Peace of mind is an inner strength that has both emotional and biological value of immense proportions. From it flows true happiness which is not based on material accumulations or peer recognition.
Everyone has the capacity, regardless of background or experience, to obtain this precious commodity. Here is one approach to consider in this quest.
1. Want it. Really want it. If you do, it will be one of your highest priorities in daily life. You will be more open to learning what others have accomplished in order to find peace. There is great wisdom out there in the experience of others. You will soon recognize that peace of mind is an ongoing work in progress, not something you “get” and do not have to maintain.
2. Create a daily reflection time. For most, this is the most difficult part of finding peace because it means cutting into the rapid paced living style that is characteristic of western culture. However, you can find a way to spend 20 minutes just for yourself every day. Get away from it all, and seek the solitude you deserve to replenish your inner life.
3. Review your past life for what you are grateful for. Include the people who helped you, the books that influenced you, your friends, and the experiences that taught you important lessons. And, don’t forget all of the so-called little things, your health, home, automobile, neighborhood, abilities you possess, and hobbies. Write all of this down to reread at specific times when you need to change your consciousness level.
Expanding consciousness (becoming wiser and more understanding of the Self and its connection to a transcendent reality) is a treasure few individuals seek to understand and pursue. Yet, it is at the very core of living fully and with great joy. Notice I capitalized the S in Self in the tradition of Carl Jung, who said that the small self that we know, is our greatest limitation.
4. Each day at reflection time, start by writing down the things you are grateful for that happened the day before, whatever they may be. You made an important sale, an old friend telephoned, you had a great cup of coffee at your favorite shop, one of your kids said “I love you,” you had a great round of golf, or your loan application was approved, are examples. You will profit significantly from where this mind set eventually takes you.
5. Conclude reflection time with fifteen minutes of meditation. Choose any form that you enjoy. Here is one I used for years. Take several deep abdominal breaths to relax. Sit comfortably, legs uncrossed. Choose a four-syllable word you would like to repeat (I used the Aramaic word Maranatha, which means come Lord). Focus on your breathing and each time you exhale repeat your word. Any time your mind wanders, and it will, calmly bring it back to your word. The solitude you find in meditation engenders peace.
6. During your normal day, begin choosing your conflicts carefully. Most of what we get exercised about is not worth the time and energy demanded. Keep putting this question to yourself, “Do I want peace or conflict to dominate my life?” Why get stressed out over a traffic jam or not getting invited to a certain party? Refuse to let others upset you because they don’t follow your way of looking at things.
In short, avoid thoughts that drain your energy. Choose loving thoughts to energize you because what you give out keeps finding its way back.
7. Focus on the little picture, not the big one. That is, focus on peace in your corner of the world, your work, home and neighborhood and let the world problems be addressed by others more qualified. This does not mean we lose interest in world problems. We vote accordingly, but we can limit the inner turmoil they create each day as we read the newspaper or watch the news. Make the world close to you a better place.
In summary, if you want peace of mind, you have to change your daily routine to include down time where you work on your soul through an emphasis on being aware of and thankful for all that you have. Reflection time is an absolute must.
Peace of mind also means accepting the fact that conflict is a choice that you can turn down most of the time. It will help immensely to surround yourself as much as possible with peace-filled friends.
In any event, you must change what you do on a daily basis or you reap the same stress-filled day. The new peace routine you incorporate–a mere twenty minutes of time–becomes a part of your life, for the rest of your life.
Dr. LaGrand is a grief counselor and the author of eight books, the most recent, the popular Love Lives On: Learning from the Extraordinary Encounters of the Bereaved. He is known world-wide for his research on the Extraordinary Experiences of the bereaved (after-death communication phenomena) and is one of the founders of Hospice of the St. Lawrence Valley, Inc. His free monthly ezine website is http://www.extraordinarygriefexperiences.com