Sunday, 7 November 2010

Peace of Mind

It's one of the great paradoxes of human psyche.....we want to be left in our comfort zones and yet we thrive on the experience of being taken out of them!

Our intuitive understanding of that is why, even among the most settled and comfortable of us, there's a lurking desire for something to happen.

Perhaps that helps explain a fundamental contradiction in our attitudes to this thing called "peace of mind". We claim to be yearning for it, yet we often act as if that's a mere fantasy. We say we want to slow down, de-stress and learn how to relax. We pay a fortune to massage therapists, yoga teachers, acupuncturists and other practitioners in our search for relief.

We seek counselling; we attend meditation classes; we swallow tranquillisers; we drink too much; we cling desperately to "the short break" as a kind of high-octane holiday, or the furious weekly work-out at the gym to compensate for the lack of gentler more integrated exercise every day. We push ourselves to extremes, high on endorphins, mistaking exhaustion for contentment. The struggle to find ways of reducing our stress often looks stressful in itself.

Are we fooling ourselves with all this talk about de-stressing, simplifying and slowing down? Some people have found personal pathways to peace yet many more act as if stillness is tantamount to death! Most of us seem addicted to stimulation and find silence hard to cope with, even in small doses - like a pause in the conversation. Yet even the most restless souls occasionally claim to hanker after "peace of mind".

Observing these swirling contradictions, I'm tempted to ask: is the buzz, the rush, the stimulation generated by our busy-ness, something we crave - and perhaps even need - more that the stability and calm we often say we want? Most of us would say we SHOULD be trying to strike a balance between the two but why does the achievement of that balance seem so elusive?

I suspect it's because many of us actually welcome distractions from questioning the meaning and purpose of our lives. We half-know that, if deeply examined in a contemplative moment, such questions might lead us to a radical rethink about the way we live.

If we were all preoccupied with the quest for personal peace, perhaps nothing would get done - too much om and not enough oomph doesn't sound like the right balance either. After all, it's the irritating grain of sand in the oyster that creates the pearl; it's the itch that gets the book written, or the picture painted, or the deal closed.

The world needs souls to be restless sometimes!

"We seek to find peace of mind in the word, the formula, the ritual. The hope is illusion."
~~ Benjamin Cardozo

Sculpture by the Sea, Oct 2010. The artist gave it the title "Mirroring". For me it represents the struggle we have with ourselves in finding that elusive balance.


McMGrad89 said...

I know I complain about my busy schedule, but actually, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I weren't running hither and yon.

PS- I haven't heard that song by Jon and Vange in forever. It always makes me smile.

Cozyflier said...

Peggy, such timing for a great post. I was just saying to my oldest after he and Amelia went out and did paint ball, about playing weekend warrior! and then we talked about how we can't wait for vacations then we go and 'kill' ourselves trying to do so much in a short amount of time.

Must be human nature. I work better under the deadline, I clean house better when I have a goal, ie a party coming up!

Have a great week. PS(did you see my party pics? There is one of my son I'm dying for you to see!) It is in the trick or treat post!!


T's Daily Treasures said...

I am one who craves peace and quiet. I could sit for days, not talking to a soul, crocheting or crafting the day away, and I would be quite content. I tire of the idle chitter chatter, the constant noise coming from the tv and radio. Sometimes I just want to run away from it all. The best time of day for me is either early morning on the weekends when the kids are still sleeping, or at nite, like now, when everyone has gone to bed and all I can hear is the hum of the dryer (and your music at the moment). Peace and quiet is something I seek every single day. :) Have a great week. Tammy

Mike Smith said...

We drink too much? Nah, surely not. Another superb post, Peggy. I'm off for a brandy (doh!)

Christine said...

Peggy this post made me think of introversion vs. extraversion. The extraverts crave stimulation and energize after a party. Introverts like myself need lots of 'down' time and can be drained by parties. These terms have helped me understand my extravert sister so much better. T's Daily Treasures sounds like an interesting introvert, where Cozyflier sounds like a fun extrovert. Now I must stop analyzing people!

Zz... said...

I think also it is especially saggitarian bits in the chart that predispose one to needing that constant "excitement" fix and that restlessness in trying to get it...

not sure whether humans are ever capable of maintaining constant peace...I find my inner peace is very much supernaturally from God.

Marja said...

Ah good point you raise Peggy. I struggle with this balance all the time. I am however forced to look at this closely from time to time as my brain gets easily in overload and I have a couple of times arrived there this year with a busy schedule. I knew that it would only be for one year. I already gave up one of my jobs and look forward to more down time which I grave. I do need the stimulation as well but I find that easy to find. I function better in the latter though after some quiet time. Aroha Marja

Hybrid J said...

