How can meditation benefit your 5 senses?

The 5 senses rule our lives, but we fail to understand that

When was the last time you enjoyed a meal alone without an electrical gadget by your side? When was the last time you went to sleep without your cellphone? When was the last time you listened to your 5 senses?

For me personally, it’s been a long while now. I can’t nearly imagine eating or sleeping without scrolling through my social media or watching Netflix. It’s something about us Millennials, we are very distracted. Our journey to inner peace has lost its way in the conundrum of a fast life. Millennials are most certainly very productive but have somehow lost the ability to be stable. We can’t be blamed entirely for being addicted to technology either, the competition is tough today. It has become more important than ever to be updated about what’s happening around us, to be able to plan our next smart move.

Meditation can be a savior

A simple example would be, working late at work when your eyes are starting to hurt. It is important for you to understand why your sight is falling back at a time. Chances are, things go wayward if you ignore its warning repeatedly.

However, what we fail to understand is, we are creating bigger problems for ourselves by limiting our senses. Not being able to connect with yourself is a real problem. Meditation is known to help soothe your senses. This gives you the scope to calm yourself and allows you the time to connect with the true self. This is when your body comes in alignment with your mind or senses. This might seem taxing initially but shows greatly on your productivity later. Being mindful should be a lifestyle habit and not something limited to meditations and yoga sessions. It necessarily means being aware of your body in the present. Meditation helps in arousing all our senses and keeping us alert at all times.

We all know our 5 senses that run our lives. But how often do we pay attention to what these senses are trying to communicate? Be that frequent pimple on your face or the itch you get at the end of the day. We all let them shy away with the modern distractions of the day, to take care of themselves. By paying attention to the senses during meditation, we are allowing the body to reconnect well with the mind.

This is how meditation can help your 5 senses:

The sense of Taste

We have such diverse cuisines available so easily today, we take this sense for granted the most frequently. This habit not only makes us unhealthy but also leads to weight gain or weight loss. The right nutrients hit our blood vessels only when we are mindful of what we are feeding them with. Otherwise, our bodies don’t realize if we have already supplied them with the amount or not.

Meditating will indirectly result in being mindful of that. You will have a better control of what and how much you are feeding your body. At times, our body signals at being hungry when it is just in need of water. Misreading your body in times like these will lead to indigestion and obesity.

Having a cup of Jasmine/Green/Pepper Mint tea before meditating can calm your senses and leave a good aftertaste.

The sense of Touch

We are usually always touching something or the else without realizing much of it. We become aware of it mostly when it hurts or feels good in sensation. Meditation can help you be aware of every small thing that you are touching regularly. It could be the warm sensation of an early morning sun or the feeling of rainwater on our bodies. Being aware of such small things or sensations in our daily lives doesn’t just make our lives more alert but also more satisfying.

Meditating doesn’t come naturally to everyone. You can start with being at a comfortable location and relaxing. Make use of soft drapes, cushions, and rugs where you can be comfortable and cozy.

The sense of Hearing

The major motive of meditating is being mindful of your being and surrounding. A great way, to begin with, would be to meditate to a particular sound, be it a chanting of Om or to the sound of raindrops. This will alert your sense of hearing or sound and let all the other senses relax for a while. Let that particular sound absorb you.

The sense of Sight

This is something that has personally helped me a lot in improving my eyesight. Focusing on the flame of a candlelight in a dark room is a great way of enhancing your sense of sight. You can take a note of all the tiny flickers or changes in colors while focusing on not blinking or distracting yourself from it. Your eyes might hurt after a while, then close your eyes and imagine the flame flickering in your mind. You can open your eyes again when the image fades from your mind without distracting yourself.

The sense of Smell

While meditating you sit with your eyes closed, so as not to be distracted. Focus your sense of smell to the aroma of a flower or an incense stick. Anything that has a mild and soothing aroma to it can be of help. But make sure it is not too loud or too over-powering. Fragrances like that of jasmine and sandalwood are known to work as antidepressants and mood stimulants.

Meditating can help you arouse your sense of smell and help you capture the tiniest of smells around you. The smell of soil when the first raindrops hit them, the smell of freshly baked cookies, the aroma of freshness from freshly squeezed citrus, to name a few. Being able to relish these natural and free joys around you will uplift your senses for a long time.

