If inner peace and serenity seem like a distant dream, then read on. To be physically fit, it takes the right diet, and daily exercise – it takes conscious effort. The same is true for mental stability. The state of affairs inside our heads is dependent on many factors, but we don’t have to feel helpless. We can take control of our minds!
In many ways the untrained mind is a compulsive processor of whatever input it receives. So the first step is to mind what goes in. Is your everyday environment simple or complicated and chaotic? Is your house clean or full of clutter? Do you feed your mind sensationalized news, high drama TV, violent or horror movies, hard-hitting music? Do you read, and if so, what kind of books? Do you crave on alcohol or caffeine? The way the mind behaves is partially a product of what it is fed, as well as its environment. The brain is not hard wired, as scientific evidence proves that it is malleable and can be altered.
But notice the inherent catch-22. As the brain is trained according to how it’s nurtured, that reinforces it to continue to create that same reality around itself. So for example we might say that a cluttered house is not only a reflection of an easily distracted mind, but it also feeds that to be the status quo. We need to take a conscious step to break the compulsive cycle.
Some fundamental guidelines that lead to a steady, serene mind:
- As mentioned above, being mindful of what enters your mind.
- Continuous gratitude & acceptance for everything (and everyone) life throws at you.
- Awareness of thought – catch yourself if you veer into negativity.
- Kindness & compassion for others.
- Quality of time – both being by yourself, being quiet, as well as being with the right kind of people (those who model the way you want to be).
- Practice meditation & yoga. Slow down and breathe.
Some pragmatic ideas to nurture inner peace can also include:
- Plant something. Watch something blossom.
- See that change is inevitable, come to accept it.
- Watch the cycles of the sun and moon, come to recognize the cycles of life.
- Recognize compulsiveness – it shows up everywhere once you learn to watch for it – how you consume technology, food, media, and just things you shop for.
- Find the joy of a smile, or laughter at life’s challenges (see them as learning opportunities).
- Do you have a cat? Follow her lead when she wakes up! She stretches and drinks in the new day!
Taking a life path towards nurturing inner peace is just that – it’s a life path which means it’s a journey. The changes are subtle, and there will be slips. Sometimes a journal is helpful to keep track of the milestones and progress because inner change can sometimes be a slow process, and it’s easy to get discouraged. The opposite of that is to have the courage to stay on the path.
Finding serenity is an inward journey, it can never be a product of what’s happening externally. It’s about setting a foundation of peace within yourself, and within your own environment. Initially you might need to run away to a retreat to find it, but as you mature in the way you naturally are, then serenity will hold in the face of even turbulent events.
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