October 19, 2011
Watch the news and you would think that the world is in a constant state of unrest, but is this really true? Does conflict take the place of peace or can there be peace within struggle, within conflict and tension? Finding peace might seem like an almost unsurmountable task in 'times of conflict,' but there's another way to approach finding it that doesn't rely on others or even yourself to manifest this state of continuity and clarity that we all seek.
Finding peace can be the result of connecting to something that is peaceful. Anyone who knows nature has experienced the sense of peace that comes from taking a leisurely walk through a natural landscape, sitting alongside a gently flowing stream, or watching the clouds roll by from a grassy hillside. While we generally find these experiences peaceful, we're only scratching the surface. There's more we can do, purposefully and with full attention, to connect to peace and find that feeling within ourselves.
They say that 'It takes one to know one.' While this phrase has traditionally been used as a snappy come-back, aimed at the teaser and most often used in children's culture, we can use it as a starting point to help point us towards peace. Translated another way, we could say that "It takes knowing peace to be at peace." In other words, we can identify peace where it exists, connect to that active experience, and manifest that experience through our experiences.
How do we connect to peace? First, we locate something peaceful, something beautiful, something that is manifesting peace. This actually applies to just about everything in nature, but let's begin with those manifestations that are most recognizable as beautiful and peaceful: plants and more specifically, trees and flowers. For the purpose of this practice, the object of our attention will be a healthy, living, expression (life form), that we find pleasing to observe.
Find a living plant (tree or flower) in a place where you will have 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted time. Make yourself comfortable and prepare your body and mind with some gentle stretches, deep, slow breathing, and making yourself comfortable. Once settled, focus on the object of peace. (Make sure that you are close enough to the object to observe detail) Begin by observing the item as a whole. Take in the beauty. Proceed to notice small details, lines, curves, points of interest, etc. Notice how it grows up and out, spreading into the word to show its beauty. Notice how peaceful it is - how calm - yet steady and in many ways, strong and grounded it is.
Begin to imagine what it would feel like to be that plant. How does it experience the world? Imagine the feeling of having your roots spread out into the cool earth. Think about what they would feel like, not as a human, but as the plant. Notice the steam or trunk and imagine how it feels to be reaching upward, strong and connected. Notice the branches and stems and the feeling of spreading out. Notice the flowers and leaves and the urge and feeling to allow your beauty to show without reserve, without hesitation, naked for the world to see. Imagine the feeling of peace that this life experiences each and every moment: grounded, growing, reaching, opening. Imagine yourself 'as' the plant (not as a person observing). Use your ability to empathize with this life you see in front of you to find the feelings of peace that it so completely embodies.
Begin to imagine your own body in the same way as you see the plant, connected, growing, branching out, blossoming, showing your beauty without reserve. Find the same feeling of peace within yourself. You are a manifestation of the same force that is manifesting the plant. Know that you also represent peace, naturally. Connect with your own embodiment of peace that is an innate part of your existence. Feel the feeling. Experience the sensation of being alive, of growing without trying, of opening up to the universal love that creates the manifested. You are not a 'part of' or 'apart from' the Universe. You are an expression of the universe.
After spending a few minutes experiencing deep sensations of peace, begin to bring your awareness back to the general environment. Slowly transition out of your peace practice and use the experience to inform and shape how you experience yourself and others in the future. Represent peace to others. Be a model, even if they are unable or unwilling to follow your example. Represent peace through your ability to remain grounded, growing, and blossoming. Show your beauty to others in the hopes that they will find the beauty in themselves.
This is the Thoughfulness Practice of "Finding Peace."
- How do you create this practice in your life?
- What are some benefits of this Practice?
Share your thoughts and ideas below.