How can we have peace in our heart when there is seemingly so much turbulence in the world at present?
The answer to this question is simple. There are two worlds: our inner world and the outer world. In truth, they are not divided, but they are certainly very distinct from one another.
Now, the problem is that most human beings give precedence to the outer world, believing it to be the “real” world. Thus, it receives all their attention, and becomes greatly energised as a result of this. Consequently, the perception of this outer world (which actually also includes the realm of thought) dominates our consciousness, and we fail to give sufficient attention to our inner being, to the depth and reality of who we truly are.
I am not talking about the reality we experience within our mind, because that is a state of perception that varies greatly from person to person, and is actually relatively superficial. I am referring to the reality within our heart; the world of our innermost being. A place of peace, fullness, warmth, deep compassion and sensitivity. This essential part of our being is what gets neglected when our attention is always focussed on the external world, including thoughts and emotions.
For example, how can we be in touch with peace when we are angry, or miserable? We cannot. How can we be in touch with peace when we are trapped in our worries, limiting beliefs, judgements, opinions and self-righteous dogmas? We cannot. And peace is something that everybody deeply needs to be in touch with.
When we are not in touch with our peace, we feel that there is something vitally important missing from our life, and we seek to alleviate this lack in a variety of ways. We become more consumerist, needing and wanting more. More mental food, more physical food, more stimulation, distraction, entertainment, sensual and sexual gratification and so on. We seek our peace through every external means we can, many of which can easily be become addictive, but nothing is truly successful in bringing us peace, because nothing external contains or brings the peace we are looking for.
Peace is found only in the heart. It is encountered and experienced when we get in touch with our heart, and when we are sensitive to it. Yes, there are things that can help us to do this, but we cannot fully depend upon them as they may not always be available to us.
For example, being in nature (which I find to be the most powerful way), listening to inspiring music, or being in the presence of a loved one all help us to become more in touch with our heart. Even certain green healing foods (like wheatgrass juice and spirulina) help you to nourish and become more aware of your heart when they are used regularly.
But what do you do when you are alone, when have no inspiring music to listen to, or if you cannot go outside and be in nature? What do you do when there are no comforting thoughts to give you a good feeling inside, but instead there is a constant stream of anxious thoughts running through your mind, creating fear and stress within your body?
This is when we really need to know how to access our inner realm of peace, so that we can free ourselves from the grip of anxious thought, which causes so much inner disturbance and turmoil. And it is as simple as remembering how to relax.
Knowing and remembering how to consciously relax the body is possibly the most important tool that any human being in the modern world can rely upon. When our body relaxes, everything improves. Tension and tightness disappears from our muscles, our breathing flows more easily, and we feel a great sense of relief and ease throughout our entire being. Our entire perception of reality literally changes from one of anxiety and fear (which may be subconscious) to one of acceptance and trust.
Because to relax, you have to trust that you are safe, that there is no threat present. Relaxing our body is the greatest statement we can make to affirm that we do not feel threatened, and interestingly, reality adjusts accordingly. Have you ever noticed that when you are in a state of anxiety and stress, the reasons for feeling that way seems so justified and real. You believe it is important to be worried. However, in the very next moment, after you choose to consciously bring relaxation into your body, your outlook changes completely. From a more relaxed perspective, you see the situation differently, through more calm, balanced and rational eyes. If certain action is needed, the correct course of action becomes obvious, and it can be taken completely without stress.
Life is like this. It is an unending stream of practical situations to which we need to respond in an appropriate way. To become stressed, afraid or irrational is actually completely impractical, because it encourages us to make inappropriate decisions based on our incorrect perspective.
The correct perspective is always that which is coming from a place of balance, a place of non-reactivity, a place of intelligence and wisdom. In our daily lives, if we really consider our options in any moment we will see that there is usually a choice that is mutually beneficial – it benefits everyone and honours our own truth also. Such choices never create further suffering; they usually alleviate it. But we can only see what is the most mutually beneficial choice when we are in a balanced state; calm and aware. And essentially, the most beneficial choice (especially for ourselves) is to be in a calm, relaxed and balanced state – free of anxious thought and connected to our peace.
And because every day is so full of choices – many of which affect the way we feel, our health, our relationships with others and so on – we have to take more care over our decisions, as they are literally shaping and determining the quality of our life. The foods we choose to eat, the amount of time we choose to spend in nature, the amount of quality time we choose to spend with loved ones, whether we choose to include meditation in our daily life, and so on. Such practical choices have a very significant effect on the richness of our life and the way that we feel on a daily basis.
Many people blame external forces for the way that they feel and for the quality of their life, and the result is just a feeling of powerlessness, because we simply cannot control external forces. Thus people feel trapped in negative cycles, as they feel it is beyond their power to get themselves out them.
However, with greater perspective, we can see this is far from true. We only feel trapped and powerless because we are not fully conscious of the cause of our problems, which is usually the choices we are making. This includes the choices of thought which we make, especially what we believe, what we tell ourselves, what we think about others etc.
Thinking influences our being far more than we know and colours our entire view of reality. It is a great distraction from the deeper sense of stillness and peace within our heart, because it keeps us on the superficial level of thought. We must go beyond thought to connect to our peace, and the good news is that we can do this in any moment, just by relaxing our body, becoming aware of our breathing, and grounding our awareness in our physical sensation of being alive.
As we spend just a few moments doing this, aware of ourselves beyond thought, we realise that a deep harmony exists with our body. It is a subtlety joyful harmony which cannot be found in thought. It has to be felt in our body. This is the natural underlying state of every human being alive, and can be accessed in any moment, irrespective of external circumstances. The first step is always relaxing…
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