While meditating try and focus at smelling the aromas in the room. This will allow you to absorb your surrounding smells while all your other senses relax for a while.

Being mindful isn’t just a crucial part to survive in today’s world, but also an art of being healthy in the long run. Relaxing or letting go of your crucial senses alternatively, gives them the chance to relax.

Picking up yoga, meditation or some form of workout with a loved one gives us the necessary break from the monotony. Meditation is how you relax your senses and rejuvenate them for a better performance. Allowing your body to fully live all the  5  senses is the only way to connect to your inner self.

Photo credits: Pixabay

What is really going on with addiction?

The first thing that comes to my mind when seeing the word addiction, is drugs. On a second glance, I associate it with alcohol, cigarettes, sex or sugar. What is really addiction all about?

According to the Webster’s Dictionary, addiction is the “compulsive NEED for and USE of a habit-forming substance (heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; a persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.”

Yet, most addicted people use no drugs at all. Moreover, addiction cannot be understood if we restrict our vision of it to substances, be they legal or illegal.

Beyond drugs

In fact, addiction is manifested in any behaviour that a person craves, finds temporary relief or pleasure in, but suffers negative consequences as a result of. Yet, the person has difficulty giving up, accompanied by effects such as craving, relief, pleasure, suffering, impaired control, violence and more.

Therefore, the definition of addiction goes beyond drugs or alcohol, it stretches across any human behavior, from sex to eating, shopping, gambling, extreme sports, TV and compulsive internet use – the list is endless.

Addiction is neither a choice nor a disease, but originates in a human attempt to solve a problem: the problem of emotional pain, overwhelming stress, lost connection, loss of control, deep discomfort with the self.

Treating addiction or pain?

Testimonies show, without failure,  what addiction compensates for: “It helped me escape emotional pain… helped me deal with stress… gave me peace of mind… a sense of connection with others… a sense of control… a sense of power”.

Hence, addition is one aspect of the urge to stop the pain. To treat the addiction, which is a symptom, without treating the pain underneath means to deal with effects rather than its causes, prolonging cycles of suffering, ruining lives.

Often childhood trauma is associated with addiction.  Not necessarily horrific events, but any event that imposes more pain on the child than his or her sensitive being can process. Any failure to respond to the need to be seen, held, heard, made to feel secure. And each of us has an inner child.

“Trauma has become so commonplace, that most people don’t even recognize its presence.” Peter Levine

Developing connection: an example from Portugal

Connection, belonging, safety can be learned and accepted as opposite to the addiction. Hence, developing healthy interpersonal connections as a part of recovery and healing is not easy, but it generates the desired sustainable life changes compared to approaches based solely on isolation and medication.

A story of success is Portugal and how the country chose to handle the situation with drugs differently,  in a way that can help people, one at a time. For 40 years the authoritarian regime of António Salazar imposed measures to keep the population docile. In the 70’s Portugal opened to new experiences, including marijuana and heroin, however in 2001 it became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances.

It led to a cultural shift, where health services, psychiatrists, employers, housing services started to work together to serve the communities, saving one individual at a time. The country’s policy rests on three pillars: 

(1) There’s no such thing as a soft or hard drug, only healthy and unhealthy relationships with drugs;

(2) Individual’s unhealthy relationship with drugs often conceals a lack of  relationships and support of loved ones, with the world around them, and with themselves;

(3) The eradication of all drugs is an impossible goal.

There is no one-size-fits-all or universal solution, just the daily search for balance, inner peace, diversity,  connection and meaning.

Sources:

https://drgabormate.com/opioids-universal-experience-addiction/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/dec/05/portugals-radical-drugs-policy-is-working-why-hasnt-the-world-copied-it

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-and-sex-in-the-digital-age/201509/the-opposite-addiction-is-connection

 

Photo credits: Emily Lau @unsplash

NO To Pessimism

In my language Kirundi, we say “Ntawutanga ico adafise” which means, you cannot give what you don’t have. This is similar to how Peace Revolution project envisions peacebuilding  with its PIPO  (Peace In – Peace Out) concept, putting emphasis on cultivating inner peace first before spreading peace to the outer world.

