Nobody can give us inner peace. It would be nice if we could buy it by going on a retreat or vacation, but this is not a reality. While we might enjoy a peaceful vacation with no arguments in a beautiful, peaceful setting—this doesn’t mean that we experienced peace in our mind.
It’s hard to shut down our inner clamoring. Researchers believe that we have anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day, or 35 to 48 thoughts per minute. Not only do we have all of our own thoughts vying for attention; add interactions with family and friends, work environments and all other external stimuli, including television, radio, email and the internet. We live in a state of constant overload.
Our overall peace can be enhanced by learning to practice meditation or steady breathing. There’s a reason the word “practice” is used: It takes lots of practice to quiet our minds. I’ve been practicing for more than 30 years and I’m still no expert. Sometimes I succeed beautifully; at other times, I feel like I’m failing miserably—yet I force myself to try again. This is because I figure the discipline might help make me stronger for another day, when hopefully the quiet will come more easily.
Learning to practice basic steady breathing is a perfect way to begin to feel more peaceful. You don’t need to know any yoga-style positions or worry about taking deep breaths (although good deep breaths—in through the nose and out through the mouth—are stress-relievers). Research supports that just practicing steady breathing reduces stress and increases relaxation. This makes sense if we’re aware of how often we inadvertently hold our breath—particularly when feeling mildly aggravated.
Closing our eyes in a quiet spot—a car, bathroom, bedroom or yard—all work. This shuts out visual stimuli. Next, focus on steady, in-and-out, even breathing—counting the ins and outs and keeping breathing even. Just a few minutes at a time is all that’s necessary. The only thought process is: “I’m breathing in and out.” If you notice a different type of thought pop up, gently remind yourself: “Later. Now I’m breathing in and out.”
As a Taoist proverb says: “We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.”
I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience the author of The Silver Disobedience Playbook ✨ I’m a Perception Analyst who shares my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People