How Finding Inner Peace Changed My Life

Let’s face it! We all have a preoccupied life… Our daily life is all about waking up in the morning, rushing into the kitchen making breakfast for ourselves and our family, running off to work, getting back home exhausted and cranky, falling asleep in front of the TV and then repeating the same cycle (with some ups and downs) all over again, for the rest of our life.

Well, try my version: some time ago I started combining my Master´s studies (which is a crazy amount of homework, essays, lectures and presentations), an internship at the United Nations and working in a hectic job, while I am writing my thesis and translating a book. In the past, I used to come back home, crawl up somewhere in my house and cry over this stressful situation. During this time, I felt miserable and even when I was trying to sleep I wasn’t able to as the nightmares were sneaking in to haunt me.

But on one great day, it all changed.

Being Curious Finally Paid off!

It was a boring afternoon… I went to the kitchen to make tea and started surfing the internet looking for new internship opportunities. When I was surfing the internet I came across a website that was teaching self-development and inner peace lessons for free. I got curious and signed up.

During the first lesson, I had to sit down for 30 minutes and try to think about nothing (It felt impossible as I had so much work to do).  As the lesson went on, I categorised all the duties in my head instead of paying attention. I simply could not concentrate. But after 15 minutes, I was out of duties for the day and my body started feeling relaxed and I couldn’t feel my fingers (to be honest I freaked out, opened my eyes and counted my fingers before going back to meditation again!). After 30 minutes, I felt weirdly calm. It was in the afternoon but it felt as if it was six in the morning and that I was ready to wake up and start my daily routine.

Finding Nemo

The main point of meditation method was learning how to “be at the center of yourself”. The whole concept was vague to me for a while. The teacher would count down steps to calm the body down and then ask us to find the center in our body. Yet every time I was thinking:  where is the center?!

One night it happened. I was dealing with some problems regarding my studies and was in a desperate need of some minutes away from reality. When I got home, I changed out of my uniform, lit some candles, closed my eyes and sat down in the lotus position ready to start meditating. After a few minutes, it happened just like that. I was there – in the center, looking at my meditation object (the moon). It gave me a feeling as if I was finally in my own home. I could not hear anything, I could not feel anything, I was not even thinking as I was experiencing a genuine silence from the bottom of my center and was listening to the delightful sound of “nothing”.

Turning point

This practice that I started out of curiosity suddenly became a daily habit. It was the only “me time” during the day. I could not wait to finish my work and studies, get back home and start my inner journey. After practicing the inner-peace lessons for 42 days, I started to experience unique visions. I was visualizing myself in my most favorite place on earth, sitting by the Yara River looking at the magical sunset. One day, my visions took me to a mountain, where I was looking at the clouds passing by, caressing my face. The next day I felt the center of my body, reaching neutrality and felt deeply relaxed. The feelings were so deep that I was afraid to tell someone in case they would spoil it! Little by little, it changed my behaviour. I was able to make better decisions, think more clearly and be more focused on my work and studies. How incidental it was that a small moment of curiosity could change my whole life!

Want to be a Peace builder? Start with yourself!

We all want to change the world. I used to be obsessed about United Nations, following their pages thinking, “Wow, these guys are changing the world! It’s amazing; I want to do that too”. However, if you had asked me back then, how I was going to pursue this ambition, I literally had no idea. I would simply be waiting for someone to tell me what to do instead of taking initiative myself.

I believe it is great to have ambitions about changing the world, but now that I have more experience, I know that you can only achieve your goals if you start from within yourself. It is impossible to be a famous worldwide peace builder in one night. The most important thing is that you start somewhere, whatever method works for you. For me the inner peace lessons were very helpful. It does not have to take much of your time – 10 minutes a day is a good start and then before you know it, you are ready to change the world.

How to begin your inner-peace journey?

Here are a few suggestions if you are interested in experiencing the same journey to find your inner self like me:

  • Take your meditation posture on the floor,  chair,  or a sofa;
  • Relax your body and then your mind;
  • Concentrate and be aware of your surroundings. Find a central place within yourself and imagine it is a mental object, such as the moon;
  • Reach complete silence and equanimity in your mind. From this moment onwards, neutral observation and detachment to whatever may arise or occur is important. If thoughts arise, one can combine the mental object with a phrase (i.e. “Clear and Bright”)
  • Before getting up: spread the LOVE to all beings.