I have been receiving invitations to participate in various peace conferences by different organizations involved in peace building, but one important question that arises is: what are those conferences aiming at? According to my understanding, such conferences are meant for teaching techniques and strategies on how to become a peace activist in one’s community and surrounding. There is nothing bad in that, but if participants are not taught techniques and strategies on how to find peace from within, we can’t expect any sustainable peace. However, if we have inner peace, we spread it to our surroundings from one individual to another. The more this process expands, the more we move towards a sustainable world peace. Therefore, PIPO concept becomes one of the most effective strategies in communities’ peace building.

Moreover, as peace comes from within, so does pessimism and negativity. Imagine, when the mind accumulates a junk of negativity and pessimism, the entire world becomes negative and the subject becomes pessimist. This can happen to anybody in certain difficult moments of their life. Yet, we deserve a healthy, peaceful and happy life which we can only get from a positive mindset. On this note, I would like to share some interesting tips from Henrik Edberg’s Positivity Blog that would help us overcome pessimism and negativity inviting more peace and calm in our life:

1) Start replacing negativity in your surroundings and life: What you let into your mind during your regular day will have a big effect on how you think and feel. So, start questioning what you let come into your mind.

2) Stop making mountains out of a molehill: The easiest way to ground yourself in a situation where you start to sense that you may be making a mountain out of a molehill is to zoom out a bit on your life by using a question like: will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

3) Be grateful for a few of the things you may often take for granted: When your lens (that you view your daily life through) is tinted in a negative way, it is easy to miss the things you can actually be grateful for. Take a minute as you get out of bed in the morning or get into it in the evening and put your attention on a few such things of which you can be thankful for: three steady meals a day; a roof over my head; my caring family, friends, etc. You’ll find many of them that you hadn’t thought before.

4) Come back to this moment (and stay here): When you’re on a train of negative thoughts, you’re often thinking about something that you could or should have done or said. Or you’re thinking about something that could happen. Or maybe a mix of the two of them as a past experience or two build a monster in your mind about what the future may bring. To get out of any of those places, snap back into this moment – to what is right here, right now.

5) Get a positive start to your day: The first few things you do in the morning often set the tone for your entire day. If you get off to a negative or pessimistic start, it can be quite hard to shake those feelings or perspective. But if you get your morning off to a positive start, then it becomes a lot easier to stay with that emotion and the optimism all the way to the evening and bedtime.

Conclusion

Just like peace and happiness, also pessimism and negativity come from within, from the mind. The condition of the mind is actually what determines the view of the world. Hence, mind needs to be consistently taken care of. And this can be done through various strategies and techniques, among which, we highlighted some of the important ones in this article.

Emotional Intelligence: a secret to happiness

One of the precious gifts a human being can have is the ability to have a strong willpower to love, care and accept situations as they come without questioning why they seem the way they are. It is something agreeable, and no doubt, our natural well-being can succumb to emotional ups and downs, showing different reactions and responding to both good and bad situations. Emotional intelligence is one such precious ways of averting conflict and living a happy and humble lifestyle that can potentially motivate others around us.

If we take a glance and stay calm enough, we realise that there is only one way of overcoming the challenges that we face – and that is emotional intelligence. Although many people have diverse theories and conspiracies about what emotional intelligence entails, in general, it is someone’s ability to evaluate, identify and control your emotions so that you better understand the emotions of others around you and relate with them in a peaceful and harmonious manner. It is this skill that is somewhat more natural and instilled within humanity and usually goes untapped in all the efforts to enjoy individual peace and mutual coexistence.

How can we have emotional intelligence and the ability to sustain it?

Self-Awareness: There is a general saying that you will not know where you are going if you are unable to know where you are. That is basically the same with emotional intelligence. The first area of concern is self-discovery and self-awareness. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses is very vital to deal with such situations when our soft spots are tempered or triggered. This also includes our ability to know things or acts that can easily expose us to stress, discomfort and unhappiness. Dealing with your stress appropriately instead of letting it control you will have you living a much easier, happier life.

Conscious Communication Skills: It is often said, “wars of this world were often caused by words left unspoken or spoken”, which brings to the issue of proper communication particularly with others. Our ability to manage and control our speech helps in controlling our inner state of emotions. No matter how we have wronged someone or have been wronged, happy or unhappy; the way we communicate ourselves is very significant in shaping our emotions, as well as how others respond to us. The five acts of self-discipline also cement the rationale behind peaceful speech towards the attainment of individual peace and that of our surrounding. Our emotional fragmentation can sometimes accumulate through guilt, anger and inferiority complex exacerbated by what we say about ourselves and others. The question is: how do we overcome this and generate emotional intelligence?

