Five Mindful Ways to Cultivate Peace in Ourselves

Cultivating peace requires a belief that it is a desirable quality of life.  And most of us who live in the modern world understand what it is like to live without it. (Afternoon commute on the interstate???)

Still, there are things we can do in our soul that can create a more peaceful existence.  Things we can put in place to make it easier to respond with peace in a given moment.

Keep short accounts. Every broken relationship...hurt...insult...times we were taken advantage of...they drain our emotional accounts. We can ignore our low balances or we can deal with things as they happen. This is often about going to the person who wronged us to settle the debt or writing it off. Not "forgive and forget" but "forgive and release the debt." Take it off the balance sheet. (Many times in order to keep short accounts we have to stop doing emotional business with those who continually bankrupt us.)

Travel light. We all have baggage. This may be things we've done (regrets), things done to us (abuse), or things we are afraid will happen (fear). It takes a lot of work to actually look at that stuff and deal with it so we can release it. Again, this would seem to be an exercise in forgiveness (for others or for ourselves) or an exercise in courage (not allowing ourselves to carry the worry that our past might define our future) and may take therapy, good counsel, and a lot of prayer to be able to get to the place where we can set that load down.

"Pick up your map. Lay down your gavel." That's a line from a Dirt Poor Robins song.  We have the choice to sit down behind a bench on high to judge or put on hiking boots to go somewhere. There is much more peace walking a trail than sitting in a courtroom. Judging is heavy work, so why spend mental or verbal conversation on the trying and convicting people. (Most of the time, it doesn't affect them anyway.)

Make time for silence. Silence is key in making room to deal with the items above. (Otherwise how could we even notice we have long accounts or are carrying baggage while busy running from place to place.) Turning off the television and taking time to simply "be" can prove a powerful practice for cultivating peace.

Set the stage. Soft music, essential oils, sounds of a fountain, having plants around and other props can cue peace. What our eyes see and our body experiences influences the mind and spirit. While setting the stage won't bring about peace on its own it occurs to me it can play a role in shaping a life characterized by peace.

Encouragement,  friend.  Peace is accessible. We simply have some work to do to get there.

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© Yogi with a Day JobMaira Gall