e provide floatation therapy and meditation – both proven tools for allowing more peace. Floating is a fast, effortless way to our inner zen and has many benefits. But the reality is we can’t just relax in the float room 24/7, so what I am about to share will help you experience inner peace in everyday life if applied. It is based on my own personal experiences and learning from many years of stumbling around and failing forward. Some of you might relate!?
You can listen for the next twenty minutes and hopefully take away some useful strategies or if you want a deeper appreciation then you will have the opportunity to apply what you are learning as we go along.
Habits that get in the way of inner peace.
It’s very much a normal human experience to want to avoid the uncomfortable and seek more pleasurable experiences. But, this habit in itself creates greater distance from inner peace. Because behind the uncomfortable feelings there are stored unprocessed emotions that will continue to resurface. When we have a strategy or a way to process these stored emotions as they arise then, we can more easily accept things as they are and find more peace in each moment.
What do the wise know about peace?
According to the sages, inner peace is available to everyone. It already exists inside us. Because peace lies within us, the journey to experiencing more of it is an internal job (and potentially an eternal one ;))
The delightful Pema Chodron says it beautifully:
Let’s get practical
You might like to pick something small that irritates you, something that comes up reasonably regularly. For example someone puts the toilet roll on back to front!! Not something that has steam coming out your ears, but something that you are happy to work on internally during the this talk. And hold it in your mind…
Now, we are just going to do an internal test run the here for a moment. Ask yourself: am I willing to allow more peace around this without changing or manipulating anything or anyone outside myself? Because, if we are willing to allow just a smidgen more peace in than what we initially felt then, we will be moving toward peace.
Trajectory versus current experience
When we are able to make tiny changes, even ones that may sometimes seem like they are insignificant, then our trajectory changes. Like if an aeroplane leaves Melbourne and is heading for London and changes its course by just one degree by the time it gets to Europe it is going to be approximately 281 km away from London. Small changes in our lives over time make a significant impact on where we end up.
Veering toward peace can be challenging as we release old ways, but it frees up time and energy to put towards what we value most e.g. relationships, creativity, health etc.
Strategies for accessing more peace
Allowing inner peace is about bringing more of our natural state to the forefront, it’s always there, it just appears clouded over. Like the sun is always shining, even on a cloudy and drizzly day it is still there.
I’m now going to share with you a three strategies to pull back the clouds on your inner peace. Even if you only manage to apply the first one you will have influenced your trajectory towards inner peace. Depending upon the situation and where you are at, you can either apply these strategies in the heat of the moment or wait until you have created more space to dive in. The first strategy always needs to come first but the second and third are interchangeable – just see what work best at the time.
Peaceful strategy one
Acknowledge what you’re experiencing
If we don’t acknowledge what we are experiencing then we have very little capacity to create change and tend to just stay on repeat and run avoidance strategies until the pain gets too great for us to bare. Psychologist Carl Jung said,
So, acknowledging what is going on for you is a vital first step in moving forward.
In my own journey toward inner peace I would say that awareness has been 90% of the journey because this is how I bring the power back into my own hands, so I can respond rather than react.
It’s a powerful step. So if you came up with an example earlier e.g toilet roll on backwards bring that situation to mind now. If you didn’t have an example you can join in now. Notice what is going on in your mind and body, then take a moment to acknowledge what you are feeling. If it is a thought that you are experiencing then ask yourself what is the emotion around that thought? Give yourself a moment to consider this.
For example if you are feeling worried acknowledge this by saying to yourself “I feel worried” or you might be feeling righteousness or exhausted or agitated. Some of you may have already noticed that just in the simple act of acknowledging the emotion that it has perhaps subside or shifted. We will pick up again on this state in the next step.
Peaceful strategy two
This strategy is like weeding the garden. You can just nip off the top of the weeds and they’ll grow back within a week. Where if you pull them out from the roots they may be gone or may take months to resurface. The deeper we dig them out the less likely they are to grow back. You don’t just weed the garden once and all the weeds are gone we need to revisit the garden. Sometimes seeds of weeds blow into our garden from our neighbours also. So be patient and persistent as you weed.
This self-inquiry is getting to the root of your current situation. If we can resolve it at this level then healing and more peace can surface.
One way to do this is by asking ourselves powerful questions. I’ve found a powerful question to ask is: What is the unmet need here?
Time to inquire
So, you’re back into your non-peace state. Now ask yourself: what is my unmet need here?
Trust what comes up. You can deepen the exploration by asking what’s behind this need, is there a deeper need?
Whatever comes up, support yourself to meet the need e.g. time out, speaking up, getting help… it could be anything, just be open to what comes up for you. Try not to think it through – it’s more a felt sense. Follow through in your own time.
For example, sometimes I get grumpy and impatient at the end of the day. When I stop to ask myself what is my unmet need, it dawns on me I starving!! I’m ‘hangry’! ?
So to support myself I get some food – problem solved.
Peaceful strategy three
Pivoting towards peace
Most people are living a busy life loaded with expectations, resistance and negative self-talk which keeps us stuck in various states of non-peace. If we pivot towards peace then we don’t need to be swamped by these feelings. Instead we open a whole spectrum of other states that we can include in our experience. This can feel very vast and freeing. Which sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
So, what is pivoting towards peace?
It’s choosing what else you’d like to be experiencing and expanding your awareness to include it too.
To get an understanding of what I means by ‘expanding your awareness’ we will do an exercise using our hands and then we will apply to our own example.
Close your eyes. Hold your hands out in front and bring your attention to the sensations in your left hand (may wish to close your eyes, anyone having trouble scrunch it into a fist). Now slowly and mindfully bring all your attention to your right hand…. Now expand your awareness to notice both hands at the same time… Now make your left hand into a fist noticing both hands at the same time. Take time to notice how different sensations/ states/ emotions can be noticed simultaneously (left fist tight and right hand relaxed). There is no trying here it is simple act of noticing two experiences at the same time.
Now we are going to put this into action with our own example. So, pick up where you left off in strategy two or if you have moved right on through that issue then you could pick something else to work with.?
Sit upright and bring yourself back into that emotion (some version of non peace), feel it in the body, notice the sensations (they might be uncomfortable, disturbing or feeling unsettled) that is part of the process. Now introduce a state that pivots you toward peace. This is a gentle exploring, just trust what comes up. You are looking for a very small even tiny step toward peace e.g. maybe try on being slightly okay, let go a fraction, even relax, …perhaps you can turn the corners of your mouth up a bit, or you may be able to accept. Just sense that peace is in the distance somewhere, and you are turning ever so gently toward it and rest in that with the state of ‘non-peace’ at the same time.
If nothing is coming up that’s okay just sit with it quietly for a while in case something does comes up.
This is not about getting away from the state of non-peace. It’s about noticing that two states can co-exist. Just relax and allow both experiences to co-exist.
Give yourself some time to notice what happens, just stay within the body. Be gentle with yourself as you open your eyes and comeback to here and now. You may like to reflect on what you’ve just experienced?
Sometime this process can take just a few minutes or can take half an hour. As we build the muscle holding two states at the same time doesn’t necessarily become more comfortable, but it does become easier.
Bringing it all together – peacefully 😉
Remember, to acknowledge your experience first – and then use pivoting towards peace and/or self-inquiry as they work best for you.
You are your own best guide, so try out the different approaches and see what works for you in certain circumstances.
Of course, if you find this all the weeding too confronting you can just come and float where all you have to do is relax!
Thank you for joining me. I hope each of you manage to apply some or all of these pointers into your life one small and gentle step at a time.
I would like to close on a message from Adyashanti a spiritual teacher;