The answer: being with ourselves.

So often, we become emotional with what is happening within ourselves, families, workplace, and our countries, as well as in global trends and dynamics. We are so emotionally eager to change the status quo, but so often we do not know how. The answer is YOU. When you create positive energy, habits and self-restrictions to be yourself, develop self-reflective moments alone (INNER PEACE MOMENTS), you are able to realise that at times we want to fight wars that are not ours instead of fighting the inner conflicted self in dealing with life situations; that is the essence of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.

Connecting to Inner Peace Through Victoria Falls

Water-spraying happiness at Victoria Falls Africa

As a global traveller, when I reach a destination that ignites my happiness, a rush of inner peace sweeps over me.

Such a place is the top of Victoria Falls on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border in Africa.  In the dry season, you can literally stand on the edge and watch water from the Zambezi River fall over a 355-foot (108 meter) drop.  Locals call this spectacular location, Mosi-oa-Tunya, the smoke that thunders.

The sound you hear does seem to be thunder.  Roaring, splashing, flying thunder.  From your spot of seasonally uncovered dry land you can look down  over the edge of the falls into the plunging pools of water below.  When you descend over the edge, the roar and rush of the water chases you in its continuous descent.  If the soaking does not wake you up, the power of the drop should.

But more than the immediate sound of the water is the overwhelming sense of peace you feel when you stand on the edge of a plunging waterfall, and experience excitement, not fear.  If you automatically, spontaneously embrace where you are, without distraction and excuse, you may suddenly realize the feeling you experience is a connection to your own soul.

At a spot like Victoria Falls when you find yourself closing your eyes to listen to the water, instead of activating your selfie-stick, your own state of well-being is in charge of your actions.  You may not even notice when this happens.  It could be when you are walking away from the scene and exclaim “I forgot to take pictures,” (and then quickly run back for more).

Travel and surprise experiences provide you with the opportunity to grasp a singular time when you are drawn forward to appreciate contentment.  You do not have to travel to Africa to capture this moment in your happiness.  You can find this connection simply by understanding that you are entitled to have it.  As you go through your own life and feel content to be helping a friend, or blessed to laugh with a child, when you, as the saying goes, ‘stop to smell the roses,’ you bring yourself back to you, every time.

Happiness is a state most people have to consciously bring forward.  Our society does not look kindly to the perpetually happy.  If you were to go around proclaiming your constant contentment to all who would listen, people may soon become suspicious of you. They will want to know if you are up to something.  But you can be happy if you so choose, if you remember that it is expected for your healthy life.

To be happy is to know the sound of inner peace.  Roaring louder than the cascading waters at Victoria Falls.  Once you connect, you can achieve your internal harmony.  Here are some suggestions to enhance your life wisdom for being happy:

1. Recognize your right to be happy.  Feel fabulous without feeling guilty. Our society focuses on the suffering and difficulties of life.  You will attract words of sympathy and support for any particular difficult personal issue that you may wish to discuss, but you may not receive any applause for being continuously happy.  You have to embrace the feeling for yourself.  Happiness is a choice you can make for yourself by deciding how you want to live.

2. Set a cheerful outcome for your everyday life.  As you go about your day to day, reset your mood.  Maybe the traffic appears to move slower than normal, the kids are shouting louder than usual, the groceries and shopping need to be done, your tasks at work appear to be piling up – take a moment, at least one, to find the other side of the situation.

The slow commute may mean you can listen longer to your favorite podcast.  The shouting children may indicate they are communicating instead of staring at their smartphones.  The waiting chores will give you a chance to get parts of the house in order. The tasks in the office showcase the demand for your skills.

Find the other side as soon as you feel stressed out or slowed down, and turn those moments around to suit your purposes.

3.  Hold the happiness mindset as your signature.  Do you have one of those friends who people say is ‘always’ happy?  Should that person be you?   Even if everyone you know finds your insistence on being content to be annoying, hold on to your right to be happy.  In a society embroiled in negative agendas, make yours the opposite.  You may soon find that your insistence rubs off on many more people than it repels.

You can ensure that being happy is built into your self development.  Implement these three steps, and soon you may find that every moment becomes a moment of joy, and support for your inner peace.

