Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.
Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others.
-- Gerald Jampolsky
All Emotions Are O.K.
Peace of mind is not an abstract concept like honesty, justice, freedom, or god, which are all very much a subject to interpretation, but a concrete human experience. Being smart about it won't make it happen, but doing something -- mostly mentally -- will, although god himself knows how much it might help if you smiled a little more often, ate less and better, and had enough sleep.
However, unlike the popular belief may suggest, and much of that self-help literature is guilty of it -- peace of mind is not attained by the method of elimination. Namely, it doesn't just "happen to us" when we eliminate all those things that make us pissed or out of whack one way or another.
Just like health is much more than an absence of sickness; and happiness is much more than kids finally going back to school, mortgage being paid off, or mother-in-law taking a long trip to Europe.
Even a holiday to a beautiful resort is not a guaranty for having some peaceful, undisturbed time, because that waitress might ignore us for little longer than our patience may tolerate. Let's face it, we simply can't count on circumstances to be favorable and to secure a smooth ride on our path.
Now that we got the picture, let's get to the meat of it by stating the alpha and omega of a lasting peace of mind.
Just for a moment, if you can, reserve all judgement and try to allow as possible that all emotions are O.K. If this statement let your interest survive, stay with me to find out more.
Most arguments are about programming; most resolutions are reached through a process of unlearning, then re-learning.
-- Oli Anderson
Programmed How to Feel
Whether we realize it or not, we are never worried about appearances and events themselves, but about our possible reactions to them.
Our cultural programming has taught us which triggers are right to make us laugh, to cry, to be insulted, even what should make us fall sick. Look at this crazy proof if you are having hard time to believe it. Namely, there are certain primitive societies where a person will instantly die if their witch-doctor points a bone at them.
Such is the power of social brainwashing.
And please, don't deceive yourselves that it only works in primitive tribes. It's only that in our times the methods are more complex, more subtle, even call them sneaky, while matching our level of advancement.
So called "negative" events don't stand by themselves as irritants -- period. For example, in some societies people's religious beliefs make them rejoice when their dear ones die, because they are, allegedly, "going to a better place". Now, whether it's a fact or not remains for all of us mortals to be seen, but to them it's a part of their holy belief, allowing their nervous system to experience joy.
We, Christians grieve, experiencing it as a painful loss, tormenting ourselves selfishly for not having the pleasure of that person hanging around our life anymore. Now, needless to say, while that person was alive, in so many ways we never expressed that much of a care.
Those eulogies are sometimes a piece of hypocritical crap, and our grieving is mostly a converted fear over our own precious asses having to end up like that one day -- let the truth be told.
Thus, thanks to our upbringing and its manifesto of the appropriate emotional reactions, we are basically scared of ourselves -- that's right, scared of ourselves and of our imminent responses to situations where "we have no say whatsoever". Like, what fool would feel indifferent about having a flat tire while rushing to an important meeting?
And yet, when viewed from a little different angle, the whole event is merely suggesting something to be done, the rest of it is a pathetic emotional excess. For, all that the situation is really calling for is fixing that tire and giving a call to the person we are supposed to meet, with a simple explanation what has happened.
None of that swearing and cursing our bad luck will make that tire fixed, and we all know that. What may be less obvious is this need to get acquainted with the true nature of those crappy emotions.
So, let us do a little exercise right here and now to sink into the very texture of our lousy emoting. At its face value it may look like counterproductive. as we would instinctively rather feel less of it than more of it.
But, strange thing about emotions is that the closer we look at them the more they are fading away -- as long as we are just watching, not wallowing. And that mental action should be enough to make a big dent in our habitual knee-jerk reactiveness.
Has it ever crossed your mind that we might be exaggerating about those "bad" emotions, giving them too much room in the hierarchy of our mental forces? Would you be willing to believe that we have conditioned ourselves to take them way too seriously -- just because we never took a deep enough peek into their real nature?
Genius is the ability to renew one's emotions in daily experience.