See you at the center!

When The “Self” Bloomed Within The Silence

It took me two months of reflecting, deep thinking, waves of depression, diving into the unknown, meditating, re-reading my journal, dying & re-birthing in order to arrive to the decision of transferring to you my journey to self- realization which is a process of life, light and bliss. I will start with one critical stop: Global Peace on the Move 20, Meditation Retreat: June 2017.

The 14 days at the meditation retreat have been a real roller-coaster ride of internal lively experiences.

Paradox of Feelings

It has been saddening yet joyful, deathly yet re-birthing; it transferred me from the highest mountain to the lowest valley of internal tornado storms. This combination of everything happened while in total body stillness. So what is that paradox? That a body very still could create an internal explosion of all states of being happening within that total motionlessness of the body which led to the fact that my pen never stopped writing, as the flow of insights streamed through me every second, of every minute, of every hour, I was writing non-stop throughout the whole day a combination of insights, observations and inspirations.

My state of being transferred each day from one state to another, at the beginning it was a feeling of: excitement, lightness, enjoyment, then transferred to feelings of sadness, loss, fear, insecurity, imprisonment, conflict, distraction, confusion until gradually on the 7th day, I was arriving somewhere more of a stable state: calmness, silence, tranquility, serenity, stillness, blissfulness, emotionlessness, neutrality, contentment and insight.  My journey was a journey of  the self, cutting its way through the distortions of my mind, and reaching to rest peacefully within its true nature.

Morning Awakening

There is a thin line between the past and the future, which is the present moment. At Dhammakaya Sanctuary, I was living in that moment called “the present”, where everything was expressing itself into a form of life, where it’s the only time possible to notice what’s happening in its precise details using all the 5 senses, and being in the moment of now allowed me the chance to witness a miracle called: LIFE. As I was pulled into it when every morning we woke up at 5 AM  just at the awakening moment of the forest itself, the moment when the forest came to life.

As I walked barefoot to the meditation room, I could feel the connection between me and the mother earth, as every part of the forest gently caressed every part of my existence leaving me in a state of calm vividness.  I could feel the swift breeze waving its “good morning” at my eyes, and I could inhale the freshening of the leaves through my nose, and lungs, and my whole body as it smelled all the scents of the forest coming together into one specific smell, greenness.

Reaching the view up the mountain next to the meditation room as the sun comes up every day rising like a true queen, I felt the spirit of the whole universe shining up in front of my bare eyes, where I was the only person watching this miraculous moment, it’s the moment my heart was fulfilled with total bliss, as I greeted this place with my “sun salutation” sequence, and spiritually connected with everything that was alive there. All this magical combination of the nature brought me up to life every day of my GPM 20.

Blossoming Bliss

On the 8th of June (6th day of the retreat), Teaching Monk Luang Phi Pasura guided the session, which started as any other meditation sessions, however what blossomed out of it was: EXTRAORDINARY.

One second made all the difference, as I was no longer hearing the monk’s voice guiding the meditation session, my breathing came to a point where it was very slow & very still, like I was barely breathing, and there was no sensation of my physical body. My mind was clear and empty, no thoughts were regenerating. My whole existence disconnected from the present moment, I was not here but nowhere else… I was within my being.

Total silence expanded deeply within my whole existence, layers of peace spread within my center and a pure light shining beyond those layers of peace, an explosion of total bliss blossomed within me, as I came to meet my true self. It was beyond joy, beyond happy, beyond any earthly description. That connection of love within, left me in a state of total completeness, total contentment of being my own self which lies there, endlessly beautifully and blissfully, within the layers of silence something was happening, changing, it was the “self” revealing itself in its’ truest nature.

 

DOs and DON’Ts When Interacting With A Suicidal Person

Depression, fear and anxiety are the most common reasons why someone considers committing a suicide. It is often that people who are going through difficult times are around us, yet what would be the best way to help them and therefore help the entire society?

On the World Suicide Prevention Day, we encourage everyone to share inner peace by becoming a listener to those in need. This kind action can save a life! Here are some helpful tips to remember when talking to a suicidal person:

DO:
• Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. Caring actions are more important than finding perfect words.

