Sometimes stress gets the better of us (especially this time of year, with the holidays flying in fast!). We all at some point get anxious or sad or mad or any number of fear-based emotions. And then finding peace and happiness can be a trick for us all.
Even the big hubba-bubba spiritual gurus go through this. Which always makes me feel better. Not that they’re feeling bad, but just to know they’re flesh and blood like the rest of us. That they too sometimes question how to find peace of mind.
I so admire the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. His sweet spirit comes through with every step taken, every word uttered, every smile from his eyes and lips. But I remember a story where he was speaking at a church about peace, of a need that lay unmet, and he got heckled severely and finally walked off the stage. When asked why he did so he said anger arose in him. And he couldn’t be effective when angry.
That comforted me on so many levels. And I think of that now when I’m ready to snap, and most of the time I can walk away. Okay, a lot of the time. LOL.
Of course we all know ways by this point to calm ourselves of whatever emotion is getting the better of us. Deep breathing is always the first step. Walking away is another—whether literally or figuratively. But some circumstances require more than that.
So, what’s a conscious person to do? Four things:
1. Meditate. I know it sounds corny, but it’s the sure-fire fix for me. And it’s not just the breathing, which helps. And not just the beginning with prayer, whether to a deity or just repeating a peaceful thought. Although that helps. But the connection that goes from right brain to left and back again is strengthened through meditation. And that makes you calmer.
2. Call Somebody. If the first things don’t do the trick, call someone close and vent. Say it out loud. Get it off the old chest. I have very close friends I can do that with—and they with me—and sharing makes it easier. This is a tenant in 12-Step Groups and there’s a reason for that—it works.
3. Scream at the sky. WARNING: This must be done when no one will hear you and get hurt!
There’s an old spiritual text that I just love called Right Use of Will. It’s tough to follow (exacting-wise) and takes a strong warrior’s heart to practice. But man, does it refashion your backbone and help you to forge a better path. But anyway, a major premise is to get your anger out. Yell and scream and tell god or the trees how angry (insert emotion) you are and how right you are to feel this way. Yada, yada, yada. The only caveat is to do this without doing harm to yourself or anyone else. Funny thing too, it’s catharctic. When finished you feel washed out but cleansed.
4. Wine. When done with everything else, a nice glass of Pinot at the end of the day is delicious, relaxing, and joins you with Bacchus in a celebration of how good you did by letting all that loose. Of course, I think you should have a good glass of whatever you like at the end of the day anyway. And have I told you about this wonderful Merlot/Syrah I found at the Red Caboose Winery . . . .
Woops! There I go again, off track and on the wine path!
And here’s one of the reasons I love, Thich Nhat Hanh, as he encapsulates this so poetically:
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”
How do you ease your mind?