Some people find peace in a church, synagogue or sanctuary. Others find it at a yoga class or through meditation. Still others calm their minds and spirits by taking a walk outside in nature or playing a musical instrument. Human beings have the same basic needs. Every soul yearns to be at peace.
At my yoga class this morning, after the chatter of the world's events settled down and the instructor dimmed the lights. Candles were lit. Incense burned. The students were quiet and contemplative. Each absorbed in their own thoughts on their mats intent on clearing their minds and connecting with their intention and focus. It occurred to me how yoga class resembled church service in many ways.
In church, we are urged to do the same thing - to clear our minds, to be fully present, and to focus. As attendees folded and put away their mats and props, I was reminded of the solemnity of leaving church after taking communion. The feeling I have when I leave yoga class is similar to the feeling I have when I leave a good church service. Both yoga and church are about grounding, feeling at peace, and finding connection: to ourselves, and also to God. As more and more people flee organized religion and church attendance continues to decline, is it any wonder yoga has gained such popularity?
The problem is that the calm feeling we gain from outside ourselves is temporary. What happens when we turn on the television and hear about the latest bombing or mass shooting? One aggressive driver or new deadline can steal our calm. How then can we manage to hold onto our peace?
1. Realize true peace comes from a relationship with God.
When we come to know who God is and how he works, we will have more of an understanding of what is really going on around us and why. We can rest knowing that even when the world seems like it is spinning out of control, God is still on the throne.
2. Understand that peace must be pursued.
It doesn't happen on its own. We must be intentional about making peace a priority in our lives. If we want to see more peace in the world, it must start with each of us. If we fly off the handle when we're stressed, how do we expect our kids to act? Then we wonder why so many young people are shooting others with such disregard. We must set the example for future generations.
3. Give ourselves more time to recharge.
And I don't mean by running to the gym or going out for happy hour. Life is stressful and things take more out of us than most of us realize, both energetically and emotionally. This is why I have found it is so important to have mega doses of quiet and solitude. When we slow down our bodies, we slow down our minds and allow the events of the day to settle. Go for a quiet walk. Close your eyes and meditate for ten minutes. Take a leisurely swim. The key is to slow down. It might feel awkward at first, but you'll soon learn to enjoy the quiet and the relaxed pace.
Finding peace is possible. What strategies do you use to maintain inner peace? Please post a comment here or on Facebook. If you'd like to receive my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path, enter your email address in the box provided.
Until next time, keep looking up!