How to Feel Peaceful

    I teach a weekly meditation class here in Boulder, Colorado. Many people know of this class and tell me they really want to attend. They tell me things like, “I know I can use it,” or “I really want to handle my stress better,” or “I know it would help me to relax and be more peaceful.”

    I have a dedicated group who follow through and show up. Of the many others who say they want to, but never do, I hear three common excuses:

    1. I don’t have time
    2. I can’t sit still
    3. I can’t quiet my mind

    If you’ve found yourself with similar beliefs, you may find the following suggestions helpful.

    First, recognize that all three of these statements are beliefs. You maintain these beliefs through your actions. For example, “I don’t have time” is a belief that you support by not managing your time well. The most successful people I know are very busy and make time for some practice of inner reflection, quiet time, prayer, or meditation.

    If you find yourself saying “I don’t have time” see if you can shift that to “This is what I choose to do with my time.” That inner shift is more likely to lead you to take time for what is top priority and let go of what’s not. Those who take time for meditation often find themselves much more self-directed, efficient, productive, and relaxed in all life activities.

    If you find yourself saying “I can’t sit still,” to meditate, let go of the idea that you have to. You could do a moving meditation such as t’ai chi, or yoga, or moving qigong. You can also sit down and allow yourself to move and stretch during meditation as you feel the need to.

    In meditation, you’ll learn to observe whatever you do without reacting to it, judging it harshly, or self-criticizing. And when you do those things, you’ll learn to observe them, too. Whatever happens is O.K. The more you have an accepting attitude, the more you’ll find yourself naturally relaxing into stillness.

    If you find yourself saying “I can’t quiet my mind,” let go of the idea that you have to do that. If you find your mind busy when you sit to meditate, observe your busy mind. You can begin your meditation by simply witnessing the endless chains of thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are running through you. You can then give yourself something simple to do with your mind and use that to focus your attention—something like following your breathing.

    Follow your breathing, recognize your mind wandering, come back to your breathing, discover yourself off planning your day, come back to your breathing. . . and so on. Whatever happens is O.K. As you do this, over time, your mind naturally quiets down.

    An important aspect of meditation is recognizing and accepting “what is” and being present with it. Observe whatever is going on without trying to change it. In that process, you find yourself gradually becoming more still, quiet, and tuned-in to happening inside you without being afraid of it. This is the beginning of inner peace.

    Enjoy your practice,

    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. Qigong Meditation is a great meditation technique for busy minds because it gives your mind something interesting to do. Check it out here: Learn Qigong Meditation

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