Photo source: otsuka88 on Pixabay.com

How Personal Development Can Bring Inner Peace

A man smiling

Personal development is a lifelong and continuous process. As a term, it is used quite commonly and misunderstood the most. Personal development is the process of analyzing your own behaviour, skills and qualities. In order to be better at life, one needs to analyze the above to set life goals and priorities. This, in turn, helps one to put his/her best to whatever they are doing and maximise their potential. Hence, personal development affects every aspect of our lives.

Personal development literally means to evaluate and focus on yourself to be better prepared for life. Life is unpredictable, in all spheres. Be it your work or your personal life, you don’t have control over what life may throw at you. Even though we don’t have the power to manipulate our lives, it is in our control to respond to it accordingly. You might want a certain thing in life, but don’t necessarily have to wait for life to make it happen. You have to take the initiative to make it happen. There will be times when your plans fail but the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment will be priceless. Life feels more rewarding when you take charge and commit to pursuing your own objectives. Making that commitment to personal development is the first step to inner peace.

What does one mean by being in peace? Isn’t peace a state of mind that everyone sees differently? Yes, it is. To me personally, being at peace means being in alignment with my inner values and my sole purpose in life. It could be absolutely different for you, and that is okay. What is inside you can’t be given by things or people around you. For example, I am a writer who loves plants. I will never find peace in working for an organization that encourages deforestation. As individuals, we take responsibility for how peaceful we are in our body and mind. The way we shape ourselves plays a major role in how peaceful we are.

There are 3 major pillars of personal development for a peaceful life:

1. Spiritual connection and realization

As humans, we are the smartest species that the earth has today. Have you ever wondered what makes us different from the others? It is our spirituality. This is certainly a debatable topic, mostly because people connect spirituality to a particular religion or God. Spirituality is much more than religion or God. What if someone says it is a superpower who is kind and powerful and looks over you? It makes things easier when you believe that someone else is taking charge of things in your life. A clarity in your thoughts will help you greatly in maintaining your sanity.

2. Physical Health is very important

Our body are our most important asset and often goes neglected in our busy lifestyle. It is the house we live in; the house others see from the outside. Our physical body and mind play a major role in our success stories in the marketplace. This is why it is important to feel good about yourself inside and out. The way you feel within your body depends on how you treat it. If you have bad and lethargic lifestyle choices, it shows on your body and to the others too. Good nutrition and exercising are two ways of maintaining your body healthy.

A healthy body gives you confidence, that shows to others in the marketplace. Physical looks matter to people because that is the first impression a person has of you. Don’t judge a book by its cover is just a myth. That’s the hard truth. Imagine two cafés in front of you, one is dimly lit and has a broken door while the other looks beautiful. Most people would go to the second one and ask for a coffee. It can be good coffee or bad coffee, that will decide if you continue going there. It is the same with people, the initial ice is broken with your looks and then the course of the relationship is decided on solely what you are on the inside. You can’t just look good and be clueless about everything else, that certainly won’t work after the first meeting.

3. Mental Health should never be compromised

You must have interacted with your share of people of different personalities. Different people respond very differently to the same situation or crisis. While one might break down under pressure, the other might face the situation with whatever he has. The society adores people of the second type, because of their mental stability. Our physical bodies are what our minds function on. Mental stability is a vast term, it includes positive thinking and also mental stretching. It is humanly impossible to have knowledge about everything or be expert in all spheres. While one can choose not to do the task, the other would want to learn the trade and complete the task. If you back out of unfamiliar situations every time, it is certain that you are not progressing.

A great way to harness your mental abilities is to read. It makes you knowledgeable and hence confident. Always remember that learning is a continuous process and should never stop in life.

Working on your personal development will make you more focused and motivated human being. But for that to happen you need to value yourself the most and be at peace with yourself.

Photo credits

Are You an Active Listener?

In the field of teaching the second language to kids, there is a criterion called Active Listening. It’s a period of time that the kid doesn’t talk or communicate verbally. He or she just listens, and you are sometimes confused if they get what you teach. In this case, parents and teachers usually become anxious and they doubt it if the child can learn the language at all.

The pressure might increase on the child to talk and react. However, most of the kids start using the sentences when this time passes. And they astonishingly use the words that we have thought they don’t even know. A child who is not speaking may be actively listening and may need time to process what they are hearing before saying anything. Hence, it is important to value listening, as well as speaking – non verbal responses from young children are perfectly acceptable. They show that the child has understood the message which is very important in the process of child’s development. Even for learning our mother tongue, we used to listen for at least two years before starting to talk. This can be a reminder of how listening is important in our development.

