Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Some Peace of Mind

That peace of mind is important to our lives is a truth that need not be overemphasized. People crave it, ask how it might be achieved; go after gurus and preceptors, return enthusiastic and then get disappointed when peace eludes them like the fish they tried to catch in the picnic stream with their bare hands. In this hectic manner of modern living , attainment of peace of mind remains illusory like the Eldorado's of the Romances which refused to turn into reality.

Peace of mind is like LOVE and HAPPINESS that you have to build for yourselves and not seek like detectives hunting for clues in the mud. The best way to find love is to love; the best way to find happiness is to be first happy. Similarly the best way to have peace of mind is to fill your mind with peaceful thoughts.

Our thoughts influence our words and our words influence the thoughts of others with whom we commune and converse. Our words create pictures in our minds and in the minds of others; so whether we disturb others and ourselves with our words or fill them and ourselves with peace will depend on our choice of words.

Yet, we go about searching for peace, laboring after it and even ironically wage wars to obtain peace. We have peace keeping forces comprising soldiers who are experts in war manoeuvres. The irony is too obvious to be stressed.

It has to be borne in mind that you cannot have peace unless you bring God into your lives and derive from Him the peace that He gifted to you and meant you to have. All good things spring from God and so does peace. If you do not appropriate it for yourself, you will go through life tense, full of anxiety and irritation and be a source of pain and a trial to those around you. If you have this virtue, you will be patient, calm and tranquil, and your mind will be at "rest" in the midst of chaotic conditions outside.

Only a peaceful mind can generate power necessary to create things and concepts. As a lecturer, I realized this a long time ago; therefore I know the necessity of peace of mind to ideate. Your scholarship, ability, knowledge and eloquence will require a peaceful mind for their conversion into an effective lecture. If your mind is troubled and full of care you cannot give an effective lecture and your audience will definitely realize that there is something bugging you.

How do you create a peaceful mind? It is not very difficult if you are ready to do a few things which I am now going to suggest

1. If you are going to build a house, you have to first gather all the material necessary for construction plus the workmen who will have to put in months of toil to build a strong house for you. Once your house is ready nothing from outside can enter your house unless you leave the doors open. Your mind should be similar to your house. You have to strengthen it. As you would like to live in your house in peace and harmony, make sure that your mind is full of peaceful thoughts and in harmony with Nature.

2. I remember Psalm no. 23 from the Old Testament which was prescribed as a poem for study at school 45 years ago. It is full of passages relating to peace. It would be a good idea to saturate your mind with such passages and sayings from great scriptures of all religions. For example: "He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul". Recite these lines from Psalm No. 23, a number of times, with your eyes closed, visualizing the scenes that the lines connote. Allow those pictures to sink into your mind slowly. Whatever sinks into your mind slowly will remain there etched for a long time and take control of your mind gradually. Visualize that God is restoring your soul. This means that restoration was necessary and whatever had to be done is being done by God Himself! The Master builder and Master Craftsman who gave you your soul initially is Himself effecting the restoration that is necessary as a result of the tempests of life that have wrought havoc to your soul! How charged must you feel when your soul is restored by God's peace as a result of His leading you "beside still waters" and making you "lie down in green pastures!"

3.. In a task that is difficult to perform you generally ask experts their help and suggestions. Since your mind was given you by God, it is appropriate that you ask Him for help in its development. For a moment compare your mind to a computer which is yet to be programmed. The hard disk of the computer has to be formatted with data that you feed through floppies, software C.Ds and material downloaded from the Internet. It is generally noticed that no matter how much you load on to the hard disk there is still a lot of room for a lot of data. Your brain too is similar. It is capable of storing copious information, thoughts, feelings and facts. Using your sense of judgment and discernment you are able to put them all in order in a systematic manner.

When your computer is loaded with some matter which you realize is useless at a later date, what do you do? You press the delete button with your mouse and the unwanted matter is erased from the hard disk.

You should do something similar with your mind if you want to have maximum peace of mind and happiness. Your mind is like a computer hard disk having all kinds of data, information, emotions and thoughts etched on it. Good emotions, thoughts and feelings jostle with their bad cousins for attention and quite often it is these bad emotions like hate, anger, envy, ill-will and so on that ruin your peace of mind. Like a surgeon, who has to be "cruel only to be kind", you should excise these negative elements out of your mind. They really have had no business to be there in the first place in the mind of a positive thinker. Do this deliberately, consciously, deeply desiring their exit from your life saying, "I am going to put you all out of my mind. Go away and don't come back." Then tell God what you have done and seek His help in keeping them out. They will never return. Some of the things you have expelled might be loads you have carried for decades. They were the dead weights which you could have discarded long ago but you didn't because you didn't know how to. It does not matter. There is always a first time and making an attempt, no matter at whatever time in your life, is most important. Once you take the first step, it becomes a habit, because man is a creature of habit. It is like clearing all the rubbish from your house. If you allow rubbish to accumulate in your house and don't clean up, rubbish assumes gargantuan dimensions and discourages you from making efforts to clean up. But if you make up your mind to clean your house and put it in order, a small beginning becomes a major campaign and it becomes a habitual routine and your house will be spic and span before long. A similar thing has to be done with your mind. Vacuum clean your mind. Get rid of all the unpleasant, unkind elements and before long only happy, positive, peaceable and healthy thoughts and feelings will reside in your mind. Soon an indescribable peace will fill your mind and will be your companion for life.

Will not these just discarded uncomfortable, negative thoughts make an onslaught on your mind again? Will not gloom and depression ever return? Surely they will. As this world is full of negative forces; they are sure to return. However you will be better prepared to combat them. Now that you are a positive thinker, count on God as your senior partner in every venture of life. You are going to draw on His strength against every onslaught. Great generals say that you have to battle for peace in your land. Similarly you have to battle for maintaining peace of mind. When you have cleaned up your house, you are surely not going to leave it unsecured by leaving the doors open to unwelcome strangers! Likewise, do not leave the doors of your mind open to unwelcome negative forces. Keep them out by force; after sometime they will not assail you. Make a conscious effort of keeping them at bay. Turn this effort into a habit. After a while these negative forces will not torment you at all for your mind will have mastered the technique of barricading these unwelcome elements. Mind, like the rest of your body needs the right kind of exercising in this venture. Once your mind is fortified, it will keep you in a state of peaceful equilibrium.

It has to be borne in mind that of all kinds of peace, the greatest is God's peace which He has given us so generously to keep. Seek His peace through prayer and dialogs with Him. You need not go through a rigorous regimen of penance to obtain it. If you just ask Him for it, He will gift it to you We are the vessel in which God has mixed all the ingredients necessary for good and purpose-filled living. The peace that he has bequeathed to us is real, tangible and enormous. Let us put it to good use in furtherance of our own purposes, listening to His message of love that He demonstrated in ample measure.

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