Are You at Peace?
"Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
What can you do to find inner peace?
Thich Nhat Hanh would tell you that peace is not something that you can discover, it is something that you are. Your inner peace is a direct reflection of the peace that you perceive in the outside world. In other words, to find harmony on the inside, first tune-in to the harmony that’s all around you. One way to find more peace in the world is by noticing the silence between sounds. Silence is the constant background against which all noise takes place. Any sound you hear arises from, and eventually returns to, this ever-present stillness. By being aware of the eternal silence present in the background of each moment, you can find peace wherever you go.
According to Thich Nhat Hanh, every moment of your day has the potential to be filled with peace, joy and serenity. To achieve this state, all you need to do is be alive and awake right now. When you are fully grounded in the present moment, your mind becomes quiet. That’s because the mind is a problem solver and, when you focus your conscious attention on the present moment, you find there are no more problems to solve. When the mind is quiet, the heart takes over as the center of your awareness. While the mind is always busy judging and criticizing, the heart’s default mode is one of acceptance, gratitude and appreciation. So, if you want to live a more peaceful, joyous life, bring your awareness to the here and now. When you tune-in to the eternal peace of the present moment, you experience life through your heart. And, when you live your life from the heart, joy naturally follows.
You Are the Universe
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory,
of its magnificence.” ~ Alan Watts
This week’s quote reminds us that we are at the center of all experience. For example, it is our ears that create the experience of sound. Sound travels in waves, which are essentially vibrations in the air. These air vibrations don’t actually make any noise until they run into an eardrum, at which point they are translated into the experience of sound.
In the same way, your eyes translate vibration into light. Light exists as vibration that, like sound, travels through space in wave form. Only if these light waves encounter an eye, with all its complicated rods and cones, will they be translated into the experience of light, dark, color and form.
As Alan Watts would say, "you are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.” The primal energy that manifests as this universe also evolved conscious beings capable of experiencing it. The same intelligent energy that created flowers also created noses that can smell their scent. The same creative force that evolved fruit trees also evolved tongues to taste their juice. So, take the time to smell the roses, bask in the warmth of the sun, enjoy all the sights and sounds that the world has to offer. If you are the universe experiencing itself, then make it the best experience ever!
Suffering is Optional
“The only thing you really control is how you react to things out of your control.” ~ Bassam Tarazi
This week’s quote is for all the people who are currently suffering from the wildfire smoke. Having made it all the way through the summer without much fire activity, you might have thought that the worst was behind us. However, considering the gray, apocalyptic skies that we have experienced lately, it appears that fire season is very much back.
With the return of the smoke comes the familiar feelings of sadness, worry and desperation. One of the most stressful parts of having a wildfire burning nearby is the feeling of powerlessness- the sense that you don’t have any control over what is happening. Wildfires are literally burning out of control and, unless you are a firefighter, there is really nothing you can do to stop them. However, according to Bassam Tarazi, even though life is unpredictable, suffering is still optional. You can’t really prevent bad things from happening in life, the only thing you can control is the way you react when they do.
So, what can you do to get through these difficult times? The best advice we can offer at this time is to focus on taking care of yourself. Take a long bath, get a massage, practice yoga- do the all the things that bring you into grounded, conscious alignment with your Source. If you can't go outside due to poor air quality, remember that you can always go inside by practicing meditation. On clear days, make it a priority to enjoy the sunshine and blue sky. Finally, try to breathe deeply and fully whenever possible, savoring the luxury of breathing clean, fresh air when it's available to you.
Create From the Heart
“Be an artist of consciousness. Your picture of reality is your most important creation. Make it powerfully, profoundly beautiful.” ~ Alex Grey
Last week we discussed the importance of connecting to the love in your heart and then expressing that love in the form of kindness. However, kindness is not the only way to express love in the world, there is also creativity. Alex Grey talks about a “cosmic creative force” that is fundamental to all life. This creative force is the evolving, intelligent energy that “manifests our universe and flows through all beings and forms.” Everyone you meet and everything you experience is an expression of this creative force. According to Alex Grey, creativity is spirit in action. When you express yourself in a creative way, you allow the creative force of the universe to work through you.
This week’s quote is a reminder that creativity is not limited to artistic expression. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are the creator of your reality- you are the artist of your life. Reality is the ultimate block of clay which can be shaped and molded into whatever your heart desires. Consciously creating your reality means manifesting from a place of love instead of a place of fear. That’s because, to create something beautiful, you first need to conceive of it in your mind. If your internal picture of reality is riddled with fears and anxieties, your reality is going to reflect that. So, challenge yourself to maintain a profoundly beautiful picture of reality, allowing the creative force of the universe to flow through your heart and create the life of your dreams.
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About The Author
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.