However, as we grow up and become older, we forget how actively we used to listen. Now we are just passive listeners or we randomly hear things around us. So, there is a need to improve listening in our daily life and value this sense as much as other senses. Here are different ways how to practice:

Active Listening in Communication

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

How actively are you involved in a conversation? In dialogues, the focus is usually on speaking. We are in a hurry to reply. We sometimes become restless when we have to listen. We may forget listening and start daydreaming. In sharing ideas, we try to be active in speaking rather than listening to others. A lot of misunderstanding comes from forgetting “effective listening”.

Active Listening in eating

Photo by Mariana Medvedeva on Unsplash

Mindfulness teachers have always said that we should integrate all our five senses for eating. When we eat, we see the food, we smell it, we usually touch it and finally taste it; but how much do we hear the food we eat? It may even seem strange! But it is true that we normally forget to listen to the food! For mindful eating, we are being advised to see it carefully, eat it slowly and be focused on the meal. Some teachers suggest that we need to listen to it. Bring it to your ear, listen to it. Depending on the type of the food, you should give it a squeeze. What do you hear? If you are the one who cooks, listen to the cooking process carefully. What do you hear when you cut something for the food? Just try it once and then compare the enjoyment of applying listening to eating.

 Active Listening at home

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Tired of all the unnecessary noises in the house? Long hours of passive listening to the TV or radio while you are doing something else? Be the one who chooses what could be heard at home. It simply depends on you and your type. A relaxing music, the sound of the nature, childish and cheerful songs are all different options. You may also want to listen to the silence of your home. Yes! Silence has its own sound to listen and enjoy.

Active Listening to your inner self

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

Has it ever happened to you that in the most difficult situations in life, your inner voice starts blaming you? Reminding you the mistakes you have made and making you desperate?

Be aware of it when you carelessly continue listening to this hopeless voice. This is the time for re-parenting. Be a good parent for yourself and change the things you would like to listen to. Be the voice of the parent who encourages you, helps you and gives you strengths and solutions to overcome the challenges. Listen to what you need to listen. Be the chooser!

 

What other activities do you think need active listening?

Featured Image by Mpumelelo Macu on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Change Your Fixed Mindset to Access Your Hidden Potential Within

growth-mindset-to-access-hidden-potential

It’s a shame to say that the majority of people living in the modern world have a fixed mindset. By this, I mean that you, as an individual, believe that you have what you’re born with and you are who you are. Some might say that your fate has been decided and life is what it is.

However, others believe in what is known as a growth mindset. This is a frame of mind where you believe that you have to control your mind, your physical attributes, and the way your life is. You just have to be open-minded, work hard and take control of your own decisions.

Of course, summing up both a fixed and a growth mindset in just a hundred words makes it seem far simpler and easier than it actually is, so let’s dive in to see what changes you can make in your life that will help you transfer from a fixed mindset into a growth mindset, which will allow you to unlock your hidden potential within. 

Understanding a Fixed Mindset

Of course, there’s no way you can move on from a fixed mindset unless you fully understand what it is.

“First of all, it’s not a life choice or a way of being. A fixed mindset is simply a bad habit we pick up while growing up and in our everyday lives. You have to realise that you have full control over your mind and the way it works,” explains Darren Harper, a neurological scientist and writer for Academadvisor.

It will hold you back in every situation you find yourself in; it will stop you facing challenges come up against, and it will stop you being the person you want to be. Life is full of risks and the unknown. The only way to get the most out of it is to embrace it.

There are No Challenges, Only Opportunities

How often would you say you face a problem in your life? Once a year? Once a month? Every day? If you’re like pretty much everyone else on the planet, you’ll be facing problems every single day of your life. Some will be big, some will be small, some can be life-changing and some could be not having enough change to buy your coffee.

However, the first step to adopt a growth mindset is not to see problems in your life. There are no problems, only solutions. There are opportunities in everything. They could lead you to a new business model or an amazing book idea. It is up to your choice and the way of seeing it. 

Harness the Power of Writing

Writing has been renowned for thousands of years to be one of the most therapeutic and beneficial tool that human beings can do for themselves, and without exception it puts you on the path to adopting a growth mindset.

