Calm in the basis of right perception and understanding. Calm is strength. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
The day I decided to begin working on myself was the day my desire for inner peace was greater than the desire to “be” someone and surround myself with material wealth.
Sure, the private planes, chauffeurs, and expensive clothes were great, but I knew they were not going to create the inner life I always wanted to experience.
It took many years to understand all I needed to do was sit back and listen to my inner voice. Of course looking back now it was hard for me to do this by myself.
I needed a guide, someone I could open up to and hold a safe space for me to empty the bowl. Moe Ross, my mentor, helped me find my inner calm, and I can only hope I can the same for another.
If you are like me and prefer to remain calm in situations you might find my practice guide helpful. As always, what I share with you is not meant to be the answer for you, they are merely an inspiration. Take what you want and leave the rest.
Before we begin, let’s get clear on the meaning of calm. For me, it is an inner vibration in which leads the way to peaceful relationships, meaningful contributions to the world and naturally, a connection to my Self.
RESIST THE URGE TO CREATE BALANCE
If you find yourself (like me) trying to balance work, parenthood and relationships you may find, it helps to resist the urge to create balance once and for all. When we attempt to spread our weight evenly, we are mentally working too hard. Imagine the balance beam, if we fall off it is considered “bad” but when we stay on, we are “good.”
When we find ourselves on the beam, we must gently guide ourselves to the ground in the realization of all we need to do is the next single thing.
Practice #1: When the overwhelming feeling enters our inner life, pause and press the reset button; Reminding ourselves all that is necessary at this moment is to do the next single thing that will create inner peace in our life. For me this looks like going to make a cup of tea, and then sipping it and then washing the cup in silence, taking notice of the water, the way the cup is formed and so on. Other times it looks like walking outside and just witnessing what is around me with no judgment.
FILL OUR CONSCIOUSNESS WITH MEANINGFUL MATERIAL
Waking up and watching the news is for some people completely natural. In my knowing, to create a sense of inner calm I need to begin my day with material that will move me forward. People magazine or the newspaper will not suffice. Why not treat your soul to a little goodness before the day begins?
Practice #2: Begin each day with reading a powerful message, ancient wisdom or whatever your spiritual discipline may be. Checking email and social media accounts is a compulsive behavior that will only result in an exhausted mind later in the day.
**The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo is a wonderful book and one I used for years when I began the practice of slowly entering my day with meaningful material.
FINDING SIMILARITY IN ANOTHER
If we find ourselves in the company of another person and our mind is constantly comparing or judging them, let us find ONE similarity. As we begin to slow down and not allow the mind to attack, our heart begins to take center stage and remind us we are all alike.
Practice #3: Find one thing in common with someone you are with. Compassion and understanding will create an abundance of inner calm within our inner interior which will no doubt spread to everyone we meet.
BE WILLING TO SEE THROUGH APPEARANCES
I have written about this in detail here. When we are faced with a challenge, the mind will want to struggle, fight and take us down the rabbit hole of confusion and frustration. If you have experienced this, you are not alone. Some of the most enlightened people in the world experience this because they are HUMAN. By seeing through the appearance, we invite our experience to be different, more meaningful and loving.
Practice #4: If a situation presents itself having a lack of harmony or abundance, practice seeing through the appearance and knowing that when we center ourselves, the appearance will change. I often have to repeat the words “peace, be still” multiple times before I can respond in a situation.
GO OUTSIDE AND BE LED INSIDE
Do you ever notice how nature has a way of saying so much without uttering one single word? Of course can trees and plants cannot utter audible words, but they can whisper to us. There is a beautiful exchange that happens when we allow ourselves to enter nature with no agenda, just appreciation for its beauty and profound knowledge.
Practice #5: Walk alone in nature. Listen, witness and feel. Wait for the fragileness of life to be awakened by the single flutter of a butterfly’s wings. As we watch the limbs of the trees sway we can remind ourselves that we are just as flexible and strong. Be aware of the shift our inner life makes as we stand in front of a tree, ocean or river….this is truly being.
I hope you find these practices helpful. It is with my sincere love that I encourage you not to try and perfect these practices, I have certainly not but I do my best!
Thank you for being here,
photo is my own from Sylt, Germany.