3 Great Lessons to Learn about Inner Peace – Earlier the Better
Life is a continuous learning experience. We all come into the world with the sole purpose to learn and grow. Eventually, we all, barring few exceptions learn in many different ways. Our parents, teachers, colleagues, and many others who come into our life teach us in one way or the other. Besides, our life is full of experiences which also provide us lessons. You all will agree we learn more from our adversities. No one is immune to such trying times, they may even hit us hard on certain occasions.
If we are sensitive and responsive, we learn quickly from those challenging experiences. However, some of us even don’t learn from those eventful experiences. Unless we learn certain basic lessons of life, we may keep on making the same kind of mistakes, or face failures, or may encounter hardships in life. Throughout our life journey, we learn but some of us learn some lessons quite early in life because of life’s conditions. Otherwise, many of us learn quite late but all of us do learn lessons from the life presented to us in many different ways
If you want happiness, stop searching for it in the outside world!
Everyone for certain desperately wants to be happy. But unfortunately, most of us keep looking for happiness in the outside world. Sadly, we presume happiness will come once we have all the comforts and material goods. To a certain extent, it’s necessary to have money but once our basic necessities are met then happiness is not proportionate to the wealth and material goods we acquire in life. Those who are rich and wealthy, almost every year, travel to exotic places of the world like Switzerland, Venice, and Rome.
They sincerely feel they will become happy and satisfied through those visits. It’s a widely held misconception that happiness and contentment will come when we acquire huge wealth and then spend lavishly on them. They feel the wealth they accumulate, the luxurious house they acquire, higher status and prestige they earn in society will bring happiness in the future. That’s the reason, they chase those things and can go to any extent to acquire them. The fact is we are living in a highly materialistic world where the yardstick for success is meant to create more mental stress and resultant unhappiness, certainly not happiness. Let’s be clear about what’s happiness. It’s a feeling of contentment. It comes when we feel satisfied, at peace with ourselves, grateful to God, and eager to experience more of life.
Happiness is of two kinds. First, we may feel conditionally happy on a day-to-day basis, and secondly, there is long-term contentment that runs deeper. We feel good, elevated, joyful, and generous when we are happy. No doubt, all of the ingredients that lead to happiness lie within our minds. Nothing from the outside world is required. So here lies the reason. When we chase wealth and material goods with the hope that these things will bring happiness, we are grossly mistaken. Therefore, we must look for those things which give us the feeling of joy and contentment like nurturing true relationships, low expectations, and right priorities, learn to manage mind and thoughts.
The moment negative and distressing thoughts enter the mind, the better we neutralize them.
(Otherwise, we get trapped badly in negativity loop)
We are what we think. The quality of life depends on what kind of thoughts we entertain from moment to moment. Our mind is a thought-generating machine. However, we are, most of the time, completely identified with our thoughts and we hardy observe our thoughts in a non-judgmental way. This is the main problem; we all are self-absorbed and lost in our thoughts.
One thing we must remember that most of our thoughts are self-centered, which means they are related to I, me, and ‘my’. These are I-thoughts.
The degree of selfishness differs but we are basically selfish people. We are always promoting and advancing our own interests. Besides, we keep on constructing our own stories, mega-story where ‘I’ is the hero/heroine, who never fails, commits a mistake, or can’t do anything wrong.
As long as we don’t face any distressing or challenging situations in life, everything is fine. The problem comes when we are faced with negativity/problems in relationships, mental and physical health, financial conditions, working environment. In those moments if we fail to manage our thoughts, here they are negative and part of I-thoughts, we will get trapped badly in those thoughts. When we try to suppress them or divert our attention to other activities, those thoughts will come more frequently and strongly. We must avoid getting trapped in such a situation, which is known as the ‘ironic process’.
We should therefore neutralize thoughts before we fall into a negative loop of thoughts. We should either accept the situation as it’s presented to us or replace it with positive thoughts or be aware and mindful. Otherwise, such a situation may lead to serious mental illness like depression and anxiety or people become so mentally sick that they even go to the extent of committing suicide.
If we really want inner peace in life, then ‘get separated’ from the mind
Outer reality is nothing but the reflection of our own inner world. Whatever is happening inside the mind is getting reflected in the outside world. If we are happy and contented then the outer world is full of joy and happiness. On the contrary, if the mind is depressed, sad or distressed then the world around us becomes unfriendly and hostile. It’s just of matter of how we perceive and interpret life’s experiences from time to time. Each one of us interprets the situation differently. For any incident, different people will respond or react differently.
If we take things non-judgementally, as it’s, then no one can suffer. However, it’s extremely difficult to take things, in a neutral way, I mean ‘as they are’. The reason is our complete identification with our minds and thoughts. There is literally no difference between ‘me’ and ‘my thoughts’. I am ‘my mind’, for all practical purposes.
Every now and then, we come across situations, where negative thoughts, relating to regret, hatred, anger, guilt, aggression, etc trouble us. They may make our life miserable. If we don’t handle those thoughts carefully, it will invariably lead to overthinking. No one can escape from this mental characteristic. Due to strong identification with the mind, we don’t know when we overthink. When we do, it’s the stream of harmful and distressing thoughts that fill our minds.
We only ruminate or worry when we are trapped in unpleasant conditions. If we want inner peace, then we must learn to dis-identify ourselves from our minds. If we observe our mind by ‘being mindful and aware’ then we can easily handle those negative thoughts. This needs to practice ‘mindfulness to become more mindful and self-aware.
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