Developing a Peace Practice
Shane L Taylor
Could peace of mind actually be the most valuable commodity in existence? When we’ve got it we feel complete. When we’ve lost it we feel vulnerable and weak.
At least that’s how I experience it.
In fact I had a powerful thought some time ago that asked “is the success you are trying so hard to achieve really just your desire for peace of mind?”
That blew my mind as I explored the truth in that question. I am always busy trying to accomplish things….for what? What is the real reason? What am I really striving for? It caused me to re evaluate many of my decisions and get clear on why I was searching for various things. It was as if peace said , “if your really just searching for me, I’m right here waiting for YOU.”
So what is peace of mind?
Peace of mind is so wonderful that in spite of our issues and problems we can remain happy and grateful. Centered and productive, loving and loved.
It’s that ability to stay calm in the eye of the storm. To walk on the raging waters. Having peace is not the absence of problems. It’s not a magical destination reached when there is enough money. Or an arrival to a place when all our goals have been achieved and we see ourselves as successful.
Those places don’t really exist. What really exists is a life full of constant and ever changing problems that need to be solved. What really exists is the need to choose peace or stress.
I have had a long term battle with a strange way of thinking concerning responsibility, problems and success. I have this voice which comes to life when I am faced with abundant problems. This voice reminds me that because of the abundant problems I don’t have time to choose a peaceful mind. That it is my responsibility to my family to dwell in a stress filled state until the problems are resolved. It tells me by choosing peace I’m not being responsible.
Many times in my life I have listened to this voice and got myself into even more problems than I began with. If it was job related I ended up in jobs that didn’t serve me well. If it was money related I took on credit I shouldn’t have. If it was relationship related I argued and made things worse.
I have learned over many years that stress and freaking out never produce good outcomes. Never solve problems quicker and never make relationships stronger.
So how do we develop peace of mind?
One great aspect of this is that it is free. It doesn’t cost money. Hooray!!
It is a matter of practicing and learning to choose peace over stress.
The way to choose peace in any situation is to know what peace feels like. It’s easy to say just choose peace, but if we don’t know what peace feels like then its super hard.
What we need is a peace practice . We need to practice peace so we can choose it when we need it. It’s easy to have peace when our life is peaceful. That’s not when we need it, we need it when the walls are shaking and the sky is falling.
We all have times of peace in our lives when the problems fade even for a few hours at least. It’s in this time we need to become conscious of peace and examine what it feels like.
Really feel the peace, become aware of how it makes you feel. Feel the comfort, feel the safety, feel the warmth that covers you and flows through you. Say hello to it, welcome it. Build a relationship with it.
Look around and notice the beauty everywhere. The trees, the buildings, the sky, the ocean. Where ever you are there is beauty if you choose to see it.
A peaceful mind always finds beauty.
By building this relationship with peace we will be better equipped to call it forth when we really need it. Let’s be real, when faced with big problems we may not be able to trigger complete peace. It is also important to note that we must not hide from problems in a state of unresponsive denial. That really creates more problems.
Real peace comes from a strong mind that can remain stable in a crisis.
Most of us are not at this state yet so for us the point is to at least take the edge off our stress so we can think clearly and act creatively. In doing so we will move forward so much quicker and make better decisions.
There is another key, what are we stressing about?
Is it really that big of a problem? Are we just stressing for the sake of stressing? So we feel responsible. Look at your stress triggers and put them in their place. Many times we stress over things just because we always have. Therefore we continue to freak out when triggered because we have developed a stress practice. We have taught ourselves to stress over certain things when it’s really not that big of a deal. Remember that voice I mentioned earlier, it tells me that I’m being responsibile for stressing because there is stress to stress about.
A good practice is to write down all your stress points and explore what’s the worst that could happen if your fear comes true. Then look at the likely hood of that actually happening. By Getting it all in proper perspective we can see that the barking dog is just that. A barking dog that will never actually bite you.
I love this saying “the shadow of a dog never bit no body”. Often, that’s what our fear is, just a shadow of a scary dog. It can’t actually bite you, it’s just a shadow.
In closing, peace comes from knowing peace. Traditionally we think of meditation, yoga, worship and prayer. All great things but not guaranteed to bring you peace. For many people meditation is stressful because in trying to find peace we can get frustrated that it’s not there. It’s hard to try being peaceful , it’s best to welcome peace, to make you peaceful. Trying to be peaceful can be very stressful. Try doing yoga if your not very flexible, it can be very strenuous. It’s great but doesn’t work for everyone Peace should be welcomed and received, it can’t be forced. I have Tried that many times, it doesn’t work.
The peace in activities like meditation, worship and prayer comes from knowing what your peace feels like and therefore creating it in that situation. Your peace can come from walks on the beach or in the mountains. Sitting in a park, watching water flow, star gazing, cloud watching, fishing, exercising, writing, singing , cleaning etc etc.
Whatever works for you, do it and consciously explore it and get to know it. Make it your peace practice then next time the sky falls, call upon it , welcome it and choose it.
If you enjoyed this article you will love the Higher Ground Living Podcast