Why is it so Difficult to Find Inner Peace?

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If you examine our problems, you will notice that most problems are deep-rooted in the mind. The basic principle is the same…..some external event happens, we choose to see only one side of the story, and then unravel the situation such that it causes some form of mental conflict, resulting in some form of emotional suffering.

While it is easy to simply say, “drop your problems”, you and I both know that it is not that simple. We all have had years and years of conditioning in attracting problems and conflicts. So much so, that the simple concept of ‘stop thinking about problems’ will not be so effective on us. We need tools that smack at the problem’s root.

Let’s now try something. Close your eyes for about a minute (or 5 minutes), and during this minute, send out the intention of your heart that you want silence and tranquility, and you do not want to be pulled away from this silence by thoughts. Pssssst……take a breather from reading and go do this.

Okay, so what happened? You probably noticed that the moment you become silent, thoughts started popping up…….random and isolated thoughts. These thoughts become a form of distraction, pulling us away from our inner silence.

This was only an experiment where we consciously observed our mind and tried to become still, but could not. Imagine the state of our inner space, while we are going about our day, unaware of the polluting in-coming thoughts.

 As a result, our inner space becomes cluttered with useless information, with thoughts that are not favorable to our wellbeing, with garbage. Because our inner space is cluttered, our inner clarity and in-born wisdom becomes distant and foggy. And essentially, we lose touch with that part of our inner selves that is sacred, and wise, and peaceful, and eternal.

The distractions that we’ve declared as urgent and important, such as watching TV, updating our Facebook and Myspace and Twitter pages, checking email, gossiping on the phone, loading mp3s on our music players, etc. all pull at us. They all pull at our attention, distracting us away from the things that are truly important to us………things that will bring lasting happiness and fulfillment to our lives and the lives of others we have yet to come to know.

Whether we recognize it or not, the information that we expose ourselves to, fills our inner space on some level, and affects our emotions and desires.

And if we are not careful, we can easily rush through life, while spending our precious time on this planet focused on that which does not matter……and then wonder where did my life go? Why do I feel unsettled and easily irritated? Why do I feel unfulfilled and incomplete? And then we die wondering.

If you are here, breathing and reading this right now, then you have been blessed with this day, to wake up! Wake up and take control of your destiny, starting with what you focus on and allow into your life………despite of your age.

Are You Living The Life That You Want To Live?

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This is a call, a challenge, a plea if you will…….for all of us to step back periodically from the hectic pace of life to reflect on the life we are living.

Ask yourself right now:

  • What is it that truly matters most to me?
  • What provides me with a sense of meaning and happiness?
  • What do I want or need?
  • What are the thoughts or beliefs that are getting in      the way of me living the life I really want?

Take a moment. Even though the kids are asking for help with their homework, or the looming work deadline is causing a mad flood of all the things you still need to do to race through your mind. For just this moment, ignore the ping of the text message you just received, the thought of what you promised your husband or wife that you would do and completely forgot about that has a pull so strong that your entire body seems to want to pull itself from the chair on which you are sitting so you can take care of it and check it off your list. Just pause. Breathe.

Do you love yourself enough to create space for the things that are most important to you instead of just reacting and responding to the things that appear to be urgent?

Do you love yourself enough to create space for you?

As you allow yourself to stop and just be, with yourself, what do you notice? How does it feel? Can you feel your breath breathing you? Can you feel your heart beating and the bubbly flow of energy pulsing through your body? Do you notice the places in your body where you are holding tension, holding on to stress that is coming from somewhere outside, or even from the voices you internalized over time that tell you that you “should” do this or that? Can you relax that part of your body ……your shoulder or neck or even the knot in your gut? How would it feel to be you if you did?

The point of stopping is to turn off that autopilot that seems to take over our lives when we don’t pay attention. It can drive your car from home to the office with such ease that suddenly you find yourself pulling into a parking spot even though you spent the entire trip thinking about the conversation you had with your son or daughter or housemate the night before and you realize that you can’t even recall the drive. It is definitely useful at times…..to be able to brush your teeth or fold the laundry or do the dishes without having to focus on what you are doing. It frees up mental capacity for other activities. The other thing it does, though, is allow you to easily pull yourself from the present moment and off into some memory of the past or some imaginative future. It keeps the train running smoothly along the tracks, without assessing whether the tracks are heading in the direction of your choosing.