-- Paul Cezzane
A Truth Telling Exercise
The following exercise is necessary for establishing a gut-realization, not merely an intellectual one, how emotions lose their power when we stop running away from them.
For, it's a little less known fact that it's not the emotions that are hurting us -- but rather our resistance to them. Emotions are merely a surge of energy giving us a sense of readiness to deal with a situation, but it's ourselves who give that energetic surge an interpretation, while passing it through a mold of our belief system and giving it an additional crappy suchness.
Again, from our culturally tailored life programs we know that certain situations automatically call for certain emotional responses. So now we are going to perform an act of non-resisting, but instead squarely facing that energy attached to an emotion.
Think of something unpleasant that happened to you in the past. Feel that emotion echoing that unpleasant memory. Then, doing your very best glue your attention to the "feel of it", by trying to locate its physical presence.
Is it something in your solar plexus? In your chest? In your throat, or deep in your head? Keep observing it like a scientist would examine its texture under a microscope. Non-judgmentally, just see it as a bodily sensation, and try to give it some quality. Is it a kind of burning? Is it more like a pressure, a heaviness, something behind your eyes ready to squeeze out some tears, or something moving inside your stomach pit -- like butterflies or tightness?
Stay with that "felt sense" for a while, a kind of detaching yourself from it, as a cool observer curious about its energetic fabric. The more often you perform this exercise, the sooner you will get that gut-realization that all emotions are nothing to be scared of, because now you are perfectly able to face them for what they are.
You don't have to label them and slave to that label -- like "disappointed, insulted, sad, angry, guilty, embarrassed"...whatever. In your memory let it stay as a "felt sense" which has no label -- not even "crappy" -- something easy for you to face and stay with it for as long as you want. You don't have to fight it anymore. It's just another something in your human repertoire of experiencing.
It will then turn your whole inner reactiveness around, desensitizing you from any possible punches that life may throw your way. Which is just another word for attaining a peace of mind.
For, once that we stop unconsciously running away from our emotions, it has the same effect as curing ourselves from a phobia -- by facing the thing that produces irrational fear in us.
I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
This Time with a Conscious Intent
With a bit of a useful practical wisdom we might as well start viewing all life as merely a state of mind. In a sense, life is a series of cognitive and emotional experiences to which we are attaching some qualities.
All the people, known and unknown to us are nothing but our own mind's constructs. And all our perceptions, memories, beliefs, attitudes, every single feature of our wakeful state are easily changeable---once when we know that we can.
And yes, we can. I know we have been told otherwise -- by those who had been told otherwise so they couldn't know any better.
We have been changing, refining, altering our nature for the most of our life, not paying much attention to that process actually happening. We took it for granted that we think about some things differently today than we did when we were teenagers.
Unfortunately, the process didn't impress us enough as our conscious act of advancing ourselves, but we took it for something "automatic", mostly stirred up by new, more complex demands of life -- something stimulated from the "outside".
Well, it's time for us to see that ability to change as something conscious, as being at our disposal all the time. We can junk our unusable pet theories, ideologies, even religions at the drop of a hat. Peace of mind is not just another ideal unreachable by standards of a culture that's gravitating around suffering, strife, hardships, disappointments, and a cruel realism.
So, we might as well start experiencing the whole reality as our inside job happening within our personal space. Think of that space for a moment, will you. It's a space that's in this all vast universe reserved only for you, no one else can occupy it. A space where we can be some creative mini-gods implementing our own rule of psycho-physical functioning -- not merely some programmed puppets in a soap opera that we call our life.
Indeed, with an exception of being physically violated, that space is our own shrine of our volition which no one can touch if we don't allow it, and in ways that we don't allow it.
With this understanding we can make our peace of mind become a proverbial "piece of cake", leaving outside of our personal space all garbage that doesn't belong in there.
What does this realization give us?
Well, some would even call it a beginning of a spiritual enlightenment -- but let's settle for a lasting peace of mind, shall we.
