Have you ever just observed a little baby or small child? How – when their needs are met- how peacefully and effortlessly they are just being in the world?
You and I were once like that too. Before we formed our identities and then became immersed and overcome with the world and our wants, needs and desires. And before anxiety reared its ugly head.
On the journey of finding inner peace and healing, as you learn to quiet the mind little by little and become peaceful with the present moment, you notice little things along the way.
Recently I was in a Body Pump class at my gym. The instructor is a nice woman, I’ve taken classes with her for years. And I know she only meant it in a helpful way when the shoulder work was getting hard and she shouted out to all of us: “Don’t be easy on yourself!”
That remark really resonated with me – but not in a good way…
We grow up and think we have to do it all, have it all, be it all. Life is complicated and we get stressed and overwhelmed. We have all the demands of our lives and our jobs and bills and commitments.
We are not easy on ourselves, not by any means. Hell, for most of my life, I was my own worst enemy 🙂
What I think we yearn for and need deep within ourselves is some peace and ease in our daily lives.
And if the outside world isn’t enough, we also have to contend with our inner voice.
That little voice in my head sputtering nonstop gibberish and making me feel antsy and bad all the damn time.
You know what I’m talking about don’t you? That little voice lives in your head too. I read somewhere that we have something like 60,000 thoughts a day, the majority of which are nonsense and often negative.
So yeah, that little imp just lives inside my head and berates me pretty much all day every day if I let it.
But I have found that as I continue to practice mindfulness and keep my focus on the here and now, I have these little gaps in my stream of consciousness where there is no negative mind stuff going on. I call this peace.
Eckhart Tolle teaches that once you get these glimpses of peace, they build on themselves, and you learn to enjoy some really nice stretches of time with no toxic and irritating mental commentary going on.
We were not meant to live as slaves to our thinking, addicted to negativity and in constantly fluctuating states of wanting and despair.
Being in Peace– that natural state of aliveness that we see in a little child or infant- is how we were meant to live.
And the only way to achieve this, is to be easy and gentle with yourself.
Little by little, you learn to make friends with being in the present moment. You learn to notice how to take one conscious breath. You breathe in and feel the cool air flowing right into your nose and feel as it fills up your lungs. Then you feel the pleasant release of a slow and deliberate exhale.
Being in this gentle, easy state of the Present opens you up to such a vastness of being alive…
You look at the sky and feel awe at the expansiveness of the universe out there. You see the vastness, and know that your bearing witness to it is in itself something worthwhile.
You remember what you learned in college- that you share molecules and elements with the stars in the sky, and you experience a knowing that you are innately connected with everything that makes up this world we know.
You can feel the aliveness of the seasons as you look at a mighty tree and witness how noble and perfect it is, standing out there in the cold. Day in and day out it stands and sways a bit in the wind with no signs of life. And yet you know within a few weeks, there will be buds and life anew.
I am so grateful that, while it’s taken me decades to figure this out, learning to live with present moment awareness gives me access to a state of inner peace and spiritual awakening that I only had brief and fleeting glimpses of before.
Remember you were once a little child, and thus innately still know how to slow down and be still and be at peace with yourself, if even for a single solitary breath. This you can do. This is how you start.
So be still and take one conscious breath. And feel the peace. And then maybe take another…
Root yourself in the breath.
By staying alert and keeping the focus on the present tense, you will find that inner angst melts away and the voice in the head stops. Then you can just look around and really see. And life becomes very rich indeed.
I wish you peace,
Listening to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (the audio version) taught me how to be in the present moment and learn the joy of stillness.