“Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos where you find the peace you did not think possible and see what shimmer within the storm.” — John O’ Donohue
To remain centred amidst the chaos in the world is challenging, yet signifies a renewing act of strength.
It’s no surprise the news media sensationalise reporting world events to hook us in. They use bold words and Breaking News in their headlines to captivate our attention while giving us a glimpse of the real story.
It’s wise to limit watching the news since it heightens the fight-or-flight response in your body. The mind perceives impending danger when regularly exposed to distressing news and creates stress.
Our perception is influenced by our past and immediate environment. I’m not suggesting unpleasant occurrences don’t exist. Though, when exposed to it often enough, we evaluate reality according to what we see.
Have you noticed people who declare the world is terrifying, are the same ones who clutch to distressing news events? They base their assessment on negative experiences without considering an alternative view.
Assuredly, what you look for you will find.
Author Byron Katie of The Work states, “The world is your perception of it. Inside and outside always match — they are reflections of each other. The world is the mirror image of your mind. If you experience chaos and confusion inside, your external world has to reflect that. You have to see what you believe because you are the confused thinker looking out and seeing yourself. You are the interpreter of everything, and if you’re chaotic, what you hear and see has to be chaos.”
The media propagates a biased view of events we know little about. We concede because it’s broadcast into our living rooms or social media channels and we accept it as truth.
Judging by the tone of the article you might assume I’m anti-media. I’m not, yet if we allow it to be our only source of information, we are at the mercy of relying on the fear it promotes.
There’s little reporting of good news events nowadays other than a 30 second highlight, depicting a cat rescued by a passer-by stuck in a tree — get my point?
To rely on news as your source of information incites fear.
“Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.” Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.” — Marianne Williamson
Atrocities have existed for thousands of years since man first roamed the Earth and were far more severe in ancient times. Crime rates have decreased in parts of the world due to advances in technology, a shift in consciousness and the development of civilised society.
When there is chaos in your immediate life, it may represent disorder in your thinking. Sometimes the winds of change blow upon us at inopportune moments and we are caught unaware.
“Pain causes chaos, fear, and resentment, and we have to overcome that. It is an extremely simple logic. Once we can overcome pain, we discover intrinsic joy, and we have less resentment toward the world and ourselves,” states Chogyam Trungpa in Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery.
How do you maintain equanimity when there’s chaos in the world?
It lies in our response to handle negativity and not catastrophise the situation.
If you are drawn to the pessimism in the world, consider the potential of other people to be lured into the same fear mongering.
In contrast, what if your thoughts are enriching instead of fuelled by fear?
Collectively, we extend peace instead of panic into the world. Humanity cries out for people like you and me to impact others — change is contagious and carries its own momentum.
It begins right where you are, in your own corner of the globe.
Peace is only a thought away. Consider the power of that phrase.
A negative or hateful thought towards your fellow man, contributes to unrest in the world. If hundreds of people buy into this, the collective energy of humanity is negatively affected.
I respect the advice by the Dalai Lama who said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
It’s clear if you’re reading this, you value personal growth or are intrigued by the insight these words offer. I invite you to move into your heart when unsettled to get a sense of the peace there.
Engage in meditation to turn your attention to the silent voice within.
“That is why it’s so good to meditate every single day and continue to make friends with our hopes and fears again and again. This sows the seeds that enable us to be more awake in the midst of everyday chaos. It’s a gradual awakening, and it’s cumulative, but that’s actually what happens,” affirms the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron in When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.
By moving into your heart, even as little as five minutes a day, connects you with the pure love and intelligence that guides the universe.
“The state of nowness is available in that moment of squeeze. In that awkward, ambiguous moment is our own wisdom mind. Right there in the uncertainty of everyday chaos is our own wisdom mind.” — Pema Chodron
I cannot describe why bad things happen in the world. It is remiss of me to claim I have the answers when I don’t.
What I propose is a way to manage the chaos, not to make sense of it. When you go within, all is well and safe.
Stay present and connected to your moment to moment experience, knowing everything is fine and you needn’t worry about the future.
Pema Chodron reminds us once more, “The state of nowness is available in that moment of squeeze. In that awkward, ambiguous moment is our own wisdom mind. Right there in the uncertainty of everyday chaos is our own wisdom mind.”
Fear is a future orientated occurrence. When we project our thoughts ahead of time, we worry things will not transpire as we hope for and we experience pain and suffering.
Ask yourself the following when you experience this restless state:
How do I feel right now?
Am I safe? Are my needs met?
If the answer is yes, you needn’t buy into the fear others impose on you.
When you experience negative or fearful thoughts, do nothing other than reassure yourself you are safe and taken care of.
To shift from a negative to positive thought is like trying to do a U-turn on an ocean liner. It’s impossible, yet if you change course over a distance, it’s more likely to happen.
So with your thoughts. Move from a negative to a neutral thought is the first step towards rewiring your brain, from fear to inspiration.
It takes time, patience and diligence because we are habituated to this way of thinking. It’s wired into our genetic nature to discern negativity around us.
Immerse yourself in activities that nourish your soul whether catching up with friends and loved ones or taking part in hobbies you enjoy.
This enhances your psychological and emotional wellbeing. Happiness is contagious, so others feel good in your company. You inspire them to adopt a similar attitude and transform lower emotional states.
“Refuge simply means a safe, supportive place to be when we are fragile or confused, a safe place to cry or rant as long as we need to, or somewhere to wait patiently until a course of action begins to emerge from the chaos,” avows author Linda Graham MFT in Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being.
You don’t have to be a victim to the fear in the world. The news and social media are one form of information not intended to purport the truth.
You have the power to stay centred, calm and stable amid the chaos, since peacefulness is always a thought away.
Originally published at medium.com