By being clear about what matters to you, what you value, your vision for your life, even specific goals, you can set your intentions……for your personal and your professional life. Your intentions will serve as the touchstone to come back to throughout the day or week. They keep you focused. They keep you moving in the right direction, looking where you want to go.

Can We Accept what We Can’t Change? Wooohooo….my 100th Post!!!

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To accept what life hands us on a moment to moment basis in a state of quietude, without emotion, with the ability to transcend is probably the most difficult path of being human. We all attach ourselves to life through emotions, cravings, greed, ego, pride, and conceit. We are terrified to fail, to hurt, and to die. In fact our three greatest fears (from which all other fears arise) are fear of not being loved, fear of rejection, and fear of dying. If we could accept our worse possible fear from a place of balance and understanding we would soon realize that all of life is simply an opportunity to grow and learn. Life is meant to be a spiritually learning path made possible through earthly interactions. The risk of not living fully presents a far greater failure.

Finding balance and accepting life as it presents itself to us is the path of yoga. Life is seen as an opportunity to gain wisdom. Our only true goal in this earthly life is the attainment of wisdom. For in the end it is all that we have as we depart.

Wisdom cannot be found without the ability to live and take the risk of living. Take love for instance. Without taking the risk to love and be loved we miss a tremendous opportunity in life. If the worse should happen and we should lose the love or not be loved in return, we at least have known love and knowing love is a wonderful part of the human experience.

To accept with balance we must learn to detach from the emotionality of attachment, control, and fear. To detach means that we are able to sit quietly and observe what comes into and out of our lives with a joy that transcends the emotionality of anger, greed, deceit, and pride. Void of the emotionality we are able to let go by accepting and thereby gain insight and knowledge rather than getting lost in fear and anger. Life becomes a process for learning. We realize that the only way to know true love is to know the opposite. We can never know a thing until we know the opposing force. A thing only has meaning as it relates to its opposite. So joy and sadness are both opportunities to learn and experience and it is from learning and experience that wisdom is gained.

What is The Missing Ingredient in Your Life?

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The missing ingredient?

The ingredients aren’t hard to obtain, but the trick is knowing how much of which ingredient to add and at what time. ~ David Thorton

Have you ever prepared a dish only to realize too late that you left some vital ingredient out?

Maybe it was the sugar in a batch of cookies or the yeast in a loaf of bread. Everything seemed great until you took a bite and suddenly the missing ingredient was glaringly obvious.

Life itself also consists of recipes, even if allowing for liberal innovation to them. There are recipes for success, for example, with certain vital ingredients to achieve it. There are recipes for great marriages and good health and lasting happiness as well.

The Vital Missing Ingredient

But to some degree or another, we’re all missing some of those vital ingredients in the mixture of our lives. We live life on the verge. We’re nearly where we want to be, but not quite.

Very often, we’re doing all we need to do … except that one vital thing that will make all the difference.

It’s not that everything in our lives is out of whack. We’re simply missing a key ingredient: the sugar or yeast in the recipe. Often, all we need to do is to make that last change, start doing that one thing that leads to dramatic growth and improvement.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Spirituality
A strong and vibrant spiritual life needs certain things to flourish. Certainly, we can meditate and pray and serve others. Those are important parts of a rich spiritual life.

But like sugarless cookies, it’s missing a key ingredient when we don’t set aside time on a daily basis to read from spiritually uplifting and inspiring literature. The difference is palpable. We’re simply less in tune, less plugged into the divine.

Health
We can eat all the right foods and work out every day. But if we miss too much sleep for too many days in a row (which happens on occasion to most of us), it doesn’t matter how many vitamins we pop, our bodies feel the difference. The vital missing ingredient needs to be added in the right amounts before we can feel our physical bodies operating at peak performance.

Happiness
We can be the brightest optimists and the most positive thinkers, but when we allow something like impatience to get the best of us, our happiness will be predictably lack-luster. We feel it inside. We’re less happy, more often.

