In this world scarred by turmoil and endless challenges, I find balance in body and mind by nurturing a sense of inner peace: in meditation, in my dealings with others, and in my thoughts and habits. When I am at peace, I feel truly balanced. My stress levels fall; I feel more “connected” to others; depression and anxiety certainly improve, as do my relationships. I believe that we are all blessed with an innate abundance of inner peace. We’ve just forgotten how to access and nurture it!
The power of a positive attitude
One way to do this is to embrace the power of positivity. I know, psychologists repeatedly stress the advantages of positive thinking, but truly, we do have a choice each and every second of the day, with each thought that we have, to react in either a negative or positive way. We all know deep down (don’t we?) that the choice that leads to peace and balance is always the positive way.
I try to be aware throughout the day, recognizing when I have a negative thought or reaction and immediately substituting this with a positive alternative. It takes a lot of practice (!) but does become a newly imprinted habit over time, and one that brings about a feeling of inner peace.
When we are at peace and equilibrium within ourselves, we see the world and everyone and everything in it in a different, truer light. We see beauty in the simple things; we delight in others’ joy; we begin to see our interconnectedness more clearly.
Choose love, not fear
I have been practicing this for a few years now: simplifying each emotion to either fear-based (for example, anger, envy, sorrow, hatred, insecurity, greed, etc.) or love-based (compassion, understanding, acceptance, goodwill and so on). If you think about it, fear is really just an absence of love. It originates from the ego part of us that fills the mind with comparisons, suspicions and dissatisfaction. Love comes from the true self (our soul) and, by choosing love, I am opting not to be identified with ego but with the soul, which will bring much more lasting joy and contentment.
In this way, I aim to rebalance the body-mind to a state of equanimity by substituting one emotion with its polar opposite: compassion for contempt; generosity for greed; joy for worry; friendliness for distrust; and so on. Try it and see. It’s fascinating and fun!
It’s now up to you
It’s useful to ask yourself during the day when an emotion arises: Is this love or fear? Is this my ego or my true self? How can I react differently?
I have found the pathway to peace to be both an inner and outer journey. The inner journey is one of renouncing bad habits and behaviors and replacing these with positive alternatives. Maintaining this practice has been a major step in bringing about peace when all around is in turmoil. Once we’ve “cleaned up our act,” we’re ready for the outer journey, which is a shift in focus away from the ego towards acting for the sake of others.
What we are doing is a “spiritual” spring cleaning, if you like; the goal is to think of and put others first, above ourselves, and by helping others, I’ve found that we really do help ourselves!
If you continue on this path, you will be known for your goodwill, benevolence and understanding. You will be known as charitable, compassionate and calm. Others will want to know how you have achieved this inner peace! By allowing love and kindness (for yourself and others) to come to the forefront of your life, you will experience a sense of reconnection to the world, dissipating any feelings of isolation or separateness you may have previously felt. I wish you joy and peace!