Guest writer Srujana Puttagunta shares her thoughts on how to find zen and inner peace in the chaos of everyday life
The mind is a complex thing. It constantly feeds on the past and future and is almost never in this moment. Often, we spend too much time and energy trying to plan, prevent, and predict, thus rooting ourselves in fear. We close down our hearts and get imprisoned by whatever it is that we are trying to control. It’s not just with people but with life too. We find ourselves thinking about what we should have done differently and how we could have lived our lives, instead of focusing on what we can create in this moment. This impulse to control stems from the lack of trust in life. We tend to believe that if we don’t control, life will fail us and those we love. The truth is, even if we succeed in controlling some things, by distrusting life, we become disconnected from life itself, thereby unplugging from the source of creation. Our fears, worries and insecurities start to gain more power than love, peace and joy. So how can we access a deeper connection to life? By trusting. Trusting life does not mean that undesirable experiences will never happen, it means that if they do, you trust that whatever unfolds is for your highest good, and the highest good of those involved. Here are some techniques which help us through this process:
1. Practice being in the present: Look around you! Look at all the miracles that happen every minute. Listen to the rhythmic chirping of the birds when you wake up. Notice the good in people and acknowledge their efforts. Relish the gorgeous sunset on your commute back home. Admire the moon for its beauty. Breathe in the fresh, flower-scented air deeply on your early morning hike. Pause and listen to your heart beat. Peace almost always arises when you can be fully present in the moment. This moment is the only doorway to the creator and creativity. It means that you are opening up to better things that life has planned for you.
2. Surrender to the universe: Notice how all of these miracles work in harmony without our meddling? The planets, the tides, the earth, the sun, and the moon, all continue to to carry on their legacy. Even our breath does not wait for a signal. It goes on! The same source that created all these miracles also created us. Doesn’t it seem like the source of life knows what it is doing? The more we try to resist and control life, the more misaligned to life we become. Surrendering does not mean giving up on your dreams or loved ones but simply ending any form of resistance. To surrender is to stop interfering with the natural flow of life. It is powerful and liberating.
3. Accept your life for what it is today: We hear a lot of advice around us to make peace with the past, let go and move on. If only life was that simple! What you need to accept, instead, is that your past has brought you to where you are, made you who you are. Those who deny the effect of past experiences can get caught in a strategy of self-protection that involves dismissing or ignoring strong emotions. Such things can come back to bite us where we least expect it. I believe that some things happened the way they did to teach us soul lessons for spiritual growth. The best thing to do is to bless them for having served us and let them go in a healthy manner. How do we do this? Through acceptance of the moment. Think about it for a second - happiness occurs because we are completely accepting something that is happening at that moment. Accept yourself and the situation, understand how it affected you and how it served you in your growth process. Also make sure to place it where it belongs — in the past.
4. Chase, find and learn that lesson: One of the most beautiful gifts we can give to ourselves is the willingness to open up - to understand why and how certain things happened, and what the underlying lesson in it is. Acknowledging that there is a lesson to learn in every undesirable situation is where half of the healing happens. Have undesirable patterns ever repeated in your lives? That is the universe’s way of indicating that there is still a lesson to be learned from the situation. The hardest and perhaps the most painful part of our life might end up leading us some place more powerful.
5. Release attachments to thoughts: Once the lesson is learnt, the most important thing to do is to let go of all attachments to our thoughts. The secret is to not let our thoughts run or control us. It is important to let go of negativity and shift focus to thoughts that empower us to create a happy and content life. This can be very challenging and takes consistent effort, but eventually, the thoughts will begin to lose power over you. Letting go is not a one-time thing. It is a practice that requires dedication to the process of life until you reach a state of wakefulness. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
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Miraya originated as a concept magazine for a Publishing class, but much of it now exists online and has been adapted for this blog. The core remains intact, and that is to explore the changing landscape of contemporary Indian fashion through the international lens, engaging readers in a creative juxtaposition between tradition and modernity. It is spearheaded by the Founder and Creative Director, Namrata Loka.
Namrata R. Loka
Founder & Creative Director