Awakening to inner peace, even if there isn’t much out there

Those seeking inner peace can very often find it hard to attain and sustain when “out there” there’s a lot going on that disturbs their peace of mind. With the events occurring today, that can feel even harder, as many feel anxious and depressed by what’s happening. Yet in a way, for the seeker it is dramatic, but that’s nothing new. The world of the ego, which specialises in drama, is usually at it in some way!

Managing the mind - man meditating
Managing the mind – man meditating

What’s perhaps important today is that many people need to awaken. It seems to the present writer that the times are propitious. When there’s serious things happening, it arguably creates a greater urgency. Lots of people say, “there must be a better way”.

Inner peace can still happen

We can still find our space of peace and calm. Different people have different ways of doing it. So long as it works and serves us.

In meditation, which is encouraged by us as a way forward, a still point can be found. One can find a centred state, grounded, at peace, balanced, in equipoise. It’s even as simple as the space between one breath and the next.

Between polarities, between divisions, between angst and alienation, there’s a space. As Rumi wrote,

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there”.

Practices like meditation, or yoga, or tai chi, or extended prayer, as a few of many others, can help us achieve a mental balance which we can use to help us in the face of challenges.

We can come to know who we really are. Then we aren’t attached to the drama of the ego. We know how to be aware, to witness it, and to let it go.

Out of the shadow of ourselves

One might say that all that’s going on is due to other people, not us. But is that totally true?

We’re not separate from the outside world. As was pointed out in a previous post, we are really connected. Our challenge in part is to reach beyond the ego world of separation and see and experience the connection.

Mention was made about judgement towards others in the last post and how we may judge others by our belief systems, prejudices, values and perceptions. According to Carl Jung, this is also a function of the Shadow, the disowned part of ourselves that we project on to others. Other people are mirrors of ourselves. They reflect back to us parts of ourselves that we are, perhaps, not comfortable with.

What happens “out there” is in part a reflection of what happens “in here”. The dis-ease and dys-function currently afflicting the world is a reflection, at some level, of our own, which can include what we disown.

We’re a part of the whole. There’s really unity but we don’t experience it as such, at the level of the ego.

The exercise can be to ask ourselves, “How much am I a part of all this?”

To the extent that a flutter of a butterfly impacts across the globe, the “butterfly effect”, that one small event, it is thought, can impact a large, complex system, so too does what we each think impact far more widely.

As Gandhi said,

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

So, let’s look within too.

It’s our choice to let go

Central to this work is awareness. With awareness, we can see and rise above the ego. We are already awake. It’s about becoming aware that we are awake and to use it.

With awareness comes responsibility and choice.

We always have choice: we are creating what occurs, at some level. We are extraordinarily creative beings.

This is a process. It doesn’t necessarily happen all at once. That can be ego again. Patience and humility can reward us. We need to give it time. So one needs to be kind to oneself, to love oneself too!