Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to be More Calm and Peaceful



Emotions and changes in emotions, as well as changes in our mental, physical, and spiritual states, are all very important and crucial to our human experience. We need to experience that change to grow and explore and expand, but if we only live in a state of volatile change, we will never truly grow and expand because we have weak roots. A tree without strong roots just falls over and is knocked out of the ground- it is uprooted. Without its roots securely planted in the ground, the tree loses its source of stability and nourishment- therefore it ceases to grow and dies. But a strong tree with deep roots can withstand the changes in weather and seasons and continue to stand tall and grow and provide its uses and beauty to the world.

I believe that a state of calm and peace is linked to a stable grounding. One with deep roots can withstand many changes in condition- but one with deep roots is also still enough to feel the tiniest changes and derive whatever needs to be derived from those changes. One constantly in motion is in too chaotic a state to experience the mild, subtle and often beautiful changes the world has to offer.

In order to deepen our roots and allow calmness and peacefulness to fill our experience and existence, we need to address tension. Tension makes us move unnecessarily, it makes us constantly uncomfortable. It drives us to keep moving and taking action when we really don't need to be, and it makes us unstable. There are multiple levels of tension we must address.

Physical Tension
Often we carry tension throughout our entire bodies without even noticing its presence. Is your face tense right now as you read this? Is your forehead relaxed or is it scrunched up? Are you creating tension in your spine by slouching over in a misaligned position? Is your jaw or fist clenched?
Often we carry tension in our bodies due to poor alignment and lack of support, as well as unreleased thoughts and feelings. A supported body is a body that can go through life and motion with ease and grace- in order to have a supported body, one must have a strengthened and nurtured body. Exercise regularly- whether it be walking, hiking, yoga, weightlifting, swimming, etc- the body was designed to move. Read up on proper form and do what feels good and comes with ease when engaging your body regularly.
We also carry suppressed emotions in our body. If you've been angry or sad or nervous for a while, your body will also hang onto those emotions. Give yourself the time and attention to address those issues with deep breathing and an open, forgiving mindset.

Mental Tension
Often mental tension ensues due to stress and unresolved problems our brain is constantly trying to solve. Tension also arises from living in the past or future- our resistance to the present causes tension. Journaling about our thoughts and feelings as well as reading/listening about other people's experiences in similar situations often helps us reduce that mental tension and connect with the present moment.
Often mental tension also arises from not thinking deeply about something stressing us out- in this case, one must address their problems instead of putting off confrontation.

Mental tension also results from obsession- this obsession comes from over-attachment. To combat over-attachment, one must cultivate connection with themselves and the present- thus cultivating self sufficiency and a sense of allowing balanced with decisiveness. This concept will be elaborated upon in a future post.

Emotional Tension
This is closely linked to mental tension- unresolved, over-attached, and unconfronted emotions plague us and cause us to create resistance to the present and to our inner flow. In order to combat emotional tension, we must address our suppressed feelings and also let go of the feelings we've been feeding. This process is greatly supported by journal writing, self nurturing, and a good physical outlet- like exercise. When embarking on this journey, just remember that one is not the sum of their emotions or physical sensations or thoughts. Be gentle and do not over-identify with any aspects of the journey and the calmness will find you quite easily.

Spiritual Tension
Spiritual tension is created by misalignment with our beliefs. Maybe you are practicing the beliefs of a religion you do not feel aligned with. Maybe you feel like you need to explore certain beliefs. Maybe you are over-analyzing certain beliefs. This spiritual tension often arises from dogmatic, extremist approaches to religion/ spirituality. You are not a bad person for not truly believing in what your family/community/culture is comfortable with you believing in.

Allow the Peace and Calm to Find You
Be receptive to peace and calm. Don't overidentify with the changes or your past or future or whatever notions are causing resistance to just letting the present moment be. Don't try too hard or too fast- practice finding the ease. Breathe into the parts that need attention and create space. This process is like a stretch for your entire being. Gentle stretch out the tightness and strengthen your roots in the process. Don't overthink the process- just allow it to happen and believe it will, and you will connect with the present more and more.

All the love and all the peace,
Wynona


2 comments:

  1. I've only just skimmed this one (have to read it more thoroughly this weekend).

    I like how you say that resistance to the present causes mental tension. I wonder if accepting the present is a form of healthy detachment? I tried finding ways to be joyful or excited about the present! But that was sometimes a lie - sometimes there was nothing interesting in the present. So I tried accepting that it just is.

    I like how your entries are all connected to each other, or so I think. I find I will probably be going over them to try to understand the pattern more thoroughly.

    I don't know if it's just me, but I think I've read or picked up on implications on the importance of detachment in your entries. I know you can't just keep spitting out entries at the snap of fingers (nor should you), and by no means am I being demanding. But just as another potential idea (another one of multiple ideas lol), have you thought about exploring further about what detachment looks like or how to practice it? Have you defined detachment? I may or may not be overcomplicating, but e.g., forgiveness, letting go of remorse, not over-expecting, etc. What do *you* mean by detachment?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you saying detachment is the key to practicing a lot of what's in your entries?

    I have a professor who became my personal mentor for the past 3 years from a local college here in my hometown who is a brilliant forensic psychologist (and I normally don't think very highly of psychologists). He's emphasized to me over and over that the key to detachment and the ability to explore one's surroundings without inhibiting fear (my fear causes me to withdraw into my head and not take in my surroundings, or at least it used to be the case) is attachment, or love. In other words, I think he was telling me that the key to detachment is attachment, or having someone in your life who loves you unconditionally, enough for you to feel it (you also learn about this in child development topics in different types of attachment children exhibit, in my case through Google).

    As a relatively normal, healthy, intelligent woman as verified through assessment (which I mention for the sake of minimizing any confounding variables), I find I'm able to provide a lot of perspective on the pitfalls & hindrances of almost total deprivation of positive reassurance and support in life, & how totally lacking that in a family seems to carry over every where else.

    I don't intend to be a bitter skeptic, but in other words, what if this entry only works if you already have positive unconditional love and support that you can sort of inherently sense from at least one person in your life?

    Just trying to figure it out!



    Your introspective fan,
    Sue

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    Replies
    1. Hey Sue,
      Always nice to hear from you again.
      By detachment I mean a balance with accepting and deciding, allowing and following, as well as embarking and leading.
      Sometimes the present isn't too eventful, but it is that spaciousness that allows one to very easily just be. It sounds abstract, but try thinking of a time when you were so in the present you would just observe and sink into your place in the universe.

      For one to be detached but involved, one must support one's self fully. I don't believe you can love one person unconditionally, to love unconditionally is to love all of existence unconditionally. Perhaps the concept of love must be explored further and separated from the mere romantic implications we are often exposed to.

      Wynona

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