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Finding Peace and Stillness
By Ruth Osborn
When was the last time you were truly still in body and mind... completely in the present moment? Modern life encourages us to always be busy or diverted in some way. If you are not working then you are looking at your phone, running errands, watching TV, going to the movies... anything to keep you from just being. Yet, it is only in the moments of stillness that you can experience the clarity that comes with a mind that is calm and centred. Finding time
to be peaceful and quiet gives you the opportunity to re-connect, re-charge and re-energise. It is in this space of relaxed awareness that you will discover your greatest inspirations; the ones that lead to true happiness.
Your mind never stops thinking. It is generating about 50,000 thoughts per day, and many of them are meaningless or negative. Getting off of this mental treadmill allows you to get in touch with your true feelings and your inner wisdom. It also gives you an opportunity to process the past and organise your thoughts about the future. Stillness acts as a salve to your nervous system, allowing it to rest and recover from the constant stimuli of the modern world with its demands and endless to do lists. Taking the time to find inner peace is also the best way to re-energise so that you have the power to handle the tasks in your life with grace and ease.
So how do we find this blissful yet elusive stillness? Like anything else it takes practice – in this case the practice of meditation. By learning to meditate you become familiar with what it feels like to be in stillness. Once you know how it feels you can then find that same space of peace whenever you need it. Meditation can be simple and easy. Just set aside some time each day, even if it’s only for a few minutes, to be completely still.
It’s best to do it first thing in the morning before you turn on your phone, and before your mind gets cluttered with thoughts. There are many different meditation practices, but I suggest starting with the most simple one, which is to focus on your breath. Watch the breath as it goes in and out. When thoughts arise (and they will) gently bring you attention back to your breath.
Every situation in life presents you with the opportunity to make a choice: you can either become part in the chaos of the world or you can step back... remain calm... and move into stillness. Cultivating the feeling of stillness through meditation makes it possible for you to find that inner space of peace. It allows you to be still in your own body and mind so that you can bring calmness and clarity into the world around you.
“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.”
(Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha)