I have learned to find peace in mental stillness. I do not claim to hold all the answers, but I will share what I can.
Close your eyes. Yes, you. No one is watching, so close your eyes. What do you see? Where does your mind go? Do you find yourself bombarded with all the things you should be doing while reading this article and sitting with your eyes closed, looking silly? Perhaps you remember an article you want to write for this website and wonder when you will find the time.
Try to clear all that away. This is about mental stillness. Often spiritual teachers will refer to our busy brains as “monkey mind.” Does it feel that way? Let it go, and breathe deeply. When you exhale, breathe out longer than you normally would, until you feel as if all the air is gone from your lungs. Breathe fresh air in as deeply as you can, expanding your diaphragm. Enjoy the feeling of breathing out used air and breathing in fresh new air. As you accustom yourself to this breathing, imagine that you are exhaling all the busy little thoughts that are cluttering up your mind. You want your mind to be still, like a blank page. Breathe in the fresh breezes that blow all the busy-ness out of your mind, setting you free from “should,” “must,” and “need to do.” Each time you exhale, your mind releases more of the monkey mind. Your inhalations bring light and clarity. If you do this long enough, you will find that it is easier every time you sit quietly in mental stillness, and each time you will move closer to finding inner peace. You don’t feel so silly now, do you?
Inner peace is a wondrous thing, bringing peace into our minds when we sit and pay attention to our breathing. It doesn’t have to stop there! Peace begins to spread throughout your mind, through your central nervous system, and into your entire body. You feel peace through every heartbeat, every step you take, every word that you speak in stillness, in mindfulness.
It may begin to aid you in finding deeper sleep. Perhaps your temper will be less sharp with your family. The beauty of the peace that is found through mental stillness is that this is a peace that touches every aspect of your life. Think about the possibilities!
If you begin to live a life of peace, people will want to know what has changed about you. Your current friends may not change, but you may find yourself drawn to people more like the human being you are becoming. Peace spreads throughout families, neighborhoods, church groups, professional situations, through every aspect of life itself. It takes a long time, but it began when you chose to close your eyes and assess the condition of your own mind. From there, the horizon is clear.
Sometimes I imagine a world where peace is so strongly imbued in individuals and in every step we take, that it spreads across the land, ending the need and the greed that causes so many tears and broken hearts in so many countries. Stillness leads to peace, and peace is contagious. It all begins with a breath and a vision of what is possible. It may lead to endless possibilities.
So I ask you to become one with the mental stillness that, in time, will lead to peace. Look deeper into your own self and envision the wonder and possibility. You may find yourself becoming another link in the chain to peace across the land.
See? It wasn’t so silly after all. One small step begins a pilgrimage you can take into your soul.