How to simplify the outside world and get back to a simple sense of peace and inner calm by Kintsugi editor Al Reem Al Tenaiji
Life is all about meaning. Where we find meaning and the meaning we ascribe to events and things that come our way influence every part of our lives.
We are going through a significant change on the planet. Society, through media and norms, tells us to find joy outside of ourselves. To look to external sources for meaning and pleasure. Unfortunately, this can result in a dependency on external and fleeting resources, control our behavior and even make us addicted. Addictions are false pleasures, they do not add value to our lives, and usually end up taking our power from us.
The need for outside validation and success has left us paranoid about failure. We are terrified to fail and therefore all too ready to follow someone else’s path in order to avoid mistakes and seek secure success and validation.
We humans are all a work in progress. True and lasting pleasure comes not from outside ourselves, but from working on the inner self. It can be learning a new skill or language, exercise or meditating, writing, journaling or reading, creating art or music or even simply spending time in nature. When we invest in truly meaningful things, the results fill us up from the inside. We can train our minds to rise above our momentary desires.
While there are many things we cannot control in the world, we can create a life we love with small steps. I believe that we develop our inner selves through discipline and concentration, and in order to hear our inner calling and purpose, we must cultivate a peaceful energy. As writer Juanita Gómez notes, ‘Finding meaning in your life is not a difficult thing, but it is harder than living a numb, fast-paced superficial life.’ This peaceful energy is the way to reach the state of equilibrium, where we are centered and grounded within our True Self. It is the original place of power. We must remember that our external world is a reflection of our inner world. Therefore, our dialogue with the inner world is as essential as with the outer world.
Recently, I made the decision to get better by change and undertook a three-week transformation course in Zurich. This inner equilibrium workshop was based on a few basic principles. The first is to nurture listening as a spiritual practice, that means listening for clarity, not for agreement. My teacher, Fatima, encouraged me to ‘acquire a listening heart’ and taught me to begin from where you are, not where you wish you were or where you want to be. We must see life as a blank sheet of paper. I saw that the work we do soon becomes our path. Another principle was that of creating and allowing for a sense of calmness in your life. I meditated often, picturing the process as washing my emotional cup in a stream that runs through a forest under a calm blue sky. This calmness became my resolution and changed my energy entirely.
To reach this calmness, I practiced a formula know as RAIN (see above). This is a beautiful mindfulness practice to cope with difficult emotions, created by Vipassana teacher Michele McDonald. This practice is specifically geared to ease emotional confusion and suffering. When a negative or agitated feeling arises, we pause, visualise and begin to pay attention to what is happening for us.
Everything carries meaning only when it touches our hearts. External consumption can only fill us temporarily, and it will leave us feeling empty and disconnected in the end. To simplify our life, we must declutter the overwhelming waste to live peacefully in our souls’ citadel. To feel connected, we must spend time and build from the inside out. To keep my life simple, I try to remember three key thoughts: it was not raining when Noah built the ark, I am a beginner every morning, and I have to take some walks alone.
What are your thoughts on emotional simplicity and inner equilibrium? How do you achieve your calmness? Is Kintsugi helping you in achieving your goals?I would love to hear from you.
Recognise Take a moment to recognise what is happening, consciously acknowledge the thoughts and feelings and try to name your emotions.
Pause to relax any resistance to the experience. Allow the experience, including any thoughts, emotions and feelings, to be what it is without trying to push anything away. Between what happens and how we react to it, there is a space, however small. Allowing is relaxing in the presence of what is difficult without responding to it.
This is about being curious yet compassionate for ourselves and simply noticing how we feel and react to a stimulus or trigger. Ask yourself questions such as: ‘What do I believe about this?’ ‘How does it make me feel?’ ‘What does it need?’
See the experience, and its accompanying thoughts and feelings, as a passing event rather then who you truly are. Imagine them as simply different images reflected in a mirror. Our emotions come and go, but they are not us.