There is no religion to Inner Peace, and it can contribute to a long healthy happy life.
There is a significant growth in the western world today with the number of people who seek different practices in order to find peace and serenity in their lives. With the amazing developments in technology today mankind has achieved profound results in living conditions whether it is new technology, researching new medicine, or making the world a smaller place either through more efficient traveling or advancing communication methods through the internet. But more and more we have lost ourselves, our souls!
In the bible scriptures Matthew 16:26 say “for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” In Buddhism it focuses more on the inner world.
What is meant by losing our soul? Have they lost their inner peace, joy of being and confusion? Anxiety, stress and depression surrounds their lives leading to these and other mental health ill issues. Today in the UK there is a sharp rise in the number of people suffering with mental ill health. And recently there was an article in the Guardian Newspaper which said “NHS figures show ‘shocking’ rise in self-harm among young!”
What purpose do we serve by achieving external success when we have lost our inner ones of happiness and healthy mental attitudes which are full of compassion, love and forgiveness?
Whether it is Christianity, Buddhism or any religion all of them emphasise the importance of serenity and clarity in your mind.
It can be said that one of the key problems for mental health issues is our lack of inner development in order to face the harsh external world. When people lose their peace, they find confusion, anxiety and depression. All of us clearly want happiness but how many are truly happy deep down? You could be the president of a country, the richest person in a city or successful by many external measures but how meaningful are they if you do not have true joy, happiness and inner peace.
Relationship breakdowns, divorce, financial pressures, work stress and many other problems that life throws at you disable many people and only few survive with a healthy internal/ external life balance. When experiencing these problems people can turn to alcohol, drugs, parties and many other activities or comforts in their search for joy and peace not appreciating that none hold the answer as many celebrities have demonstrated.
So what can we do to develop inner habits that deal with these problems, or anything else life may throw at you, whilst still maintaining a healthy mental attitude. Healthy and peaceful mental attitudes help you to be very positive about life and develop a strong immune system as shown by research.
When the problems come into our lives, we can get advice from experts, family, friends and sometimes talking with someone we don’t know to get a different perception and it can help you lighten your burdens. Still, only you can make decisions about your life and that comes from within through clarity and a healthy state of your mind which improves the quality of these.
One of the key things we can do is to develop our inner strength which is surrounding ourselves with peace and clarity. In the bible verse, Jesus refers to The Wise and Foolish Builders Matthew 7:24-27, In Buddhism there is a quote which says “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.” There is no religion to inner peace and all human kind deserves it regardless of our faith, race, colour, and many other factors that differentiates among one another.
Here are few things you can think about doing to cultivate strong mental wellbeing.
1. Forgive others and carry no grudges.
Many people suffer because of their grudges with others. One of the fundamental aspects of the heart of Christianity is forgiveness. In Buddhism forgiveness is a key aspect in the path to enlightenment. It is said “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
2. Practice inner silence that connects you to God and clarity of your thoughts.
With more and more technology surrounding us, children spend increasing amounts of their time on smart phones and/or the internet. Gone are the days where kids played with grass and mud experiencing the natural beauty of the environment around them. Today our minds are very noisy! Social media feeds our minds with many negative news, negative thoughts and we are too busy with our lives to find that inner silence. In the bible it is clearly stated in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”; Buddhism focuses tremendously on this inner silence and meditation. Spending 20 minutes each day on breathing meditation would give you that inner space needed to connect with God. If you practice this technique over a period of time you will notice that this inner silence will help you achieve peace, clarity of thought with a lack of confusion helping to alleviate anxieties. In Buddhism these moments of minimum thought is called Emptiness.
Before you pray to God, if you can find 20 minutes for inner silence through meditation, you will pray with Joy and, more than words, you will be able to hear the voice of the Lord, feeling his energy.
It is being said that, “It is the space between the bars that holds the tiger and it is the silence between notes that makes music”. As the great composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart puts it, “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”
3. Enjoy solitude when possible
When possible, focus on enjoying your own company. If you need somebody else as company to make you happy, this can certainly be the road to disappointment. Take time out to spend on just “being”, enjoying wherever you are. There are many references in the bible which shows Jesus spent time on Solitude. For example “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35) and Buddha was in the forest for 6 years in solitude before attaining Buddhahood.
Research shows that, when asked why they want to be in a relationship, many people responded by saying that they don’t want to be on their own, and consider it as loneliness. When you practice inner silence, compassion and love you will notice that loneliness becomes solitude. This solitude is full of bliss. Stop worrying and live this moment. At the end of the day, life is a collection of moments. There is so much literature written about living the in ‘Present’. Some famous work consists of Western-born yoga and spiritual teacher Ram Dass who said “Be here now”, ‘Power of now’ by Ekart Tolle and ‘You are here’ by Thich Nhat Hanh are worthy reading material. One of the greatest teachers of living the present moment was Jesus. There are many references in the bible where Jesus was referring to the Kingdom of Heaven within you in the present moment.
Luke 12:27-40 “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not”
John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled”
Matthew 6:27 “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life”
4. Cultivate peaceful thoughts in your heart always. A clear path to inner peace is through peaceful thoughts in our hearts. Our entire life is about our thoughts. We should observe our own thoughts. It is a fascinating experience to observe how the river of thought runs through you. Research shows strong connection between inner peace and healing mental ill health problems. Make it a habit to think thoughts which are compassionate, loving and kind. Always choose your actions based on kindness and the rewards will be eternal.