In any given day, we are often faced with multiple challenges, thrills, annoyances, excitement, distractions and delusions. We ponder about our pasts, feel anxious about our future, daydream about our desires being fulfilled and sometimes stare into oblivion. I honestly admit that I am no exception to some or all of these frailties.
I have been living in the US since 2009 but since the CoVid-19 pandemic began, I have seen people go through a sheer roller-coaster of emotions, fear, paranoia and at times hope. On a daily basis, I read a fair amount of current affairs across the world and it is often a challenge to a find anything positive in the daily news cycle. The world in general is going through a time of chaos and utter confusion with the country’s (and the world) biggest health and economic crisis overlapping with underlying systemic issues with race, inequality, ideologies, climate change and religion.
But amidst all of this, I have often wondered how do we strive to find our inner peace? How do we catch a break? Is there a magic pill? If there is one, I certainly haven’t found any one-size-fits-all solution. Although I have come across a few ideas that I have personally benefited from.
Unplugging helps de-cluttering
“When we throw out physical clutter, we clear our mind. When we throw out the mental clutter, we clear our souls” – Gail Blanke
There is no dearth of distractions (-ve or +ve depends on your perception) in today’s internet-frenzy world. Social media, news alerts, Netflix, Amazon, and the list goes on and on… Our minds love getting distracted and when life becomes overwhelming, we run for meditation retreats, nature trails, spas, spiritual journeys, vacations to unplug and recharge. But how about we disengage and disconnect for a set period of time every single day? There is ample evidence on the benefits of taking a few minutes every day to get away from any electronics and, if possible, humans too. Worth trying and I can vouch for its benefits.
Find a creative pursuit
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” — Kurt Vonnegut
Humans are creative species at its core. Reading, writing, painting, sewing, sports, musical arts, dance etc. etc. Recently attending a self-purification event and listening to a young teen playing the piano with sublime grace and ease, I felt a surge of happiness to see how this individual had tapped into his creative force and help others in the process. Finding a creative pursuit or tapping into your old hobbies certainly helps in channeling our energies in productive ways. No wonder, we all got excited to see an alert that os.me has started this new feature allowing people to use their creative skills to share their thoughts in the forms of words.
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily” – Mike Murdock
Most of us love that extra hour of sleep, hit the snooze button several times and slip into the blanket (not kidding but sometimes to just see the climax of our dream). It certainly takes effort to pick ourselves out of bed before dawn to engage in something creative and let the creative energies of early dawn help us jumpstart our day. I cannot overstate the importance of having a set daily routine and how it changed my schedules, thought process, motivations. My early morning meditation and chanting practices on a daily basis gave me a structure and something to look forward to. Over time it became second nature and a way to dis-engage myself in some solitude.
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” – Ekhart Tolle
In the end, the vehicle (body) will run out of gas (life energies) and we shall all turn into dust. Since time immemorial, our wise sages have reminded us about life’s impermanence and transitionary nature. We ought to remind ourselves that all we have is this very moment. We have an option to hold on to all the news-cycles, emotions, anger, hatred, paranoia … Or simply let go... Definitely not easy but if we try hard enough for long enough, it becomes second nature to us.
These are just a few ideas that have worked for me and offcourse I have no doubt there are plenty of other ways to find inner peace during challenging times. Like I said, in my humble opinion, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The trick is to take that first step towards glory; for each person to understand the gravity of every singly moment, value it, cherish it and find ways to blossom it. Finally leave the rest to grace, God, Guru or the Universe.
I am an optimist and I have no doubt that there is always light at the end of the dark and gloomy tunnel. In moments of despair, fear and hopelessness, lets remind ourselves that this shall pass too. Whenever and for how much ever long we are in the tunnel, lets strive to make the journey as memorable as we can, with diligence, patience, love and compassion.