Finding peace amidst the chaos
Updated: Dec 25, 2022
My favorite illustration of the Buddha is one where he is seated in meditation, his eyes closed, head slightly bowed, a look of complete serenity on his face while a tornado or whirlwind is all around him. The caption beneath the illustration was, "and not a single hair on his head is disturbed."
Many of us can relate to life often being a violent storm, and feeling embattled. But is it really possible to find that inner peace and calm that Buddha demonstrated amidst the chaos of daily life? After all, even ten minutes of watching the news can make you lose your center, fuel your anger, and drag you down.
Does a peaceful state require blind acceptance, to look away from the upheaval and daily droll of negativity around us or is something else afoot?
Buddha knew you could be in this world but not of it. He was a master at navigating. He was aware the secret to a successful and peacefully adventurous tenure on 3d earth was to master oneself. He did this by entering samadhi - - going within and tapping into the cosmic web of life, the wellspring of unlimited Source energy available to each of us. Now, I know there are many articles and experts out there convincing you of the difficulty of attaining such a state. But Buddha was born on earth to help the masses. Not to bog us down with dogma. With the wisdom, clarity, and fortitude one finds by going within and tapping into the universal life force, we can begin to appreciate the world around us with fresh eyes. Buddha also recognized the human potential - - that we are all powerful creators.
We are masters, really, with the ability to create our own reality. Most of us just don't realize it and so we mindlessly go through life feeling harangued, shackled, and victimized. Feeling thusly, we see the world through those eyes, releasing or maybe even spewing endless streams of negativity, frustration and fear willy nilly without regard for the impact it has on our world around us. But what if you realized that your every thought, word and deed only creates more of it. It creates your experience. Every cause and thought (misaligned or not) you release or toss out....the universe neutrally just reflects it all back to you.
When we are feeling angry, depressed, or anxious, everything around us mirrors and reflects that state, fueling more of the same. Small wonder why news outlets broadcast endless doom and gloom. Rarely are stories of peace, cooperation, faith in humanity, puppies and butterflies featured. As powerful receivers we take in all their glut. Then being the fabulous co-creators, we begin to create that very reality seamlessly many times without even realizing it. The next time the news forecasts something terrible like a hurricane blowing through, why not set the intention that the hurricane will be nothing more than a rainstorm carrying rain to the areas that need it most. That intention connects with the intentions of other like minded folks.
When we are in a happy state, our environment reflects that. When we are feeling on top of the world, we feel like singing or whistling and our environment sings right along. Until it doesn't. The key to sustaining this state of being is to go within. And there are many ways to do this. Find one that fits you and grow with it. Then, expand your toolkit. It's a lot easier than you think.
DEEP CONSCIOUS BREATHING
Start by taking a couple of deep breaths through your nose and allow yourself to imagine breathing in the healing light/energy of the universe all around you. Diaphragmatic breathing is best. Breath in and expand your stomach and ribs so your belly fills with air. Feel it moving everywhere in your body, rejuvenating every cell and fibre of your being. On the outbreath contract your belly and, release any stress you may be holding back to love and light.
Just let it go, back to love and light. This simple trick puts you in a receptive state to receive more. All healing work begins with breath.
RECOGNIZE there exists this inner wellspring connecting us to the larger cosmos. Everything you will ever need or desire is already within. We just need to consciously tap into that flow of high vibrational energy within.
Do your best to eliminate the chaos. If your life is chaotic, or just unpleasant, start by eliminating what is discordant as best you can, one bit at a time. Addicted to the news? Watch half of your usual intake and spend the remainder of your time sending positivity, love and light to the world. Those with high octane jobs or children/teenagers often have unpredictable schedules, but building in some conscious me-time can help you soar. Even five to ten minutes can make a world of difference and change your perspective. You will gain the wisdom to make other small but effective changes in your life that lead to big rewards. This even works with other seemingly impossible situations like chronic lack of abundance, or struggles finding your soul mate. Go within.
PUT YOURSELF IN TIME OUT
Back when I was practicing law in San Francisco, everyday was work, work, work, nonstop. I had a set routine that had me rising every morning, catching a shuttle to the Bart station to catch a train to work. Once at the office, there were phone calls to return, emails to review and respond to, clients to see, and endless paperwork. Rarely did I go out for lunch, and often worked long past my lunch hour only to find that most restaurants and cafeterias had already closed. Worse, I had an open door policy. My office door was open 99% of the time. I invited my staff and other attorneys sharing office space to have access to me which resulted in regular interruptions. But there were times when things got too hairy that I needed relief.