Video Below Depicting the Topic Above
Please Take My Poll
© 2018 Val Karas
Val Karas (author) from Canada on October 23, 2019:
Allen -- My inclusion of you as a dear friend is not based -- as you know it -- on some nonexistent "long" conversations, which would be an exaggeration on my part. But rather on something more subtle which we sense about others' that may not be fully expressed, but is intuitively perceived as depth.
We are both of an age to be familiar with the fact that some people you may see almost every day, even share some of your inner life -- and yet, never feel as close as to some others that you never met, but your gut is telling you that you would make great friends.
I felt it most often with some authors in the fields that are dear to my deep interests and to my personal evolving. But then again, I felt it with some others -- for one or another reason which I may not even define.
You are a great human being, Allen, and I respect you a lot for your quest to "find that something" -- which is putting us in the same boat.
So, don't drop those oars, old buddy, keep rowing, I am doing the same, and just look how our little boat is going in the right direction.
Allen Edwards from Iowa on October 23, 2019:
Val..First of all, let me express my gratitude for you including me in a list of people that you consider a friend, and a person that you enjoy conversing with enough to be concerned when "said friend" drops out for a while.
I have absolutely no intention of criticizing any of your creative writing -- let alone anything in the realm of poetic renditions of which I lack any sembalance of the abilty to construct and portray words in that format so as to convey my thoughts.
This particular piece -- as is the case in so many, if not all of your creative works -- has again, struck a note of harmony in my present state of looking for that next -- new -- "Pink Floyd" moment.
Thank you again for keeping me in your "circle of friends"..and please keep creating, as I need more of that of which you have been chosen to divulge to those of us who have yet to discover IT.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 30, 2018:
Bill---Yes, nothing else will do but a conscious intervention in all that programmed fighting the life---while we see so many things go against our comfort zone. Oftentimes, just by becoming aware of what's going on will bring about the peace of mind.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2018:
I found peace eleven years ago when I decided, and it was a conscious decision, to stop fighting life. Once I gave up the controls of the universe, I was allowed to kick back and actually enjoy life.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 24, 2018:
Hello, Allen, my friend---It's great to see you again. Thank you for the nice comment and for the compliment about my "younger looks". That's what Hawaii and the sight of those hula-dancers do to some of us old geezers. Can't wait to go there again, but in this meantime I'll be looking daily at a framed photo with myself embracing one of those "female rejuvenators". (Just kidding, my wife was taking the picture, so we had no chance to exchange phone numbers, LOL)
Allen Edwards from Iowa on March 24, 2018:
Thanks Val..it's been a while since I've been here, and I have great joy in observing you continue to provide the soothing words that resonate so synchronous to my emotionally disassociated existence. Also, on the lighter side..your new profile picture, appears to me, that you are, in fact, becoming biologically younger!
Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 22, 2018:
Natalie---You are so right. We may try to chase the unwanted part of our nature through the door, and it comes stampeding back through the window. Befriending that alien in ourselves just might give us a new lease on life--or perhaps give us a chance to live for the very first time.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on March 21, 2018:
Such a powerful article. We often let our emotions run our lives and we have conditioned ourselves to feel that negative emotions are intolerable. Thus, we do everything we can not to feel them but by pushing them away we feel them all the more when they return. Thanks for the article.
Robin Carretti from Hightstown on February 25, 2018:
Yes I agree I think if the world smiled more everything would be ever bonding with one another and so much more
Suzie from Carson City on February 24, 2018:
Hello there, Val....Good to see you again. I have been busy, catching up on missed real life activities and it feels good to be back in the real world. I was beginning to feel far too technologically "wired!" LOL.
Wow, amigo! I'm in awe of your energy and concentration power. You put quite a lot of effort into bringing this wisdom to your readers. Thank you. I always appreciate your wisdom.
