The Underestimated Calm.
Relax and release. Tune into a state of inner peace. Find your chill.
As mental health issues are on the rise and as more and more people wake up to the need and importance of self care and well-being, these kinds of phrases are often used, but because of this their deeper meanings can get over looked.
Now, if you are coming from a busy lifestyle which you've had for years, and you are just now working on slowing down and literally tapping into a more mindful lifestyle, then it'll take a little while for you to feel any relaxing and calm effects.
This is not a quick fix. It takes time to change conditions and habits, because it takes time to develop them.
All too often we get caught up in the new fade, the new ideal way to calm down and find inner peace. But do any of us truly find it?
Personally, I feel like I have. But I've only experienced moments of it, certain times when I feel the bliss of peace.
A state of calm is a process. It's just like any other state we experience, it arises, and passes away.
Learning to not hold onto inner peace is key. The moment you grip it, it turns into struggle, and yep - you've lost it.
However, developing deep inner states of peace and feelings of limitless calm can be achieved. It's all a matter of perspective. And so much of this cannot be taught.
Most of the ancient teachings of great Zen masters come from the inner wisdom we all possess. The more books you read about meditation, the more you feel like the words are being draw out from some deep layer within your very core.
We know inner peace. Our human experience is to re-remember it.
I've found a few key elements for my own practise, a practise which isn't hours and hours of silent meditation alone. It's a mixture of different habits I've picked up along my journey. One day, I hope to not need them, but for now, they help me in my Being and as I'm moving through life at the moment.
They may help, they may not, all I say is take what works for you and leave the rest.
You are you, only you, no one else.
You're road to inner peace and calm is unique. No two people's experiences of this are the same. So never, ever compare your journey to that of another. And never ever expect someone else to be in the same state you are.
All encompassing health does help.
Anyone can meditate or do yoga. And that's truly a great step forward. But these activities are only two branches of a huge tree. From personal experience, maintaining my health and well-being through many activities has allowed me to make huge steps forward on this journey.
When I am regularly eating a healthy diet tailored to my bodies needs, when I nurture my creative mind, when I spend time in nature, when I feed my curiosity, when I take time to be alone and be quiet, and when I practising yoga and meditation - basically at my personal optimum health - then I more natural feel and can develop my state of calm.
Everyone's optimum health is different, it wis worth taking time to work out what health and well-being actions work best for you. Again, don't compare yourself to others, the only way this will work for you is if you try things out and see if you benefit from them.
Acknowledging that you are aware.
Another part of my health and well-being is using a journal.
I write more than when I experience these moments of calm and inner peace. But I have found that any development in your mental well-being that you document and write about, tends to be stronger the next time around. It gives you space and time to get the clarity you felt, out of your mind and in front of you.
Of course, feeling it inside is enough. If there was a goal that would be it. But if you are just starting out on this journey, or like me, the mental noise of the personal mind (the inner monologue or monkey chatter we all have ) is particularly strong at times, making some room and sharing your thoughts outside of the mind, can be a very useful tool.
For me, the process of writing is calming in itself. It's helps my memory and focus, and almost feels like a form of meditation. It's guides me to slow down and reminds me of triggers I have or the habits I now recognise as default behaviours.
Bonding with your personal mind, and building a friendship with it.
When I started meditating I had a lot of inner distractions. I was in a lot of mental and physical pain at that stage of my life, and I became quickly frustrated when I would sit for an hour to meditate and my thoughts just wouldn't stop.
Many times I would sit and would feel like I was physically spinning around and around just from the speed of random thoughts buzzing around my mind. It took me literally years to wake up and actually understand what it is to relax and let the thoughts pass through your mind.
Now, I'm not perfect, sometimes I still get carried away by my thoughts and I drift with them. But instead of becoming annoyed by this, I notice quickly and smile to myself. I chuckle knowing that it's not my job to quiet my mind. Knowing that I am literally observing the thoughts which race around my brain - making that separation, learning that I am not my thoughts, it gives you a kind of background quiet, a seat of peace, at the back of your mind. As if you are watching a show in front of you (your thoughts and actions) and you just watch. Nothing else.
For a long time this irritated me. I couldn't understand how anyone could be calm by watching their thoughts run around all the time. It seemed mad and impossible. sometimes it still does! But one day, something did click, and the whole process, not just meditation, but generally living day to day, made more sense. I could clearly see my role as the observer in my human experience.
If you have not experienced this, and are not sure what I am talking about, do not fret.
This is not intended to alienate anyone. If you commit to the journey of finding your own inner space of calm, you will experience it.
There is no time frame, it'll happen when you are ready. And no one can force or predict it. It'll just happen. And you'll know when.
You find it in the little things.
Just before sitting down to write this post, and I guess which was the inspiration for it, I was stood pouring hot water into a mug and smiled.
I felt it.
This deep steady ocean of calm within me. I wouldn't ever be able to describe it perfectly, because words only give us so much, and each person interpirts what we say differently.
It was a rare feeling, which I know I've only felt a handful of times. But it was there. In such a seemingly insignificant moment of life.
You don't have to take yourself off to some mountainous cave and sit for 30 years and meditate to experience our true reason for being here - Being.
Enjoying the simple and unsuspecting joy of small things is a humbling feeling. To feel fully connected, at peace, and fulfilled as you make yourself a cup of tea may sound odd or 'coo-coo', but it when it happens you'll realise that it doesn't matter when or where you feel these things, just as long as you feel them.
You will find new perspective on all that you learn about yourself.
This is a life process, or an on going project if you will. It's not something you do one day and it's done for life. There are always developments, and will them come new perspectives. As you live your life, whatever you do, you gain new ways of seeing things. And it's the same with inner work that you do.
This is a wonderful part of the experience - there's always something new to discover. Keeping this in mind has been my motivation and has helped me commit to this journey.
Learning to be grateful for the peaceful moments.
Once on this journey you will find that these experiences are just like thoughts, coming and going, sometimes repeating themselves, but always changing and developing.
Just as your understanding and knowing of these things changes and develops - it is a journey of moving forward - it will constantly look different.
Just remember; do not force it, do not cling to it, do not judge it, do not compare it.
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