Those times I would turn off the light, close the door, roll out the yoga mat and lay quietly behind my desk in the dark for a few minutes. Suit and all. Other times I would carve out five or ten minutes to listen to meditation music in the dark with my eyes closed until, in my vivified state of mind, I was ready to rejoin the world. Those moments were golden. I found I had more clarity, and even enthusiasm for the work and I looked forward to the respite.
When we find the strength and inner peace of going within, tapping into the endless flow of high vibe energy available to us, you find yourself in control. Not even an aggressive client or reckless driver cutting you off in traffic can disturb your flow. You create your inner state of being. It's easier to maintain control of your own emotions and dictate better choices. You will also find your inner state of being will reflect your outer state of being. You and it are one. Your environment then magically syncs up with you.
The key is taping into that ever present wellspring of universal chi or qi or reiki that is available to us all when we go inward, get quiet, and be still. The more successful you are able to accomplish this, the more you find the inner peace that the Buddha taught was accessible to the masses.
What other ways can also help us achieve this state of inner bliss in the midst of the daily struggle that is your life? Walk on the grass or sand barefoot. In another blog article, Healing with Nature, I share why this is such an effective healing method as shared by the guides.
Even in our concrete jungles one can find beautiful and free refuges of peace. For instance, UCLA's free and beautiful botanical garden in Los Angeles, Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park or Balboa Park in San Francisco. Anywhere you can manage to find a patch of grass, kick off your shoes and let your bare feet connect to the grass and earth even for just a few minutes. When you sit in the grass or sand, touch it with your bare hands. Mother earth is a powerful healer and like you, a conduit of this life renewing energy.
HEALING WITH MANTRAS AND PRAYER
As a Nichiren buddhist, I grew up with a powerful mantra that I since learned was "a sacred utterance not of this world". That mantra or utterance is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. The literal translation is Devotion (NAM) to the Mystic Law (MYOHO) of Causality (RENGE) through the Buddha's teaching or sound vibration (KYO). While the literal meaning is not very instructive, its power when consciously chanted to connect you directly with Universal Source energy or consciousness -- the power that creates worlds-- kicks butt!
Another sacred utterance I have since learned of is "Ohm" or "Aum" which represents the vibration of the universe. Hearing it being sung or intoned by Tibetan monks can literally raise the hair on your arms as it resonates throughout your being. You get the picture.
Let us not forget other prayerful traditions consciously recited or sang or chanted as there were many spiritual teachers throughout our very long and challenging earth history who succeeded in transcending reality (being in the world but not of it). Whatever resource you use, the key is consciously. What is your purpose in your prayer and action? Realign yourself with the highest purpose and intention as if you were praying right alongside your guide or spiritual teacher/master. If you are buddhist, chant as if Buddha was beside you doing the same. If you resonate with the Christ or other loving being, call them in and collaborate with them.
I know many folks who pray and chant constantly but never seem to make much headway or they keep coming around to the same old same old. That's because while they are good at asking, they are not being open and receptive. They think they are. But really all they are doing is reinforcing their suffering or pain in the form of prayer.
"I need rent money, I need rent money, I need rent money". "I want to meet my soul mate...." The universe merely reflects back this problem of lack. Instead, try consciously praying or chanting, state your situation once, or twice for good measure, then LET GO. As another spiritual pal says, "Get out of the way and Allow! Allow! Allow!"
There are countless beings in the seen and unseen realms waiting to help you, providing wisdom and guidance. Think of them as your spiritual teachers in the light or as I like to call them "My team in spirit!" But if you are not being receptive, it's like covering your ears and endlessly going "La! La! La! La!" As Nichiren says, your prayer then becomes "an endless painful austerity". So allow...
I would be remiss if I didn't mention meditation. My personal favorites are guided meditations where your experience is only limited by your imagination.
They can provide the perfect respite among hectic times. The more peace you garner, the more you will receive.
So go within and create some magic for yourself. See what works best for you. The insight and payoff is huge. For when you are at peace, you become a magnet for it and inspire others to do the same. Don't just take my word for it. Experience it for yourself.
Feel free to share in the comments below what works for you. Remember to be respectful. There is enough negativity and bias in the world. We need your light!