I try not to think about all the years I spent, chasing the ever-elusive peace of mind, seeming to find it only when I fell into sleep from exhaustion! As I recall, as with most anything I want to change in my life, I had to reach a level of serious anger, in order to push myself into action. Unfortunately, I was one of those women who succumbed to habit, conditioning & repetition, all too easily.
Needless to say, it was a long-haul struggle. Did I make it? Well, my friend, the verdict isn't in. I'm still waiting in the wings to feel the victory. Or, wait just a minute. Perhaps I'm so confused, I don't even recognize peace of mind? Looks like I have a way to go, Val. One thing is for sure, I will not give up! Enjoy your weekend. Paula
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 23, 2018:
Thanks for sharing the interesting ideas about dealing with emotions, Val. They certainly sound useful. Attaining peace of mind is a wonderful goal.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on February 23, 2018:
MizBejabbers---Actually, I was not speaking only to the young generation, because there is enormous mass of baby- boomers and between who may get inspired by practically anything from a bartender's wise advice to a self-help bestseller.
Wisdom of peace of mind is not a guaranteed given to people of our age, and we don't "deserve" it, we have to cultivate it.
Anybody writing this stuff can only hope that a person or two of ANY age will gain a sudden insight. It's impossible to generalize with age groups, as there are some teenagers much smarter than their grandparents. And there are older folks who are quite demanding, obnoxious, ungrateful, which you seem to ascribe only to the young generation.
I have personally seen among younger people quite a few wise individuals who could teach a lesson or two about life to their parents and grandparents. Well, I was one, but they "knew too much as to enlist to my school", and I left them at it.
So, let's leave it at the fact that a writer's words never fill a need, entertaining or educational of all people. Some will dismiss it after first couple of lines as a sheer crap, and some others may find it useful and thought-provoking.
I believe that some other comments will prove me right. ---Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend, I always enjoy your smart comments.
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on February 23, 2018:
Val, I prefer to just put my mind aside and live in my consciousness, like looking through a window observing life. I don't even try to be a part of it anymore, and I don't miss participating in all the little games people play. At my age, I think I've earned the peace of mind that not giving a damn anymore gives me.
The younger generations have been so conditioned and spoiled by their parents to have everything they demand and have it right now, that I hope you are speaking to them. When you lay back and let life flow, you'll find that it comes to you. You don't have to constantly demand, demand, demand. But there isn't a book in the world that will teach a person that. It has to be experienced. Namaste, my friend.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on February 23, 2018:
McKenna---I am glad you found the article interesting. At this point allow me to suggest that you check on google and you tube everything about gluten sensitivity, because it could be a part, or even the main, but overlooked cause of your depression.
Don't expect from doctors, even psychiatrists to know about this, because it was not a part of their university curriculum. They are only into drugs and surgery, removing the symptoms, not very good diagnosticians when problems are stemming from dietary causes.
I can't tell you what to do or not to do, you understand that, but getting informed won't hurt.
It's great to hear how you are dealing with it, my friend, you have a fine mind and a spirit which will bring you the final victory over your depression.
McKenna Meyers on February 23, 2018:
Vladimir, thanks for this. It's so true we're obsessed as a culture to deny and suppress our emotions. I was put on anti-depressants and stayed on them for 7 years. During that time, my doctor never recommended that I go to therapy and discuss my depression, anger, and pain. She never suggested I find healthy ways to deal with my emotions such as journaling, exercising, and meditating. Then, when I finally weaned myself off the anti-depressants, I was back at stage 1 starting all over again. Now I know how valuable it is to feel everything. I no longer need anyone outside myself to validate my feelings as I once did--to sympathize with them or put their stamp of approval on them. They're mine to embrace and to deal with in constructive ways. I've finally made peace with them instead of fighting them.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on February 23, 2018:
Nikki---Thank you for reading, I am happy you liked the article.
Nikki Khan from London on February 23, 2018:
Amazing article on attaining peace of mind with exercise or therapy.
Peace of mind is very important in order to have a peaceful and successful life.