• Listen. Let the suicidal person share their story and feelings, no matter how negative.

• Be empathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.

• Offer hope. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you and that help is available.

• Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.

DON’T:
• Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or “Look on the bright side.”

• Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.

• Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe.

• Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.

• Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression. Your loved one’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.

Source: Metanoia.org

Nutritional Tips for Hectic Life

We live life at a frantic pace these days. The relentless demands of work schedules, meetings, errands, appointments, and the overlapping parade of children’s activities can sometimes make us feel as if we are being driven by a whip from one destination to the next. With no time to think, these brutal schedules are often fuelled by fast food, coffee, and adrenaline. Unfortunately, the grab-and-go technique leads to bigger problems when the caffeine and blood sugar levels crash later in the day, resulting in fatigue, irritability, and potentially bigger health woes. Proper nutrition may seem like an unreachable goal for the always-rushed, but the benefits of that extra bit of effort are worth it. Here are some nutritional tips for keeping your busy day well fuelled.

Plan ahead for your own “fast food”

When we’re out of time we often resort to eating whatever can be obtained the fastest, which is usually derived from a plastic bag or a drive-through window. Try making healthier snacks, such as fruit and nut mixes or single-serve peanut butter packs for dipping celery or carrots, and have them ready to grab out of the fridge up to a week in advance. Lean, protein filled burritos made with eggs, beans, or chicken can be frozen in bulk to toss in the microwave in a pinch. For quick snacks, especially if you have kids, keep a small variety of whole grain or vegetable crisps handy in your vehicle to curb the temptation of pulling into a fast food joint.

Go easy on the coffee

While you may drool in anticipation of that first cup o’ joe in the morning, use restraint. Caffeine can be a helpful stimulant, but front-loading it early often leads to a deep lag in energy later on. Limit yourself to two cups in the morning (and four for the whole day), or consider alternatives such as green tea or matcha, which deliver less caffeine per ounce and offer several other health benefits as well.

Focus on whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats

The quality of the food you choose to eat throughout the day can have a huge impact on the quality of your day as well. Whole grain products (those with the husk intact) such as oatmeal, brown rice, or barley, are composed of complex carbohydrates that digest slowly in the gut, promoting steady blood glucose levels that will help you avoid a mid-afternoon energy crisis. Protein provides a number of essential amino acids that the brain uses to synthesize important neurotransmitters like serotonin, while the complicated structure of protein, like complex carbs, imposes a feeling of fullness and slow, steady digestion. Be careful to choose protein sources that won’t also overload you with fat. Egg whites, Greek yogurt, extra lean bison or beef, and black or pinto beans are excellent choices. Fat is the most energy-rich nutrient, issuing a whopping 9 calories per gram. While this makes fat a valuable source of energy, it is easy to go overboard, so fats should be used to contribute the smallest portion of each meal. The healthiest fats are the unsaturated variety produced by plant products, such as avocados, coconuts, and olives.

Go big in the morning

You’ve heard the old adage “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper”. Turns out most nutritional experts are in accord with this one. Fifty to sixty percent of your daily calories should be consumed with breakfast. Loading up on a healthy, well-balanced morning starter will give you more energy, a better mood, a sharper mind, and greater endurance as you tackle a frenzied day. Consume balanced nutrition meals of protein and complex carbs and try to avoid foods made with processed white sugars and starches, which can sabotage your efforts with drastic blood sugar spikes and dips.

Busy schedules can be difficult to face every day, but doing so without energy makes the task seem unbearable. Arm yourself with good nutritional habits, along with a healthy regimen of exercise and stress relief, to make your busy life more enjoyable.

 

5 Powerful Ways Meditation Can Change Your Life

Show of hands – don’t you think our difficult experiences always cause us to deeply ponder how we got there? Those experiences may not have been the most favourable circumstances to begin a meditation in the first place – but it is true that the moment we sit down and genuinely think about what has happened is crucial in helping us move forward, overcome pain, and ultimately find inner peace.

By definition, meditation is “bringing your mind to a calm and peaceful state”. However, meditation is what you make of it and sometimes you need to let yourself rage in emotions before going straight into peacefulness. This goes to show that meditation isn’t strictly limited to calming the mind, but it is a mental outlet that aids in handling uncomfortable emotions, thinking through difficult situations without pressure from outside sources, and overall finding the answers to questions that make life so hard.

