“A quiet conscience makes one strong!”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a young girl
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The second picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked further, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the plant a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest... a picture of perfect peace.
Which picture won the prize? The King chose the second picture. Why? "Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your spirit. That is the real meaning of peace."
I love this little story because it reminds me of 2 Buddhist monks I had once met in South East Asia. They had grown up in serene monasteries all of their lives and thought they had mastered peacefulness, when they were told by the oldest and wisest monk in the monastery that they hadn’t mastered it yet at all – for it’s easy to think you master peacefulness when you live far off from civilisation, all the suffering, the noises and smells from the big cities. So off they went on a big journey to experience whether they could be peaceful even in hectic surroundings. I sat next to them on a plane on my way back from Burma to Bangkok and just loved listening to their stories.
“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”
Then I moved back to Europe and suddenly I had to face the every day struggles of an expensive and chaotic life in Switzerland. I had subletted my apartment as I no longer could afford to live in it and ended up living with an eccentric old lady (or house dragon as the neighbours would call her) until I found my own little place. I met old friends and got entangled into the old ways of the typical life in Geneva: the afterwork drinks, the noisy bars and clubs, the expensive restaurants and their horrible services, the daily dramas of couples breaking up, dating dramas, friends moving to all sorts of different places after their boyfriends, only to realise later that it didn’t work out and then came back to Geneva, the many stories about people who lost their jobs, were receiving unemployment benefits but instead of applying for jobs were travelling around the world and updating their Facebook status accordingly.
Suddenly I felt as if the whole new me that I had gotten to know in South East Asia was fading away again. I was totally controlled by what was going on around me and my stress levels were high again. So I remembered those 2 monks and their quest and decided I needed to find a way to stay calm and serene even in stormful times.
I’m sure there are so many different ways to find our centre and peacefulness. Here are just a few suggestions for you to consider:
- Meditate each morning for at least 10 -15 minutee or join a meditation group.
- Do some yoga – I always feel much more balanced after each session. But any kind of sport will help you stay grounded.
- Eat healthy food. If you don’t give your body what it needs and deprive it from all the nutriments and vitamins it needs, it’s no wonder when you feel a total lack of energy all the time.
- Cook your own food vs eating out all the time. When you cook your own food you are much more in control of what you are eating as you pick your own ingredients. Plus, cooking is almost like meditating, it keeps me calm and I love the routine of buying nice ingredients, trying out new recipes and last but not least enjoy the food I cooked in the end.
- Drink enough water – keep yourself hydrated.
- Get enough sleep – I need at least 7 hours each night to feel absolutely energised when I wake up again.
- Stay away from drama and gossip – it just drains too much positive energy and usually the people who love drama or gossips are quite toxic and negative. Instead surround yourself with loving and joyful people as they will always raise your energy levels.
- Talk less and listen more – sometimes we are just so obsessed with our own stories and dramas that all we talk about is ourselves. Instead make it an habit to forget about your own daily dramas and start listening more to what the people around you have to say. It’s incredible how much some people like to talk and how it takes them a huge effort to just listen for longer than 3 minutes.
- Read more – why not switch off the tv on some evenings and just read a book or spend some time being creative. When I’m creative or emerged in a book I always feel inspired and centred.
- Keep a journal – instead of keeping all those worries in your head all day long, just put them all on paper. Writing can be truly therapeutic and many times you will start seeing the answers so clearly.
- Enrole on a Reiki weekend course - with Level 1 in Reiki you can start giving yourself and your loved ones treatments. Reiki is a Japanese relaxation and stress reduction technique that also promotes healing on many different levels. I give myself Reiki almost every morning and already get up feeling joyful, peaceful and energised.
Read my other blog entries:
Hicham, the touristic train driver in Geneva
Be like a butterfly
The art of inviting more Magic into your life
Lessons to be learned by a tree
A true, inspirational story about little angels
Losing a lost one
The truth about smiles
How to have a healthy body, mind and spirit
How to develop your Spirituality
How to open your heart
The power of a smile
5 tips for new year's reolutions for a happier 2012
Christmas is for love
The Art of being grateful
The battle between the 2 wolves we have within ourselves
The wonderful power of unconditional love
A beautiful fable about love