All our lives, most of us are constantly in search of peace of mind and inner calm but it is important to understand that this is not something we can buy or seek. We often get indulged in the process of seeking peace rather than attaining it. Happiness or peace is not something we can get or grasp, it comes from within.
Yes, of course, you can try to feel better and happier by meeting people you love or by buying things you like but is peace just confined to materialistic pleasure? Then why is it that soon, you start searching for peace again? Why more is never enough? In this process of seeking peace and calm, you chase people, you buy many things, you work harder so you can earn more and own more things, you travel, you indulge… your list of wants keep on growing and you get inclined towards things which you thought will make you feel better and happier.
But the feeling of contentment and happiness seldom lasts for long. If peace was found in things or people, then you may probably come across many people who are always calm and happy, isn’t it? But the reality is that it is rare to find someone who remains calm most of the time? Who does not react or get affected even if things don’t go as planned or expected? It is difficult to disturb a person whose mind is calm and peaceful and it is even more difficult to find someone like this!
“Peace is the result of reiterating your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” Wayne Dyer
Your definition of a peaceful and happy life may vary from someone else’s; for example, you may just want to sit at home with a cold coffee and watch Netflix and feel happy and relaxed, while your colleague or friend may find happiness in going out and exploring the world. It differs from person to person but when peace is sought in the next moment, action, person or thing, it is never reliable.
You are always expecting something to happen so you can be happy again. Maybe a better job, maybe a healthier loving relationship, maybe moving to a different city or place could turn things around and make your life more peaceful … the list can be endless and exhausting. When the moment ceases to exist, when a loved one departs, when the favorite cookie or TV show gets over or when the promotion never comes … your state of calm will also disappear.
If you keep on doing this, you will always be stuck in the loop of seeking peace. In this process, you will eventually feel lost and tired because you have been too busy trying to discover other people’s lives and trying to find happiness in the external world, the world in which you absolutely have no control. And in this process, you have also forgotten to pay attention to and understand yourself and your inner world, the world you have absolute control on.
“Peace is its own reward.” Mahatma Gandhi
If you want peace, it is important to realize the importance of momentary happiness and to start living in the present. When you start living every moment, when you start understanding the importance of the present and start living every moment to the fullest, you start taking steps towards attaining a state of equanimity, a state of peace.
We often come across people who are suffering from depression or struggling with regular panic or anxiety attacks; they believe that peace and happiness lie outside, in the next moment. But the truth is there is no next moment. You will know you are on the right path when you start seeing things with clarity, and when you decide to end your confusion and take a step towards living your life in the NOW.
Having said this, it is normal to continue to expect and feel a sense of happiness when you get what you want, or when you are with people you want to be with, but to be in a state of calm and peace is different. You can consciously work towards keeping your internal peace and calm even in the most trying circumstances.
You can be more mindful and aware of all the positive moments to get close to the calmness your mind deserves. You can implement certain rules in your life that could make your life a little easier. Here is a list of some of the important ways by which you can try to develop a state of mind that is calm and peaceful.
How to find Peace and Inner Calm?
You cannot look for peace in specific places or moments and you certainly cannot measure it. It does not have any blueprint yet you can practice some activities that can at least help you look beyond the temporary problems of day to day life. Try to read the below suggestions slowly and mindfully, go over the points once again if you feel like, understand and implement them as a process to experience inner calm and peace daily and to improve the overall quality of your life.
Stop Being too Serious
Why so serious?
You must have come across this famous dialogue. Ask yourself and reflect; it is not just a dialogue, it’s a philosophy in itself. Well…life can get quite serious at times and it is good to be serious about making changes, taking decisions, yet it is not a great idea to take yourself too seriously. It is important to know how to turn a problematic situation into a good one.
