It is easy to think that achieving peace of mind is just to do nothing – and let things pass. Putting effort in feels like it is disturbing the peace within your already cluttered head. Breathe deeply, accept the world as it is, let everything go on around you, and pretend none of it matters. In my opinion this is fairyland thinking. This may work for some things some of the time. The reality is – you actually have to take responsibility for yourself and do some hard work. Unfortunately I’ve come to realise life, and peace of mind, isn’t easy. The old paradox of “You have to fight for peace” applies, and the battle is all in your head.
I think “feeling lost” is one of the biggest issues facing a lot of people. I’ve been there – sometimes I still feel I am. You can’t achieve peace of mind if you feel lost. Lost identity, purpose, meaning, passion, path, role in family or society. These are really big issues for people.
How do you know if you’re lost?
You’re restless, not feeling relaxed, at peace, and you know it. You’re constantly anxious, restless, edgy, can’t seem to relax, upset, overwhelmed, down or depressed. Of course there are other things that contribute to these conditions as well. You may even find you’re using a crutch to escape where you are – alcohol, drugs or something else. I’m guilty of over-indulging when I’m not at peace, however I also may over indulge when feeling great – so go figure.
Try sitting upright in a chair, closing your eyes, clearing your head, and focusing on your breathing. Feel the breath coming in and going out. Focus on the breath. After a time, it may be 5 seconds but I’m guessing no more than 20 seconds, you’ll be thinking about something else. Your mind will wander. What are these things you’re thinking about? What is disturbing your peace?
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha
You absolutely cannot expect others to create peace for you. It is for you alone. You’re totally responsible – irrespective of what is going on around you. Not easy at times. I feel more at peace now, because I’ve got some big stuff sorted in my life, but I know I can be more at peace.
You need to accept that peace of mind is not something that just occurs, you have to work at it. When I feel things overwhelming me I’ve used the following exercise. It does take some practise, but it is really good. If you’ve got a technique that you find is good, please let me know so we can share it.
I’ve found this a great exercise, and there are different ways you can do it. As with the earlier exercise on sitting and feeling what is creating noise in your head, you need to do the same here, and with the first thing that comes into your head, allow it to consume all of you. Take it right in. Feel it. Don’t shy away from it or dismiss it no matter how difficult. The more you can accept it, the easier it is to deal with it, whether you have control over it or not. If you do have control, perhaps this exercise will help you build the courage to deal with it. I know it’s worked for me – and in some cases it has taken me a number of times until I’ve really felt and understood the issue, and how best to deal with it. Try it – what’s there to lose?
“Happiness cannot be far behind a grateful heart and a peaceful mind.” – Anonymous
I’m not a person that leaps out of bed every day with boundless cheery enthusiasm and spirit. I have times where I’m reflective, concerned, tired (exhausted even), sad and down. That’s just me. Overall I’m really happy – just don’t show it in exuberant flair like some of my friends and other people I know. The thing is – don’t compare yourself. How will that help you be at peace. You don’t know how at peace or happy other people are just because they throw out a jovial exterior, facade or mask. Just like you can’t tell how wealthy a person is by their house and toys (who knows how debt loaded they are). And we all know success is not financial – it is peace of mind.
Of the people we reach, who believe in what we’re doing, we want to equip them with the tools, services, courage, confidence and belief so they are equipped to support other people. We are a small part in a very large, dynamic and complex system. But all things are connected, and we want to send ripples of positive support out.
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” – John Wooden
Whatever you aspire for – do your best – do the right thing – and don’t ignore your “peace of mind”.
Achieving Peace of Mind is probably the biggest goal you can aspire for – not an end goal but a journey goal. There are a lot of things that contribute to achieving it. Some practical things I’ve done that have helped me achieve a greater peace of mind include:
- Sort some stuff out. Deal with some of the issues clouding your head – that difficult conversation, decision on which way to go, whatever … (refer my courage article)
- Find something meaningful, beyond yourself, to work towards, whether it is a big goal, or just helping others. Looking at the world as something more than yourself may help you focus your mind elsewhere and calm you around the noise that is going on in your head.
- Meditate. Try sitting upright in a chair, closing your eyes, clearing your head, and focusing on your breathing. Feel the breath coming in and going out. Focus on the breath. After a time, it may be 5 seconds but I’m guessing no more than 20 seconds, you’ll be thinking about something else. Your mind will wander. What are these things you’re thinking about? What is disturbing your peace? With the first thing that comes into your head, allow it to consume all of you. Take it right in. Feel it. Don’t shy away from it or dismiss it, no matter how difficult. The more you can accept it, the easier it is to deal with it, whether you have control over it or not. If you do have control, perhaps this exercise will help you build the courage to deal with it.
- Give more of yourself to Now. Be in this moment. This is where the power of possibility and imagination is. This is so powerful (worthy of more conversations). Nothing, and no-one else, is more important than right now. The power of now is tremendous.
- Always do your best – leave no niggles in your head as to whether you could do better. Sure there is no such thing as perfection, however if you do something and you know it isn’t your best, your head will remind you, and karma may find you
- I’m ok. Accept yourself as you are. This is really difficult, but totally essential. You are ok exactly as you are. Nobody is perfect, but everyone is as perfect as they’re going to be right now. It is easy to look at other people and say “wow, I wish I was like them, or had their life”. You can’t look at people from the outside and know them.
Thanks again for investing time in reading this – my hope is that it will achieve our goal of supporting you grow into the best “you”. If there is anything you would like written about, please let me know. If there is anything you would like support on or to discuss, please go to our blog and forum pages. As always, if you believe this was of value, please share it with those who you feel will get value from it.
All the best,