In retrospect, the idea of simple thoughts profoundly affecting our lives and actions may seem a bit far-fetched. But truthfully, our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. We are dictated by what we feel and believe in, and we should care to make sure they all come from a good place. Additionally, the complete self-awareness in ourselves and the world around us contributes to our lives in only the most positive ways. Here are five of the many ways meditation can change your life.

 1. You develop a transparent and honest relationship with yourself

Developing self-awareness is one of the most difficult things we can do as human beings. That’s because facing inadequacies head-on and focusing on the present moment may not exactly elicit the fondest of feelings. We are all prone to insecurities and doubts and that is completely okay (and expected). With meditation, you are able to be honest with yourself in a way that you aren’t with others. You have no one’s opinion to rely on but your own. Don’t be frightened by that fact, you’re a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for.

A transparent and honest relationship with yourself enables you to learn and recognize what you deserve and should not tolerate in life. Honesty is powerful because you learn to see yourself and things for what they actually are, causing you to think twice before making a decision, make you choose the right people as friends, and acknowledge everything for what it truly is – just to name a few circumstances. Consequently, you come to understand that the world is a lot more painful, but also more rewarding at the same time.

2. Episodes of anxiety and stress become less severe and intimidating

How often do we go into a panic mode during difficult moments, allowing our bodies to completely surrender to negative emotions? More so than we all like to admit, that’s for sure. With meditation, you can analyze your mind and realize that any trigger of stress or anxiety is temporary and you will get through it. Additionally, you can equip yourself with mental tools to combat these sources of anxiety! You learn that allowing your emotions get the best of you is going to happen sometimes, but being hard on yourself isn’t necessary anymore. Stress is a part of life, just like happiness.

3. Thinking rationally will come naturally over time

You find yourself making more concise, logical, and reasonable decisions. You can roll with the punches of your emotions, knowing that they shouldn’t completely dictate a choice. Not to say that emotions are a concerning element when making a decision – in fact, they might be the last deciding factor in making one. They are only toxic if you let them be, meaning you allow the wild nature of emotions to lead you into expressing an outburst that may actually hurt you and possibly others.

For example, you can scream everything you find wrong about your relationship with your significant other or friend in a violent moment of anger. You may mean everything you say, but does that make things better or damage the relationship? Making a sound choice requires both the equal balance of logic and emotion – therefore, making you understand the best possible choice can be both logical and not regretted.

4. You liberate yourself with emotional freedom

 How many of us are actually afraid of our emotions? It is common to prevent ourselves from feeling everything we actually feel, because we sometimes deem those emotions as useless, embarrassing, or a waste of time. Emotions should never be perceived in an inferior way. We’re human beings and will be prone to emotions no matter how much we try to avoid them. Neglecting emotions would only be detrimental and bottling up what you actually need to express will only make a person feel worse. By meditating on emotions, you can come to acknowledge and appreciate where they come from without judgement and strategize how to handle them.

5. The practices and philosophies of meditation translate into your everyday actions and thoughts

The connection between meditation and your everyday life is a prominent one. The ability to wake up and be grateful for the day, drive to work without raging at a person for not using their turn-signal, and shrugging off an embarrassing moment is self-empowering. In a deeper and personal perspective, meditation can also help one ease the symptoms of a chronic condition, such as mental illness or cardiovascular disease, and overcome addiction. We all co-exist with different lives that include situations and events specific to only our uniqueness of existence.

In conclusion, meditation helps us see life, our emotions, and difficult experiences as allies and opportunities to develop maturity and compassion, rather than enemies and infuriating things we naturally have assumed them all to be in the past.

“Out of this world” into my life.

In the early 90’s, when I was a kid, there was a TV show called “Out of this world”. It was a young teenager named Evie who finds out that her father is from a different planet and because of that she has superpowers. Well, actually, just one. An amazing one! Evie is able to stop time. She touches the tips of her index fingers and everything around her freezes. She could then ignore her mom’s scolding, get some extra time to check her history book before answering her teacher or even give herself an extra minute gazing at her crush passing by in the hall. Continue reading ““Out of this world” into my life.”