How to Get a Piece of Peace in Your Life

Friday, May 20, 2005

Practicing Mindfulness

"Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances." -- Mahatma Gandhi

This loosely translates to a favorite quote of mine which has an anonymous author, "Peace is not a quiet place; it is what you find in your heart in the midst of chaos."

How do you find that peace? You begin with mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being AWARE. Aware of exactly what is happening with you in this very moment. First step: notice your breathing. Notice the sensations in your body. Notice how the air touches your skin. Notice the sounds around you. Be aware of this exact point in time. Focus on this. Center yourself on you and your body.

Your mind spends hours on other things and other points in time, such as the past and the future. Your body spends hours on its regular functions, automatically or by muscle memory. Our bodies store the stress that the mind experiences and many times we are not AWARE of how this daily life is affecting us. We hold our breath or have shallow breathing without realizing it.

Want peace? Take ONE MINUTE to try this exercise. Breathe deeply into your body. Do this when your day is most chaotic. Try it in traffic or waiting in line or even in the bathroom. Give yourself one minute of peace to see how it possibly can affect the minutes following. Maybe you can even spare five minutes in your morning.

Once you begin something, it can become your habit. See how it might possibly change your life a little, and you'll want to continue the habit. Begin your peace right now as you are finished reading this.