by Andrew Pacholyk, MS L.Ac, Peacefulmind.com
(from Andrew’s newest book, Lead Us To A Place ~ your spiritual journey through life’s seasons)
Peace. That place you wish to go to when all the world around you is in turmoil. Peace is the desired goal of most of us, the world over. For without peace, we are in constant conflict. It is often the situations that we put ourselves in, which create the greatest amount of stress or discomfort. Of course, peace is a two-sided coin. For if we did not know strife, pain, or imbalance, we would not find the motivation, drive, or desire to want peace of mind in the first place.
What is the choice for yourself? Peace is something you want to choose. I see some people who strive to create drama in their life and in others. This has a deep psychological connection to their own insecurities and unhappiness. This is a choice they wish for themselves. This is their choice. This does not affect your choice. No one affects your choice, but you. It is your obligation to find peace and happiness in your life. It is your decision. Not anyone else’s.
1. Peace is a practice. Peace is a desired effect we should strive for every day. It is an intention that we must work to manifest. It is a mental attitude we must choose to follow. Anything you wish to get better at, you work on. You want to get better at doing handstands, you practice. You want to hit the ball into the outfield, you practice. Working on bringing peace into your life is no different.
2. Motivate yourself with compassion, not anger. Rage is usually misdirected. Who does rage affect most? Ourselves. For the person or situation we are in raged with, usually does not affect this person or situation at all. They are either oblivious to it or they don’t care. So why get angry about it? You hurt only yourself. Practice self-kindness.
3. Drive yourself consciously. You are made aware of your “lack of peace”, due to whatever circumstance is causing the conflict. When you choose to be consciously aware of this situation, you can then choose to react differently. You can choose to not let this interfere with your path to peace. When you are not conscious about your feelings, you blindly react without thought. Choose to pay attention and react accordingly.
4. Conflict is the antagonist of peace. Internal problems that you allow, create blocks. These conflicts are governed by fear, insecurity, and a sense of feeling scattered. What is the real conflict here? Are you tripping over your ego? Is it due to the fact that you are being stubborn (with yourself or others?) As long as there is an antagonist, there will be a lack of peace. What will you do about it?
5. A peaceful mind comes from trust. Trusting has a Universal Purpose. It allows spiritual guidance. Peace is allowing your heart to sing without the ties that bind it to earthly issues or material traps. Trusting in yourself and a Universal trajectory is how you can choose to relinquish fear and accept the path.
6. Trust and acceptance complement each other. Accepting your path does not mean it’s a compromise. Accepting your path is the opening up of your heart, allowing for the journey to unfold. You can “trust” in knowing you are being led by the hand down the path you are supposed to follow.
7. Detach from outcomes and results. When we get involved in the outcome of a situation, we are then holding on to what, we believe, has control over us. Not letting life “flow”. Because of this, we are living life attached to the result of any given situation and it usually is the cause of our suffering. The practice of non-attachment simply means that your happiness is no longer defined by anything outside of you. You, therefore remain free.
8. Give up the control. The practice of non-attachment has you look at outcomes that you have no control over and choose to release them. Knowing a situation that you can control (consciousness) and a situation you have no control over (unconsciousness) determines your peace.
9. Attention to your needs. Peace comes from setting boundaries. You will need to do this constantly, as others will continually try to set your boundaries for you. You will need to be strong with yourself and spend time on what you need to make you happy. So often we put the needs of others before ourselves. This is wonderful until it starts infringing on our own time or feelings of resentment start to surface. Your needs must be met as well.
10. Affection for yourself. Self-love is not selfish love. Self-love is probably the most important love we can do for ourselves AND our peace of mind. It is very important that we love ourselves, first. When this truly occurs, the Universe allows all things to fall in to place very nicely. Spending even a few moments each day doing something that simply delights us and increases our feelings of well-being, makes it easier to do even more of our soul’s passion. This gives us the confidence to love and respect ourselves that much more.
11. Appreciation for what you have. If you do not find appreciation in what you have for yourself, then its time to stop and take a breath. Your peace of mind can be seen through a sense of gratitude for what you currently have in your life. If you are constantly chasing a better life, you are missing the best qualities of the one life you currently have.
12. Acceptance of who you are. You may or may not know this, but you are a wonderful and unique human being. Isn’t it time you recognized this? How often do you go through the day (mentally) beating yourself up, putting yourself down, or not valuing who you are? There is no peace found within this frame of mind. Not finding acceptance for that one-of-a-kind person you really are, overshadows the same peace you are trying to manifest. Self-acceptance cultivates a path to a peaceful mind.
13. Don’t worry, be happy. How many times have you heard this? And how many times have you laughed it off and not actually followed the advice? Every system in your body is affected by worry. Worry can only serve you well if you worry and recognize that a plan of action is needed. In stressful situations, you need to act on that plan of action. Most people worry about situations they have absolutely no control over. Yet, they stress about the outcome. A peaceful mind comes from letting go of the things you cannot control.
14. Cultivate your peaceful plan. We often know the kind of peaceful life we desire. We explain to others what our ideal life of harmony would look like… “living life on a beach”, “traveling the world”, “having a little cabin in the woods.” What we don’t seem to recognize is a plan in which to create this peaceful wish. Start today. Start small. But start planning how you are going to get to your “happy place.” Start by removing the obstacles that prevent you from only talking about it.
15. Look within. The distractions we seek for temporary happiness are simply that. Temporary. We seek to fulfill our lives with overindulgence of food, random acts of pleasure, nights of drinking and carousing, overspending on wants and desires. These fill an immediate need. Yet, some people find themselves, repeating the same acts week after week until it becomes a pattern. Once you break these habits that are as much an addiction as anything else, you will be more available to spend time looking at what really gives you long-term peace and happiness.
16. Expectation is the disillusion of peace. “The greater you expect things to be, the harder it is to deal with things that do not go your way.” Having no expectation is one of the greatest lessons we can accept. Embracing new ideas, no matter how different they are from yours, is a key step to allowing peace to thrive. Conflicting thoughts are not a threat. They can be a window of opportunity. Be available mentally, emotionally, spiritually, for an approach that may be different from your own. Ego and expectation are roadblocks. No Expectations = Endless Possibilities.
17. Problems will always be there. Guard your mind. One of the most constant things in our lives is change. Everything will eventually change around us. Life fluctuates. Our relationship could dissolve, we can lose our job, or endure the loss of a loved one. These situations are all possible and/or inevitable. When we change ourselves and how we handle these situations, this is when we find true peace of mind. Anxiousness and tranquility come from the same place in our minds. Take the time to cultivate tranquility.
18. You have full control over what you believe. Our free will is an absolute gift. Free will is our ability to choose between different possible courses of action. Free will gives us the opportunity to feel a responsibility, praise, or peace. It also gives us the opportunity to feel guilt, sin, or other judgments. You have control over which actions you freely choose to believe. Choose peace.
19. Keep hanging on to guilt, fear, anger, worry, resentment…and you will never have peace in your mind… or heart. It is not until you decide to let go of these “anchors”, will your spirit be light, free, and at ease.
20. Confidence, discipline, understanding, and flexibility…are the keys which unlock the gate to a peaceful path to trusting, accepting, honoring, and respecting your divine right to enjoying your own sense of peace and tranquility.
In conclusion, when we feel peace, our mind is clear and our spirit is calm. Our heart senses joy and we are at ease with everything around us. Of course, this fluctuates like a barometer, but the real test of ease is finding more times that you are at peace, than your heart is in turmoil.