convince someone that I am right. If I am to be peaceful, I must respect that everyone has the right to live how they see fit and that brings me back to dealing with reality and living with acceptance not my expectation.
I'm sure that you can see how living peacefully can improve your life through more harmonious relationships, kinder communication and better outcomes for yourself and those around you.
As always, if you would like to get in touch or work with me, please get in touch.