And while the ingredients to a well-rounded and deeply fulfilling life may be baking up pretty well for you right now, when even just one vital ingredient is left out of the mix, our lives can simply come out tasting a bit underwhelming (professionally, socially, emotionally or otherwise).

What’s Your Missing Ingredient?

Chances are you already know what that one missing ingredient is that if applied would notably change your life.

For some, it may be overcoming a fear or having a regular date night with their spouse or working out regularly. For another, it may be ending procrastination, forgiving a parent or learning the art of gratitude.

But in each of our lives, often sitting right under our noses, we have that one thing that can begin to change the trajectory of our lives. Add it, change it, start it or stop it and life will shine brighter than it has in a long time.

You Control the Recipe

Never let anyone make you feel like something is lacking in your life just because someone else has something you don’t or has more of it. If you prefer a cake without frosting, don’t frost the cake!

There is only so much time for so many things after all. To take your game to the next level in one area of your life may very well mean that you’ll be spending less time in another.

So be sure you’re clear on what you value most and whether any of those values are out of sync with first principles. Identify your priorities as you talk to those who will be affected by any changes you want to make to them.

Then, if you feel it’s the right recipe for you at this time, start adding the missing ingredients. But remember that you can choose not to add an ingredient as well, even if others are claiming it to be vital. But also remember that the missing ingredient will affect the recipe.

Beware of Counterfeit Recipes

Have you ever looked through a recipe book and spotted a photo of the perfect dish, then followed the recipe religiously and the thing ended up looking nothing like the photo? Sometimes we get images in our heads about what life will be like once we mix in a few ingredients as well. The we’re shocked when it doesn’t match the picture.

Here are a few examples of common mismatches:

  • I’ll be happy when I find Mr. or Mrs. Right.
  • I’ll feel good about myself when I can afford this house or that car.
  • I’ll finally feel complete when my parents apologize or my spouse changes or my wardrobe improves.
  • I’ll fall in love with life when my soul mate falls in love with me first.
  • I won’t feel so lonely once I have kids.

This is only a tiny sample of false associations that can lead us down self-defeating paths, so be crystal clear about what is truly missing. Then identify the obstacles and rewrite the solutions around them.

And then, as you start to mix in the missing parts, over time, you will come to see that assumptions you’ve made about your own limitations have been wildly exaggerated, that you can fashion an amazing life of accomplishment, love, passion, meaning and joy by just a few tweaks to the recipe you’re currently following.

Afterthoughts

If life for you seems rather bland, or is not quite where you want it to be, if some aspect of your life (your finances, marriage, social life, character, happiness) is lackluster, chances are you’re not missing much.

It may very well be just one small part, a single step, a single omission, one ingredient that’s missing. Figure out what that ingredient is, make the proper adjustment, and watch what happens!

YOUR TURN! So, what’s the missing ingredient in your life? And what are you doing about it?

Tune in to Radio Show Interview ~Love Doesn’t Die by Angela Brent Harris (Chirpie)

I hope you’ll enjoy listening to my radio interview with TogiNet Radio. Just click the little arrow above, play, relax, and listen.

Here is an excerpt from Love Doesn’t Die that I want to share with you especially how I got the nick name Chirpie from my dad, page 37……   “As I became older, I saw a lot of my father in myself. I always thought that I was rich, not in monetary wealth but in being content. I was happy with who I was despite the problems and obstacles along the way. I would be thankful for family, to have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat and a job and that was all that mattered. I became more spiritually aware as I got older. I connected with my Dad in that sense too. I grew up in the Catholic Religion but in my late thirties, I became interested in Buddhism, heights of meditation, aromatherapy, and the healing effect of crystals. I didn’t take these spiritual teachings lightly; I began to learn more by studying about my curiosities and later became a Reiki Master and a Crystal(Chakra) Healer.

I shared this with my Dad, but he would only smile and just say that I was just beginning spiritually. He would say, “Chirpie, before I leave this earth, I will teach you all you need to know”. My dad called me Chirpie, because he said that I was always happy-go-lucky, and that I never seemed to be bothered by anything. He compared me to being a happy little bird chirping and soaring through the sky.”