Is your mind scattered? Or are you in control?
Or during meetings and discussions at work, do you focus on the important things and do not get side tracked by less urgent things or silly questions that people ask?
How you are able to stay calm and composed internally will relate direct to your work performance, your ability to manage stress and the end, how people know you as.
But on the other hand, how would the mind be able to stay calm when it is constantly distracted by outside stimuli – all grabbing for our attention and buying power. Most of the time, we are not used to spending time by ourselves in peace and quiet. The mind starts to get restless, listless and we may turn on the TV, raid the fridge, listen to the radio, call some friends, go online – anything but just sitting quietly by ourselves.
When we lose the ability to retreat into inner peace and quiet, the mind will start losing its strength and power. We are unable to resists the tides of the world that drags us here and there- and we turn ourselves into whatever they want to turn us to- so that we will be buying more products and services to be what we think we have to be. When we exercise, we must have the IPod blasting loud music to our ears, we feel we have to change our sets of clothes and colour according to the fashion trend. We find that just sitting with our loved ones, sipping tea and if we have nothing to talk about, the silence seemed deafening. It even feels boring and we start thinking about our happening friends.
Then years later, when our loved ones are no longer in our lives, we start to miss the quiet times spent together and curse ourselves why didn’t we value those times.When we are no longer calm inside, we loses the ability to listen to ourselves and listen to our hearts. And to do what is right.
Now, many people talk about ‘listen to your heart’, in this type of context: “I saw this gorgeous XX brand of handbag being sold- I know I cannot afford it, but I know deep down in my heart I must have it- so I bought it even though I have to be credit card debt. It’s worth it- I know it’s worth it.”
Dear friend, this is not listening to your heart. That is listening to your desires, succumbing to your desires and listening to your ego- because you will get to show off that bag and will be the envy of your friends. Your ego is like a child- if you spoilt it and give in to whatever it wants, it gets bigger and bigger- it gets your life out of control, made you burn bridges because you are too proud to tell someone that you cared about that you’re sorry or that you are wrong.Anyway, back to the bag, few months or even weeks, that bag is chucked into the corner of your cupboard. Another bag now occupies your mind. Sounds familiar?
Developing mental clarify and strength are important and the benefits we derive from it is priceless:
- it helps us to manage the unexpected rough patches of our lives, which we are bound to face some time or another
- it helps us to stay focus and prioritize things. Making sound decisions
- Or even though we make wrong decisions in life, there’s self acceptance and we are able to move on
- we become a better person and learn to manage relationships better
you become less fearful and worried
- you are able to calm yourself very fast, even in stressful situations and be able to think with a clear head.
Some people becomes very terrified towards the end of their lives because it’s automatic for the mind to start to recall back significant the bad/good deeds that they have done in their lives. Some, who had led a full life, are very calm and peaceful.
How to develop mental calmness
Ready to learn the methods? They’re simple but hard to do.
First, in your own quiet time, learn to get used to relaxing your body. It can be achieved through massage, stretching exercises or yoga.
Once your body is relaxed, close your eyes. Try not to think or plan anything.
One method that I know works- just be conscious of your breath- be conscious when you breath in and be conscious when you breath out.
Breathing in- mentally repeat “in”
Breathing out- mentally repeat “out”
Or you can recite your God’s name- substitute the “in” and “out” with the recitation of your God’s name. Such as “Ma- ry”, “Je-sus”. For me, I recite “Bud” (in breath) and “dho” (out breath).
Start small, 5 minutes or 10 minutes per day. And during the initial stage, do it on the same time everyday (eg the moment you get up from bed or before you go to sleep) so that hopefully it becomes a habit.
The challenge is to know your breath without getting distracted. This is often the hardest part and many people finds it too ‘boring’ to continue. But once you get past that hurdle, your mind will want that quite moment.
But once you are able to struggle on, it will graaadddduuuuallly become easier. Really takes time and patience- it can take months or years. Then you try to practice while waiting at line, stuck in the jam, prepare your food or just have nothing to do.
You will then know the meaning of real happiness, inner peace and calmness. Sometimes, we wonder why people choose to stay in monasteries or retreat into a cave or forest. Why people are able to give up everything in life to opt for simple life. There is great value to strengthen your mind, to develop inner peace- no money, no matter how much, can buy that.
For most of us, with a family to support and other commitments, we will still be working to earn a living. But at the same time, work to earn our inner strength. You will know what I mean when you have inner peace. It’s really worth it.