Peace of Mind---A Pearl of Simplicity Hiding in the Hard Shell of Disbelief
All Emotions Are O.K.
"Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others".---Gerald Jampolsky
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. As such, it is not something that we should try to be smart about, but do something, mostly mentally---although your god himself knows how much it might help if you smiled a little more often.
Unlike the popular belief, and much of that self-help literature is guilty of it---peace of mind is not attained by a method of elimination. Namely, it doesn't just "happen to us" when we eliminate all those things that make us pissed off 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 to 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.
We are even going to do a little mental exercise, with a possible labor pain of your mind giving birth to this entirely new realization about all emotions being just a little more than a physical sensation which, when focused on, evaporates.
Programmed how to Feel
"Most arguments are about programming; most resolutions are reached through a process of unlearning, then relearning". --- Oli Anderson
Whether we realize it or not, we are never worried about appearances and events themselves, but about our possible reactions to them.
Our cultural programing has taught us when is the appropriate time to laugh, to cry, to be insulted, even what should make us fall sick. 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 societies. It's only that in our times the methods are more complex and matching our level of advancement.
Negative events don't stand by themselves as irritants. 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, it 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----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 reactions 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 because we would instinctually 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?
A Truth Telling Exercise
"Genius is the ability to renew one's emotions in daily experience"---Paul Cezzane
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 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 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. Nonjudgmentally, 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?
Stay with that suchness for a while, a kind of detaching yourself from it, as a cool observer curious about its energy 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"...whatever. In your memory let it stay as a "felt sense" which has no name on it, something easy for you to face and stay with it for as long as you want. You don't have to fight it anymore calling it "bad". 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.
This Time with a Conscious Intent
"I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet".
--- Mahatma Gandhi
With a bit of a useful practical wisdom we might as well start viewing all life as merely a state of mind. By themselves they are only appearances to which we are giving 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 known 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 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.
A little note about the approximate name of my psycho-philosophy before I round up my theme:
In no other of my articles have I mentioned it, not to mislead the reader into "naming a category" where to place my views---since they are my own, just combining many different thinking styles.
However, if I would pick the closest one of those existing in the classical thought market---it would be stoicism.
That's why I picked the following video to give you the basic tenets of stoicism, where a reader of my other articles might recognize my mind-style.
Please see the following video, and even if you don't follow the principles to a point of creating a self-discipline, you may get greatly inspired in your quest for peace of mind.