I have found it increasingly challenging these days to sustain a state of peace within myself.
I also see my friends, family, and co-workers struggling to find and maintain their peace of mind. There is a general upset in our world, and most of us seem to be suffering because of it.
Recently, I was in a meeting with a co-worker and everything was going well until something about the current state of political affairs came up. My co-worker and I have similar views on the particular issue that popped up, so things didn’t erupt into conflict, but it did change this person’s entire mood.
All of the sudden, there was no peace. In a flash, it had been swallowed up by current affairs and was gone for the foreseeable future. Not surprisingly, the rest of the meeting was much less productive and tainted with a palpable negative energy that just wouldn’t go away.
More than ever these days, we have to make our own peace—because if we’re waiting for the world to deliver it to us, we’re not going to have much of it.
Below are five tips we can use to experience a more a peaceful state of being, regardless of what the rest of the world is or is not doing. By setting the intention to practice these in some form, every day, we can bring more peace into our own lives and then share it with the world around us.
1. Stop needing so much.
We often say we need things, but this is just a way we introduce drama and stress into a situation. For example, we might say we are hungry and need to eat something. But it is hard to have peace when we feel we are in need. So, what if we simply reframe the way we look at the situation by saying, “I am hungry. I’d like to eat now.” No drama, no desperation, no crisis, no need—just what is and the peaceful acceptance of what we can do about it.
2. Take care of things.
Procrastination inevitably leads to fear, regret, worry, and other negative emotions that can steal our peace. We are much better off when we take action, rather than letting things go unattended and then later feeling forced to deal with the consequences of our negligence. If we stay engaged with our daily tasks, we will experience consistent accomplishments, which contribute to our peace of mind.
3. Don’t think every thought.
Not every thought we have is worth thinking. In fact, many of our thoughts are based on habitual mental patterns we have created that are not at all peaceful or productive, and often just end up causing us stress. Through meditation and mindfulness we can become quiet and slow down our thinking. This will help us to more consciously observe our thoughts and assess if they are helping or harming us.
4. Ration your opinions.
Have you ever noticed that the more opinions we have, the more often we feel the need to defend them. This leads to conflict, which is the antithesis of peace. The world is often much more peaceful if we don’t constantly chime in with our opinion and decide we have to be right about everything. Opinions are often a product of our ego; when it comes to sharing them, we can use the four gates of speech and ask ourselves before speaking: “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it beneficial? Is it kind?” If our opinions don’t successfully pass through these gates, then it might be better not to share them.
5. Get rid of stuff.
Most of us have some excess in our lives. The more unnecessary possessions we have, the more there is to take care of. And if we have addictions, unresolved emotions, and habitual mental patterns, we can easily become a slave to them. By regularly looking at our lives and asking ourselves what we can get rid of—both internally and externally—we can declutter our lives and make room for more peace to exist in our hearts, minds, and homes.
Author: John Shoemaker
Editor: Nicole Cameron