May 2, 2013

Four Tips for Living a Peaceful Life

Following on from last week, where we looked at the importance of building our sense of self-worth from within, this week we look at four ways to make our lives more peaceful.

To access peace, creativity and happiness, Deepak Chopra suggests we adopt a daily habit of silence, meditation and non-judgement, while also spending more time in nature.

1. Silence

If you’re like the average person these days, you spend a good part of your day connected to the world through the internet, social media, and your smart phone. If you are like me, you find it hard to simply be or to wait for someone without grabbing your phone and checking your emails.

Simply ‘being’ has become an art form. When Chopra talks about spending time in silence he is talking about not only disengaging from the world through speech, but also stepping back from television, books and social media. It is a call to spend time purely with ourselves and our thoughts.

He does warn that at first our internal dialogue will be turbulent and we may feel anxious, but he reassures us that this won’t last. When the mind does quieten, we have a chance to experience stillness, and from stillness flows greater peace.

Chopra suggests spending an hour a day in silence, and highly recommends experiencing silence for a whole day or an extended period of time occasionally. In the same way that silence can bring us peace, meditation can bring us greater awareness of how our body and mind is feeling and coping with day to day life.

2. Meditation

Chopra’s second suggestion for living a more peaceful life is to meditate daily. Ideally he suggests we meditate thirty minutes in the morning and then again in the evening. While this may be ideal, even ten to fifteen minutes a day is enough to feel the benefits of meditation.

Without taking time out to meditate, we rarely know how we feel. When we are detached from ourselves we often feel unhappy, anxious and unmotivated but without really knowing why. It can also be the reason why we become ill.

When we don’t know how we are feeling, we don’t know if the way we are living is supporting or harming us. By choosing to meditate each day we give ourselves an opportunity to gauge how well our life is working for us and we have the choice to re-align our values and actions if need be.

Some people find it easier to start with a meditation CD so they can be guided, rather than try to meditate purely in their own minds. If you don’t have any meditation CDs you can often find a good selection at the library or online, or alternatively you could attend a local mediation class in your area.

Meditation isn’t the easiest thing to do when you haven’t done it before. Our minds are so used to being active, especially with the excessive stimulus we receive from the media and life in general. The tip, however, is to persevere. The harder and more frustrating you find it the more your body and mind needs it.

The initial resistance felt when starting meditation is caused by our minds being too ‘tight’ and stressed. The more we meditate the more our minds loosen and the freer our mind is to relax, and to think creatively about our lives.

So if you feel resistance when you start to meditate just know that it means you are doing the right thing and keep going, it will get easier.

3. Non-Judgement

When I first saw this term ‘non-judgement’ I assumed Chopra was going to talk about not judging others, but surprisingly he was referring to not judging our own life and experiences. He explains that when we judge our daily experiences we are labelling them as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and that ‘When you are constantly evaluating, classifying, labelling, analyzing, you create a lot of turbulence in your internal dialogue.’

I was amazed at just how true this was when I started to noticed my internal dialogue throughout the day. I was constantly saying to myself ‘that’s good’ or ‘that shouldn’t have happened’ to events that were unfolding.

The reality is that things happen that are often out of our control, either positive or negative. Once these things have happened there is no point dwelling on them or judging them because it is done. All we can do is decide how we will respond to those events or circumstances.

By not judging our daily experiences it frees up energy to respond to our lives and to live a balanced and calmer life. When unexpected things happen that do throw us, Chopra’s suggestions of spending time in silence and mediation, will also help us to feel more grounded and more equipped to respond rather than react.

4. Nature

Lastly, Chopra suggests a good dose of the outdoors. He says, ‘Spending time in nature enables you to sense the harmonious interaction of all the elements and forces of life, and gives you a sense of unity with all of life.’

With so many people working in offices and at desks all day, it is not surprising that so many of us are disconnected from nature and from the outside world. We are disconnected from fresh air, sunshine and the seasons.

It is important to get outside and enjoy the elements as nature provides us with a powerful grounding energy that helps us find inner balance and perspective. We enter a beautiful life sustaining cycle when we spend time in nature as we exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen with the plants around us. It is a wondrous and vital exchange. It is an exchange that we so often take for granted and forget.

For some, spending time in the bush is their place of regeneration and peace. For others it is the ocean or their garden. The important thing is to spend some time in nature every day. Even if you work in an office, go for a run in the local park or sit in the sun when you drink your coffee instead of going back to your desk. Every bit counts.

By integrating these four tips into our day, we can move through our often hectic lives, feeling less frazzled and more energised and balanced.

Next week we look at Chopra’s second spiritual law of success, ‘The Law of Giving.’ Enjoy the rest of your week, and don’t forget to be silent, meditate, refrain from judging your daily experiences and go outside and enjoy the breeze and sunshine.


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