When we lose our inner peace our entire outlook gets disturbed, and even something simple seems complicated. When the heart is calm the mind and nerves are also calm. Calmness - of the heart, nerves, thoughts, senses, behaviour and body - is one of the beautiful qualities of the spiritual person. This type of calmness comes from faith in Him. Spirituality can be felt as a deep calm…as complete harmony. The thoughts of a person with a calm heart would be balanced, void of any disturbances. When we lack tensions that distract us, we can experience greater things. To attain this inner peace, it is useful to live in a peaceful environment that has no agitating effects. For this reason, monks prefer to live in the wilderness - far from noise, people’s clamour and any agitating news or incidents. The life of loneliness and isolation generally brings calmness, because it helps to calm all the senses - and our senses impact our thoughts. What we see, hear and touch is what makes our thoughts.
Life unravels in different phases, exposing us to pleasant sails as well as roller coaster rides. Spirituality aids in bringing about a certain calmness amidst this chaos in life. An acceptance of one’s situation is the first and foremost step in handling a problem. Acceptance makes room in the mind for it to look into the depths of chaos. Unfortunately, our first impulse while encountering a difficult phase in life is to react. The reactive mind just adds to the existing chaos. The more the reactive mind is cultured, the more there is scope to analyse the issues. Yoga and meditation are most helpful. They help to slow down the mad rush of impulsive, reactive thoughts and keep us calm. While our problems threaten from the outside, the solutions come from within. So look within and watch your thoughts; watch your fears and anguish, for they are basically thought forms. Stand aside and look calmly at the issues, rather than wallowing in the puddle and reacting. Let not any chaotic reactive thoughts get you entangled with the external problems. Do not judge. Judgment triggers the working of the reactive mind. Solutions are bound to surface by your just being aware. Awareness creates a certain detachment from the chaos…fostering calmness. From calmness surfaces the right solution to your problems. Understand the difference between acting and reacting. Acting is a positive way of handling issues, while reacting has a flavour of panic - which keeps peace at bay. Time has its own magical way of settling things. Simply understanding that all experiences are bound to pass, mellows you and makes you understand and accept situations…and to keep calm. Surrender is the most effective of all spiritual ways to instill calmness. By surrendering to a higher power, or to existence itself, you can experience a transforming peace and calmness.
In your daily life, take with you the intention to notice all the moments when no specific activity demands your attention. They might be moments travelling to or from work, breaks in your working day or a disengaged lull at the end of the day. Sense what happens in your mind and body in those moments. Be aware if you are carrying an inclination to immediately fill that space with something to occupy your attention. There may be an inclination to pick up a book, turn on the radio, make a telephone call or search for food. See if it is possible to restrain the immediate impulse towards ‘busyness’ or distraction, and try to simply rest in that moment. Initially you may find that these spaces of ‘nothing to do’ feel moderately uncomfortable, or carry with them a sense of there being something missing. Bring your attention to your body and mind, to simply explore the landscape of that sense of unease, without judging it in any way. Initially the simplicity of calmness and ‘non-doing’ may reveal the complexity and ‘busyness’ of your mind. Pay attention to the thought streams that arise in those moments, rather than being pushed by them into new cycles of busyness. You might experiment with adopting the lulls in your day as times when you befriend your mind and body and discover a deep sense of calmness. Instead of focusing upon what appears to be missing, bring your attention to what is present. You may discover that your capacity to feel at ease in stillness, calmness and simplicity brings with it a greater sensitivity and awareness. This can be a source of renewal and creativity. Take some moments to reflect upon your life and sense where it is cluttered by objects that no longer serve you well. What is it that you are holding on to, out of anxiety? Sense whether letting it go would create more spaciousness in your mind and life. Reflect upon what your mind most frequently dwells upon. Sense whether it has been undermined by preoccupations, fantasies, goals or desires that do not contribute to your well-being. Is it possible to let them go? Sense how many of the richest and deepest moments, the happy moments, in your life have been moments of great calmness and simplicity.
Often when people are presented with a great opportunity or any other positive possibility, they squander it away by reacting over-eagerly. If instead they could absorb the incoming energy, the opportunity would more easily get realised - otherwise the energy just spills over and the opportunity is lost. As long as our hopes for better things are held back by our fear of their attainment, the mind can never be at peace. We must therefore accept change as life’s only constant. Sorrows are not inherent conditions of life; they are born out of the weaknesses of the human mind. Awaken the victor in yourself, arouse the sleeping hero, and you will see that no sorrow will ever darken your life. But this can be attained only through constant inner calmness. Try to be calm in life, especially in the midst of activity - it is the time when you most need it. By practising calmness, you will find that it brings other virtues. When we are calm we become more sensitive to the state of our higher self, with whom we are seeking conscious union. Life is too short for us to spend time worrying about things that are out of our control. We must learn to let go. Do not obsess over tasks or spend time trying to achieve a level of perfectionism that you know is impossible. In fact, when you take the time to notice things like the brightness of the day, the singing of the birds or the blossoming of lilies, your life will seem more enjoyable. Our mind and soul are intrinsically linked. Only when our mind is calm will our soul be truly at rest. Importantly, it is in these moments of tranquility that our soul is able to effectively communicate with us. Being in touch with our soul helps us discover our inner self, which then enables us to connect with the true essence of the world outside.
Set aside some time to spend with yourself each day. Get in touch with your authentic self. Practise positive self-talk. Be supportive of yourself. Strive to fill the world with love and caring. Look for the best in other people; people by and large become what we believe of them.
Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 30 years. He can be contacted at email@example.com