Advertisements

Happy World Inner Peace Day! It’s about to get deep in here.

“Within us lies the peace, the beauty, the glory of our being. There is an ocean of all that. We cannot seek it outside, we have to go within.” – Nirmala Srivastava

Today – March 21 – is World Inner Peace Day, the birthday of spiritual teacher and yogi Nirmala Srivastava. I wish I could say I just knew that – that it’s noted on my yearly calendar, popping up as a notification on my phone with the sound of a deep ringing gong.

calendar-notification_ios.jpg

I wish I could say I know all about Nirmala’s teachings, and that I’ve mastered inner peace completely; that I easily achieved nirvana years ago, a miraculous and simple moment that came to me with ease between an episode of No Reservations and an oil change. I wish I could say I am always calm, and mindful, and in complete harmony with myself and the world; who meditates and does yoga daily, who only wears sustainable fabrics. Oh, and a gluten-free vegan!

But those would be lies.

Here’s is the truth: I had a strong pull towards this topic, and specifically one of my all-time favourite books, The Untethered Soul, before I had any idea it was World Inner Peace Day.

7a2c5f54-f432-4b98-a7ff-8377779f685a._SR970,300_.png

Still, there couldn’t be a better day to write about the book and talk about inner peace. Even though this book is best-selling and has received glowing reviews praising it for helping the reader find some ever-illusive inner peace, Michael A. Singer isn’t a household name in the way that his fellow gurus Eckhart Tolle or Don Miguel Ruiz are. Which I don’t fully get, having read all of them. The Untethered Soul is by far my favourite, opening my mind to new concepts and helping me internalise beliefs which would permanently change my view of the world.

I have read and re-read The Untethered Soul, giving each sentence time to sink into my psyche and create imagery that could quickly come to my rescue in red-flag moments of panic or anxiety. That’s what is magical about this book to me. Singer is able to write in a way that is down-to-earth without being overly simple. He presents concepts that trigger my imagination to interpret his words in a way that will make sense to me. That’s the hallmark of a truly great book – not what is actually written out for us in ink, but how it fuses with our minds to leave a mark on us. Truly great books are interactive.

I want to share three points that I’ve taken away from The Untethered Soul; ways my mind has mapped and integrated Singer’s concepts. They have helped me find a measure of inner peace, and I hope they do for you as well.

1. Learn to ignore the voice in your head.
2. Stop being offended.
3. Everything is connected.

1. Learn to ignore the voice in your head.

Nearly all of us are just a little bit schizophrenic. In what way?


Imagine for a moment that you woke up today, and your entire inner monologue was broadcast as you walked through life. This is especially true for those of us who are prone to negative thoughts, low self-worth, anxiety or over-thinking (and that’s most of us). Imagine if everyone around us could hear us spiralling out of control when the girl behind the counter at the coffee shop looked at us funny (Omigod, what is her problem, did I forget my mascara today? She’s so skinny, she’s probably judging me, is there something on my face? WHY DOESN’T ANYONE LOVE ME), or when we get ourselves completely lost in rehashing a past event as we stare into the distance on the elliptical. We are all a little bit out of control in there – and that’s the opposite of inner peace.

The Untethered Soul presents this idea as a kind of dual personality. We have this neurotic, over-analytical person living in our brain who never shuts up and never stops thinking. Our new job is to practice ignoring them.

tenor.gif
I know it’s an older one, but think of the movie A Beautiful Mind. It’s based on the life of John Nash, a genius diagnosed with schizophrenia. In the film, he was nearly taken down by his paranoid delusions and hallucinations. But ultimately, he found what worked for him: he learned to ignore them. The hallucinations never went away – actual visual personifications of his fear and paranoia. But instead of struggling with them, interacting with them, and therefore feeding them – he finally accepted that they were there, they would always be there, and learned to carry on anyway. While they stood in the corner staring at him in annoyance.

a.jpg

I definitely have an often unbalanced inner voice, and so do most people. This is the first and most vital concept of Singer’s book. When we learn to recognise and isolate this person who lives inside us – to separate this neurotic imaginary friend who always thinks the worst and is too happy to tell us all the ways that everything could go wrong – we are able to begin learning to ignore her.

giphy.gif

She is not us. We are calm, strong, beautiful, mindful powerhouses of cosmic energy and locally sourced granola. Learn to separate yourself from this less-than-sane inner monologue.

2. Stop being offended.

In our modern world, there is so much to be offended by. There is legitimate cruelty out there – but there are also small things that we get really upset over. Singer touches on some teachings of mindfulness, zen, and basic human psychology 101:

The things that offend us are the things that rub salt in old wounds.

This book touches slightly on chakras, which – for some – might sound too new-age. To those people, I would say: think of chakras as divisions of the complete human personality. We are all weak in some areas and stronger in others. The areas we are weaker in can be called “blocked.” These weaknesses, or blockages, are caused by getting offended by (fixated on, clinging to) what we can’t accept or get over.

When we have inner peace, we still have old wounds. We still live in the real world, where painful things happen. But a vital concept in spirituality is the idea of wholeness, and when we don’t get hung up on things, we allow our whole personality to flourish. The more we focus our awareness on things that offended us, hurt us, or brought up past pain (basically handcuffing our minds to these events); the less we allow ourselves to be focused on really experiencing the wild, flowing river of NOW – which is a vital ingredient to finding true inner peace.

If you want to find yourself, here you are, in the only place you can be: the present moment. Getting lost or stuck anywhere else is futile. The more we let go of the little things that agitate our old wounds, the stronger we become in those areas. It is exercising a muscle: our muscle of healing. If we can heal the old wounds, we will feel the present moment more fully, and inner peace – like everything – only really exists in the present.

Great article on some practical ways to stop being offended here!

3. Everything is connected.

To reference another film (a wacky personal favourite, which I highly recommend if you’re into this kind of stuff): I Heart Huckabees.

Even though it’s a bit trippy, the reality of our universe is: we are all made up of energy. We are all made of the elements (which are made of energy), along with every other thing in the universe. The entire universe is a moving, breathing, vibrating, swirling slush of the same components arranged in various ways: and that includes us.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Quotefancy-7396-3840x2160.jpg

You can pour cherry soda into a bottle. You can put it in a mug. You can put it into a handbag, fill an airplane with it, or feed it to a cat. Inside whatever it’s in, it’s still cherry soda. On a much, much larger scale, that is our universe: the exact same stuff – energy – in different solidified shapes and forms.

“Concerning matter, we have all been wrong. What we have called matter is energy.” – Albert Einstein

This connectedness is important to remember. You might sometimes feel alone, isolated, misunderstood, frustrated: but you are deeply connected to the entire universe, all of the time. You are cherry soda. Your neighbor is cherry soda. The sun is cherry soda, and your dream Chanel sunglasses are cherry soda. We separate ourselves because it is comfortable for the fragile human psyche to attach itself to concepts – but underneath what kind of container we are (a bottle, a mug, a handbag, an airplane): we are all the same. If we can really grasp that concept, we can find a unity with the universe that will bring a deep sense of belonging, acceptance, and inner peace.

These are only a few of the things I’ve learned from The Untethered Soul. If you have a chance, I really recommend it – and I hope you find a measure of inner peace this World Inner Peace Day.

7a2c5f54-f432-4b98-a7ff-8377779f685a._SR970,300_

What has helped you find inner peace?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

15% OFF ALL ORDERS IN OUR SHOP WITH COUPON: BUYDIRECT Dismiss

%d bloggers like this: