I stopped reading newspapers in the morning several years back. Instead of starting the day feeling overwhelmed, depressed and helpless, I felt it was better to have a quiet, meditative time that was centering and brought in my own contribution of peace to the world.
Stephen Covey’s model of how we need to focus our attention on our own Circle of Influence, within the larger Circle of Concern that we may have, appeals to my pragmatic nature. But in order to see clearly and respond appropriately, we first need to ensure that we are rooted in our own true nature, free of all the external noise that is distracting and blinding us. Sometimes, it does not even seem possible to take any useful steps. At such times, we could find ourselves succumbing to despair, unable to find a way forward.
Calm acceptance and embracing of “what is” comes with practice. While concurrently developing and strengthening our abilities for acceptance and implacable peace is advisable, here are a few basic steps one can always fall back upon in the immediate moment; to learn to breathe in what seems like a very restricted, impotent Circle of Influence and discover it is not that limited after all:
1. Tonglen Practise – Not simply following your breath, but actually Breathing in Pain, Breathing out Joy. There is a tremendous power in facing the troubles squarely and allowing them to transmute to a higher frequency with our attention.
2. Meditation – Benefits of Meditation, Transcendental Meditation in particular, have been well researched and the studies have shown not only significant improvement in the health and well-being of the meditators, including decrease in anxiety, depression and pain, but have also associated TM with lowered crime and conflicts, and improvements in economics, social trends and quality of life.
3. Prayers – There is an immense restorative power in connecting with a higher Source. While there are studies to show that those praying and prayed for have both benefited, there are also conflicting opinions. However, for those willing to test their faith, personal experience may be a better decider for you, than other research.
4. Blessings – We put out ripples of energy with our every thought and you can always choose to make them waves of blessings. If you need persuasion to try this, I suggest reading Pierre Pradvervand’s book, “The Gentle Art of Blessing”.
5. Heart Coherence – The Heart Math Institute has been doing some wonderful research and compiling the significant benefits of consciously making coherent the electromagnetic field emitted by our hearts. Their associated Global Coherence Initiative may also interest you: “GCI researchers theorize that when large numbers of humans respond to a global event with a common emotional feeling, the collective response can modulate the activity in the earth’s field. Cases in which the event evokes negative responses can be thought of as a planetary stress wave, and cases in which a positive wave is created could create a global coherence wave. This perspective is supported by research at the Institute of HeartMath, which has shown that emotions not only create coherence or incoherence in our bodies, but, like radio waves, also radiate outward and are detected by the nervous systems of others in our environment.” View the many free resources on offer at http://www.heartmath.org/free-services/free-services-home/stress-well-being-free-services.html
6. Metta (Loving Kindness) – Another Buddhist practice, well detailed at wildmind.org: “This meditation practice helps us to bring more harmony into our relationships with others, so that we experience less conflicts, resolve existing difficulties, and deepen our connections with people we already get on with.”
7. Deep Listening – Some of the deepest and profound healing happens spontaneously in the presence of a quiet, non-judgmental, attentive heart. Start with listening to your self. Then be available to another. One of the most renowned cardiologists in Mumbai had told me, “More than half my work is done when I simply listen to my patient. That’s what they really need and want. Their hearts are in pain because they feel they have no-one to talk to.”
8. A Course in Miracles is a text of great depth and wisdom. If studying it is too challenging, you can seek strength in its summary: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” For those familiar with EFT, I recommend tapping in these powerful lines. You will be amazed at the peace and stillness they can bring.
10. Access Consciousness – Posing the right questions can easily open up new possibilities for us and lighten us immediately. To start with, test and see if what you are feeling is your own, or has been absorbed from elsewhere. Ask yourself, “Who does this belong to?” If simply asking this makes you feel lighter, it probably is not even yours. Keep repeating the question until you feel better. Other useful and popular Access Tools are:
- How does it get any better than this?
- What else is possible?
- What is right about this that I am not seeing?
- What is good about this that I am not seeing?
Keep repeating these to yourself and you may be surprised at the new possibilities that emerge.
11. Chanting – The benefits of focusing on the positive meaning and vibrations of chants like “Loka samastha suhkino bhavantu” (May all sentient beings be happy) are to be experienced to be understood.
The above are listed in no particular order of recommendation. As you would have noticed, the approach ranges from effortless acceptance, with more emphasis on ‘being’, to active exercises that involves some ‘doing’. I believe different paths work at different times for different people. So choose whatever appeals to your beliefs and approach.
Know this – any return to your innate, default space of stillness – is a gift to the world. Because the outer world only reflects your inner space.
If you find any of the above useful, please share with others!
Related Links :
Youtube: Be Strong, Keep Your Faith Alive