Why Should We Practice Inner Peace?
We can look at this from a few different angles. Suppose that we were to take a bucket and scoop up some water, including a bit of muddy sediment, from a lake. The water is a bit murky because the sediment has been mixed with the water and is in motion. If someone was to ask what is inside of the water, would we be able to tell them? We might be able to make some good guesses. Maybe there's a piece of a tire, maybe a shoe, or a license plate, or maybe a fish. In reality we would have to wait for the sediment to settle for us to really be able to see and then know.
Because our minds are always active and moving while also being pulled and pushed here and there, trying to get things done and organize it all at the same time, we don't always see the deeper and more subtle parts of what is going on inside of "us". Perhaps this is a little disturbing when we first think about it, but it is because of all this mental movement that we have stress, anxiety, pressure, loss of memory, confusion, fear, distractions, inability to concentrate for long periods of time, non-productivity, loss of self esteem or position, irritation, misunderstandings, etc. The list goes on and on.
Every creature searches for happiness. But not all ways lead to sustained happiness. So we need to find ways that work! How, then, do we stop searching and find happiness? Well that's just it; we stop our mind until it stands still! We let the sediment in our mind, in who we are, settle-and then we will see and know what's going on. That is what meditation is. Anyone from any religion can do this, easily and with neutrality, and still consider themselves upholders of their faith.
Inner Peace or Meditation is also a way in which we get to truly know ourselves. We learn who we really are, and what we are doing here. Sometimes the big problems have the simplest solutions. And, as you will see, meditation has both physical and spiritual benefits. If you just want to relax, let go and do something productive in your own moral and ethical development as a human being, meditation provides that opportunity. It has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, increase alertness, help decision-making, improve organizational skills, enhance awareness, and boost energy.
Many meditators have more energy than they know what to do with: You will, too, when you learn how to let go and not force or seek control of everything in your life. All the previous energy used in trying to fight the stress, irritation, and frustration is now excess for us to use at our disposal. For those on the spiritual journey, meditation gives access to the deepest parts of ourselves and our place in the universe around us. It is the way to our complete understanding and the highest degree of happiness. No matter how delicious we can try to make meditation sound in order to tempt you into meditating, this is a fruit that is meant to be eaten and not just described. In the end, it is not for anyone else but you yourself. Meditation removes the blindfold, the darkness that covers our eyes from the truth. Meditation generates the inner light that gives us vision to see just what is really happening around us. And I think that, in itself, speaks for itself.
A Few Obstacles You Might Encounter:
There are five main obstacles that most people who begin to learn how to "stop their mind still" encounter along the way. They include, using technical terms:
- and Skeptical Doubt.
So how do we fix these problems? Simple, just stop the mind still and don't let them bother you!
For those who need a bit more explanation:
Perhaps you want to think about this or that. You might feel a pull that you have to do something or think that something needs to be done, especially before you think you will forget it. Practice letting go and knowing that meditating "right now" is our current priority. There is a time and a place for everything. Stick it out, let it go! Things will come up on their own, by themselves. We are finding things that already exist within us; we just need to create the right atmosphere and condition so that they will arise by themselves. The more we still our mind in a well-rounded way with relaxation, delicateness, softness, and calmness, the faster we get results. Like many other things, they come when we least expect them.
Many times we might be frustrated or irritated in meditation. "Had a bad day, things just aren't going right, and meditation is not helping!" Sometimes things just need a little time to process themselves. Be compassionate and content with yourself and your current state. Go in deeper to that contentment and satisfaction along with the current effort that you are displaying. Enjoy the meditation; use it as an escape from the outer world. Also, don't try to force yourself through the meditation. If you are really heating up, go take a little break, stretch it out, get a cup of water, or whatever else suits you, and try again. Don't push too hard; you don't want to pop. But, know that no matter what is happening outside or inside, no matter how many disturbances you may have, the real peace and stillness lies beyond that, beyond our senses, deeper down in the silence within us.
Sometimes you just may feel too lazy and without energy to meditate. Try to make meditation the easiest part of your day. When you sit down to close your eyes, just make it easy and simple. Don't go rushing anything with meditation; take it step by step, and enjoy it. Satisfaction is a key to persistence. Just make it easy, and smile while you are meditating because you don't have anything to lose by trying; you have everything to gain. Not only that, if you really make it easy and learn to let go while following the steps, you will notice just how much more energy you have, and that will give you a lot of encouragement. Some of the time, we might be distracted and seem to be in one stream of continuous thought. Just let the river flow, don't get caught up in it, and gently remove yourself from it. Don't yank yourself out; we don't need to force anything. Know that your purpose is to still the mind with softness and gentleness. Don't go pushing anything. It is possible that you might also worry about your development. "Why haven't I improved...This isn't working...etc." Let it go. Just by putting the effort into the practice, you are guaranteeing yourself success. You might as well "put it in writing", but it is progressive. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Find your pace, and go with the flow. The main point is just to be content, satisfied with the moment, still, soft, caressing, delicate, and stable within. Let go of using the eyes to see within, and don't try to think it out with the brain or thoughts. Feel from the inside-out. Open yourself up and let go of the issues arising from within. Don't be attached to them. Know that your point in sitting down is to find some inner peace. Keep it simple. Rest the mind within the body just as you would place a leaf on a table and stand back. It stays still by itself. If you turn on the fan, or open the window, it will fly all over the place. Keep it simple. If you get too distracted, slightly open the eyes, and go back to the beginning. Building a firm foundation is essential-please do not overlook it, and keep up the motivation and consistency.
As we said before, just by putting the effort to practice, you are guaranteeing yourself success. You might as well "put it in writing". But it is progressive. Stick with your routine, and don't make it difficult. Make it simple, easy, and enjoyable. You will know you are on the right path when you have a combination or variation of some of the follow indicators: one-pointed fixed concentration, feelings of emptiness or hollowness, softness, gentleness, delicateness, stability, joy, happiness, contentment, equanimity, a sense of release, and an open and free feeling around you. Don't be too critical and analytical; don't be a cynic. "Just stay still!" said Mom. It took Thomas Edison over 1,000 tries to make the light bulb. But, he eventually found the way; he didn't give up, and we can be sure that he had a few doubts along the way. Mr. Edison started from scratch; here you already have the method, the formula for success, just stick to it, and you will get the results. You have the match box and the sticks; it is up to you to ignite the fire within yourself for yourself. Over time and practice, you will learn how to put the pieces together in the way that suits you best, and so that it always bears fruit. Remember not to rush anything, and enjoy the process. Keep it simple.