Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock
Have you ever been in stuck in traffic on a busy street and felt like it was just too much or caught up in an argument that was going nowhere? Ed and Deb Shapiro reveal how to focus on finding peace when the small stuff keeps getting in your way.
A great meditation teacher once said there should be no difference between meditating in a cave or in the center of a city, because peace is inside us and is not dependent on external circumstances. Although this is undoubtedly true, it is definitely put to the test when your life is full of chaos or anger.
Being in touch with your inner peace is not the same as being happy. When difficult or painful things happen, such as the loss of a loved one, you will not feel happy, that's for sure. But it doesn't mean you have to lose your peace. Beneath the tears and grief, there can remain a steadiness—an inner stillness—independent of the circumstances.
Maintaining that peace, especially when confronted with difficult situations, means being able to let go all the time, constantly, in every moment. You might say, "Don't even pick it up," for as soon as you begin to hold on, whether to resentment, irritation, hurt or anger, you create suffering for yourself. Your mind gets caught up in the emotion and you lose your balance. Letting go does not deny your feelings. You can feel all sorts of things, including sadness, joy, anxiety or laughter. The difference is you're not holding onto these feelings. They come, and then they pass. Like birds in the sky of your mind, let them fly away.
One of the greatest spiritual teachings is the awareness that all things are impermanent, that all things come and go, that you cannot cling to anything—not even pleasure—without also creating suffering. As you integrate the truth of this teaching, it's wonderfully liberating, for it brings you back into the present moment. If everything is so impermanent, including yourself and your feelings, then there is no purpose in holding on and trying to make those feelings last longer. Rather, there is far greater joy in releasing them and reconnecting to sanity and peace.
Chaos is natural—if you look at the world, it's everywhere—but to find your peace in the midst of chaos is something you have to deal with. Life is unpredictable and will bring about many different emotions and mind states that can be challenging and difficult, even unbearable at times. But beneath all the dramas, distractions and problems, there is a still and calm place you can rest in.
If, amidst the turmoil, you can find just one moment of peace in each day, then your whole life will become more joyful. Like the water in a lake, when your mind is calm, you can see the depths below; but when your mind is disturbed, it is easy to get caught up in the waves. Through meditation, you can become more aware of when emotions arise so you can take some time to chill out before they take over.
Try Ed and Deb's "just being" meditation