Consider the people you would define as successful. They know how they want to communicate. They know the message they are trying to say, and they know how to present it to any audience. If they’re giving a speech, they’ll write down various versions beforehand so they can make sure they get it right. They’ll also write every day about their thoughts, feelings and exciting concepts that spring to mind.

According to study, writing can help you to heal emotional wounds, feel happier and heal from depression and anxiety. Using tools like State of Writing and Via Writing, you too can learn about how to write comprehensively and accurately to wide your brain power, allowing you to articulate yourself properly in any given situation or opportunity.

Don’t be Afraid of Failure

One of the biggest problems we face in life is being held back by our own fear. It doesn’t matter what you set out to do; whether that’s asking a girl to the dance, starting your own business, starting a family, or taking your driving test,  – a fixed mindset is one that will leave you creating excuses in your mind why not to do it.

By implementing a growth mindset, you don’t see failure as something where everything’s gone wrong, and it’s the end of the world. You see it as all the experience you need to succeed.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things you can do when it comes to changing your fixed mindset into a positive growth mindset. Of course, this is going to take time, but with the right amount of drive and motivation, anything is possible.

Photo source: Pixabay

4 Ways You Can Use Inner Peace for Sustainability

Inner Peace is the first step towards sustainabiltiy

Climate change is rapidly becoming a big problem of our time. It creates and exposes vast inequalities, and it also threatens the delicate physical conditions needed for life to flourish. For peace and harmony to thrive on Earth, we must address the impact we’re having on the only home we’ve ever known.

But how? Climate change is a big problem, so how can we, the little people, really make a difference? It’s important to pressure politicians and corporations to make changes, but ultimately we are the ones who create our own reality, putting us in the driver’s seat for creating meaningful and long-lasting change.

Mindfulness brings inner peace, and from this position, we can tackle the problem of restoring balance, harmony and peace to the World.

Not convinced? Here are four ways inner peace contributes to sustainability:

1. Living with Compassion

Through mindfulness and meditation, we begin to see interconnectivity, interdependence and impermanence as the true Nature of things. And this perspective fosters compassion.

It starts with compassion for other living things and their suffering. All living things are in a conflict with the physical and metaphysical, and this causes great distress. Mindfulness and meditation allows us to see this, forcing us to approach problems from a position of compassion and not accusation.

But mindfulness also asks us to be aware of consequences. Recognizing the interconnectivity and interdependence of all things reminds us how each and every one of our actions has a consequence, positive or negative.

To achieve environmental sustainability, we need to express more compassion towards the delicacy, difficulty and fragility of life. And we also need to be mindful of our actions to make sure we are positively impacting the environment.

Furthermore, living life with compassion is a powerful way to achieve inner peace. It better equips us to deal with our emotions, and it helps us improve our relationship with ourselves and others. Using mindfulness and meditation to develop compassion helps us achieve peace with ourselves, but it also puts us in a position to live in better harmony with Nature and to tackle the environmental problems we face.

2. Patience as a Key

Patience is key to inner peace, and it’s also critical for tackling climate change and repairing any environmental damage we’ve done. Through meditation and mindfulness, we begin to relinquish control of the reality in which we live. There are some things simply out of our hands.

Achieving inner peace requires us to accept this fate. The frustration that comes from wanting something that cannot be is a great source of suffering. We must recognize our desires for what they are, and accept our powerlessness in whether or not that desire is met. But we must also have faith that awareness and mindfulness will steer us in the right direction.

Making changes in our own lives to promote harmony with Nature will not reverse the effects of climate change overnight. But this does not discount our efforts. Patience helps to ease our worries and concerns, and it reminds us that our actions do have an impact, helping us persevere on the long road ahead towards peace and harmony on Earth.

3. Accepting Impermanence 

Everything is impermanent. Empty. Attachment leads to suffering. This is evident in our societies today. We have so many things, yet happiness still eludes us. Because once we get something, we are immediately dissatisfied and want something else.

Learning to detach from things breaks this cycle. It stops the chasing and pursuing and makes us more mindful and aware of what we have. This allows us to live with more gratitude, and to better experience the love, compassion, harmony and joy that is often right in front of us.

Accepting impermanence and being more mindful of where you are and what you have will bring peace, but it’s also a key change we need to make on our quest towards sustainability.