We often criticize people who prefer to take it easy instead of jumping right into a solution. But probably they are the ones who are living their life to the fullest because stepping back actually gives them more clarity and helps deepen their understanding of the situation. If you are serious all the time, there is a possibility that you might get inclined towards the negative thoughts. You might face many difficulties in life but if you are dealing with it with a positive perspective, things do not get heated up and completely out of control. Your acceptance level increases and you develop a habit of involving yourself in the given situation positively.
Increase the Horizon of Acceptance
It is important to accept things as they are without adding any extra flavor of over-thinking and assumptions to it. You can wake up in the morning and challenge yourself that everything that comes your way, you would accept it and then react or respond to it.
Acceptance is important because without accepting you cannot respond appropriately. You must listen to everything the other person is saying, you must observe and then analyze and then react. When we stop accepting things, it leads to unnecessary quarrels and worries. So try to listen, to yourself and others, accept and then react.
You might be messy one day and classy on the other. So, try to accept that a bad day does not make you a bad person. You must accept yourself, with all your flaws, confusion, doubts and understand that the mess is yours and you should never be ashamed or embarrassed to accept it.
If the truth begins to bother you, you will automatically start making changes and become more mindful about it, but in a more natural way. But if you live in denial of who you truly are, then you can easily succumb to stress and unhappiness. Make sure that you do accept all your imperfections and strive to make it better. Be sure that only you can turn your imperfections into perfections.
Don’t be too Harsh on Yourself
Having spoken about imperfections, it is important to know that nothing or no one is perfect and yes, imperfections are beautiful. You would come across many situations in life when you would question yourself, your capabilities, your qualities, your qualities! You may have faced such situations in the past. But did self-doubt help?
“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” Dalai Lama
It is okay if you have made mistakes in the past and it is okay to not get things right all the time; it is okay if you are not as successful as your friends or if you are not doing well in life. Ask yourself…who set these barriers and limitations? Who is the one judging you? Try to be your best friend. Do not ever question your self-worth, you can do wonders!
Permit Yourself to Feel
You must feel everything. Make sure you go through every phase of your life, be it success or failure, happy moments or sad ones. Make sure you cry your heart out when you need to. Make sure you laugh out loud when you feel like.
The power to feel and to be in your own flow is everything. You must understand that feeling emotionally numb is not good. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, to feel all the emotions, be it sadness, anger, happiness, pain, etc. Only this can help you truly heal and help you let go of what needs to be left behind and embrace the present.
Get Over the Past
Most of us are not at peace because we are stuck in nostalgia. Clinging to the past only ruins your present. Try to forgive yourself for all the mistakes and bad decisions that belong to your past. You can not undo them and it is okay. It is okay to not be correct or perfect all the time.
Feelings of guilt, shame, regret, etc are present because you now realize a few things that you didn’t realize in the past. Make yourself feel comfortable with the present by understanding that what you did in the past was as per your awareness and experience at that time. Past deeds can either hold you back or they can help you grow if you choose to learn from them. Letting go of the past is a process. You have to accept it, make sense of it and forgive yourself for it to be able to move on.
Meditation is helpful
Apart from all the above suggestions, self-love and self-awareness are important too. Meditation helps you connect with your mind, body, and emotions and makes you more aware of your surroundings. Regular practice of meditation will reduce stress levels and anxiety and trains you to live in the present moment.
In fact, meditation can help you implement all of the above more effectively. Research shows that meditation gives you proper space and time to think, feel, reflect and act. There are many ways one can choose to meditate. From listening to relaxing music to chanting, visualizing or focusing on one’s breath, there are many proven meditation techniques that you can practice on a daily basis. So, do not hesitate to improve the quality of your life, which in turn will positively impact your surroundings and your loved ones.
We have tried to explain some of the vital ways to get over the problems you have been facing. Once you take a step, some changes are bound to take place. When you choose light over darkness, happiness over sadness, love over hatred and acceptance over negligence, you are all set for life!
Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveler in India. He organizes 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh. Bipin Baloni conducts Ayurveda Courses in Kerala and also in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature, Himalayas.