“Remember the entrance to the sanctuary is inside you.” Rumi
When the outside world seems to have a certain amount of uncertainty, on the spiritual path we can work on cultivating the ability to tune in to inner peace and fulfilment. Indeed, whilst there can be challenging emotions on the surface layer of the mind, below the surface there is calmness and well-being. Like at the depth of the ocean, there is stillness even if there are waves on the surface.
The Importance of Acceptance
There is a teaching from the Buddha about two arrows, where the first arrow is whatever is actually occurring and the second arrow is our reaction to what is occurring. It is said that a lot of difficult emotions are due to the second arrow as well as the first arrow. Even if an unwanted event or extremely challenging situation has occurred we can still work on transforming our reaction to it.
In meditation and daily life developing the ability to not push against any difficult feelings rather developing the ability to sit with them and allow them to be is extremely valuable. It can sometimes be helpful in meditation to silently repeat to yourself words such as ‘allow’ or ‘I allow this’. This practice allows the unconditioned mind to hold the conditioned mind in unconditional awareness and to therefore be with what is being experienced in a non-reactive way. Interestingly, there can also be a practice of accepting non-acceptance. This holding of the conditioned mind in the unconditioned mind starts to purify the mind of any beliefs that aren’t our true nature.
Looking for the Good in the Current Situation
Focusing on the good in a situation is not pretending that there aren’t difficulties but instead it involves selectively focusing on what is genuinely good. Furthermore, this doesn’t mean that we don’t take any action that needs to be taken but rather from a place of greater connection to our True Self our action will be more guided from broader perspective if there is any action that is for the highest good.
One practice that you might like to do is asking yourself ‘how can I grow and develop from this situation’, ‘is there anything that is genuinely good about this situation or that has come from this situation’ and to make a list of the different things that come to mind.
For example in the current situation for some people there may be a greater opportunity to go within and to reflect more with less of the busyness of day to day life.
Focusing on Well-being of Others Increases your own Well-being
A few months ago I did yoga teacher training in India. In the evening there was chanting of mantras and one of the teachers there who had a strong faith in a loving, universal energy was talking about the importance of sending good wishes to others. In addition to this practice helping to positively influence others it also brings greater peace of mind to the person doing the practice.
The Benefits of Finding the Calm Within
Finding the calm within is beneficial in and of itself and in addition it allows us to progress deeper on our spiritual journey. In a recent meditation retreat that I took part in one of the teachers said “when the surface of the lake is still, you can see deep”. Indeed, in this calm state any deeper mental impurities in which there are thoughts that are in opposition to our true nature can be witnessed and through this witnessing with a calm mind they can start to be purified and released.