Our attachment to material things holds us back. It produces an economic paradox: we must grow infinitely in a finite world, which puts tremendous stress on the environment. And our perennial dissatisfaction and desire for more creates incredible waste that threatens life all over the planet.

Embracing impermanence brings peace within, and it gives us a chance at building more sustainable societies.

4. Choosing Positivity

Our thoughts have the power to create the reality in which we live. If we live with fear, anger, guilt or hate, these emotions will manifest themselves in our reality forever. Our collective focus helps determine the future.

This is why Mother Theresa said she’d never attend an “Anti-War” protest but would always go to a “Pro-Peace” rally. This small distinction has powerful implications. Being against something is still dedicating mental energy to that thing, which perpetuates its existence.

To some extent, we cannot control our thoughts; they arise from our experiences and environments. But we can control which one’s we engage with, especially when we practice meditation and mindfulness. When we learn to detach ourselves from our thoughts, we become better at choosing to act with love, compassion, harmony and joy.

Over time, by dedicating our mental energy to positive thoughts and emotions, the reality we create will reflect this positivity. And when lots of us around the world do this, we can shift our collective consciousness to help radiate and attract positivity, peace and harmony.

Think global, act local. Find your inner peace

This saying is popular among sustainability advocates, but it’s also relevant to mindfulness. Peace with yourself is the first step to Peace on Earth. It positions your actions as something truly connected to everything else, helping you live more in harmony with the true Nature of all things.

Why I Love Meditation Retreats

Sukkhothai Retreat

If you are one of those people (just like me) who always seek for something else than just relaxing holidays far away from daily routine, then you should consider this kind of retreat. Not only will you enjoy cosy accommodation, beautiful surroundings and delicious healthy food, but also precious time to have a real encounter with your true-self.

Suggestion from a cousin

When I used to think of holidays, I always imagined going away from daily life, resting an endless amount of hours, and lying on the beach. Basically, doing nothing. And I was lucky enough to do that many times. But sometimes I ended up more tired than when I arrived. Why so?

Because my mind did not take rest seriously. While I was drinking coconut and sunbathing, my mind was still jumping agitatedly from one thought to another. I was recalling everything I had left behind, stressing myself even more just because I had more free time to overthink.

Therefore, I always ended up having this taste for more. But what was it exactly that I was searching for?

Just randomly as awesome things happen in life, a cousin of mine suggested me to take a look at an article about a retreat taking place in Thailand. Although I had never participated in a meditation retreat before, I decided to take part in the one organized by WPI in January 2016. That was when I found a perfect balance: impeccable combination of relax, re-energizing activities and life wisdom. Later on, I participated in many more.

Connecting East and West

I felt this retreat was a synthesis of many aspects of my life that had always been there, latent, hoping to be awakened. Taking part in it gave me the opportunity to look back at myself, my emotions, and my essence. To enjoy some silence and be able to listen to whatever my body, my mind and my soul were trying to tell me.

Sukhothai Retreat view

Organized in a delicate way, the retreat made me feel relaxed, comfortable, encouraged, inspired and embraced at the same time. My wandering mind had no chance but to finally surrender to the possibility of taking some rest.

What’s more, I had always been interested in learning about different cultures, connecting Eastern and Western philosophies. The retreat gave me an incredible chance to gain valuable knowledge about life from Buddhist wisdom.  Face-to-face lectures with Teaching monks allowed me to find pragmatic keys to have a different approach to my problems. I learnt about the way my thoughts, emotions, and actions are interconnected and how responsible I am for my own sake of mind.

Creating my reality

Basically, meditation taught me that I am the creator of my reality. Difficult and challenging situations will always be there and I cannot change them. However, I have absolute responsibility of the way I am reacting to those situations. Hence, I have the chance to build up my reality from a perspective connected to peace, freedom, truth and dignity. In this way, I am creating my own reality, I can stop assuming myself as a victim of external circumstances. Consequently, I am able to start considering myself as an active agent of transformation of my own life.

I understood that meditation actually requires just a little investment of time that brings countless benefits to my life.

If you are also passionate about diving into profound life experiences and would like to give rest not only to your body but also to your mind in a precious and tranquil environment, I would highly recommend you to take a look at this 7 Day Mindfulness and Meditation holidays for ultimate happiness that will take place in Thailand in July.

Be sure to enjoy the fulfilling experience of nourishing your true-self.