Thank you for such insightful post. It comes just when I need some direction and clarification. Humble thanks again. ;)

Roban said...

As a former skydiver, I guess you could say that I'm an adrenaline chaser. I work better on deadlines and I, too, clean my house so much faster when I'm expecting guests.

There are many days right now, though, when I crave solitude and peace and quiet. Truly. But I wouldn't crave it so much if it were so easy to come by. I remember a teacher friend of mine who had to take her young son somewhere every single day of the summer. She just couldn't stay home.

As with most things... moderation is the key. I think we all could learn to enjoy more quiet time. Time for thinking, dreaming, creating, and sharing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Peggy,

We believe that you are the giver of Old Masters - New Visions book left in Naremburn Park. My friend and I found this book & card in Sept and thought what a wonderful gesture it was. My friend kept the book at work to read. Today I went for a walk on my own and stumbled across the same book with a card and thought wow. So now we both have the same book, in the same office, in the same building on the same floor. If it is you we would like to thank you for this wonderful book and gesture and we will be sure to pass the books on. Thank you kindly.


Annie said...

I have peace of mind in gardens... and when I do not engage in the distractions of the world like tv or radio or politics:)
That beauty in inner tranquility is blissful when I find it, and sad when I relinquish it to routine and not 'seeing' what is real.

miruspeg said...

Annemarie, Carrie, Tammy, Mike, Christine, Macs, Marja, Hybrid, Roban, Annie....Oh my delightful friends thank you for sharing your stories/feelings. I do enjoy reading your intrepretation and adding so much more to my posts.

This discussion brings to mind the yin and yang concept. When one part is at its height then the other is at its lowest ebb.
Within Yin is the seed of Yang and vice versa, and as such, they form two complementary, yet also opposing forces. Together Yin and Yang make a whole, neither one is more important than the other, so I am told.

So if we are aware and connected to our Yin and Yang we can quickly decide what we need to do to bring ourselves back to a more balanced state when feeling any discomfort.

Sounds like a good plan doesn't it, if we could only always be that wise!!

I will visit you all in the next couple of days, meanwhile take care and keep shining! :D)

miruspeg said...

Hello Anonymous!!
How on earth did you find me???

Yes I have been leaving books and cards in Naremburn Park for over a year now. I do voluntary work for Lifeline and we have many books left over from our bookfairs, so I thought instead of throwing them out I would distribute them with some cards I made over in the park.

How exciting that you both picked up the same book months apart, what are the odds of that happening!!! And it is a delightful book too, so many lovely images. I was hoping the book would be picked up before the rain came today....looks like I got my wish.

I believe in angels and I love their sense of humour, they are always making me smile.


Smita Tewari said...

I think u've said it, Peggy! we are struggling for that balance between the conflict of living & inner peace! and in the hope that we'll find it some day...

very well expressed- the turmoil of our souls!

Who you callin' housewife? said...

If we always had peace of mind we would either be in a coma or dead.

I guess peace of mind can mean different things at different times for the same person. Sometimes, being in the middle of a city with frantic people and taxis can bring me peace of mind. Other times, it is sitting in the sun and petting a cat.

Love the idea of leaving behind books in the park.

Evil Shannanigans said...

I am definitely on the Om over oomph category, or was until lately. This November someone must have lit a fire under my ass, because I am writing a novel, started a new blog, two new animal rights online groups as well as taking an adventure packed trip to vegas. What happened to my dear friend procrastination?

Anonymous said...

Hi Peggy,

Your name was printed faintly on the back of the card.I am not too sure if you were aware of this.
I stumbled across this blog and it sounded like the person who left the card/book so we thought we would say thankyou.

It's good work that you do and it definitely gave us something positive to think about. It's good to have kind and thoughtful people in the world like you. Keep it up!

Take care,

Chapter Forty said...

I wonder if I will ever have complete peace of mind and always be contented with my lot and life? Would that be a good thing?

Aren't us humans predisposed to alway want more, adapting and changing to our environment and circumstances?

If my life is too same-same I crave change, and if my life is too hectic I strive for calm quiet organisation. All the time I am learning and growing. This discontent has surely kept the human race inventing, striving and developing itself throughout time??? (But then there's the cost to the environment)

Maybe the Amish have peace of mind???

I wonder?

miruspeg said...

Smita, Housewife, Shannon, Chapter Forty....thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and insights. Personal thoughts are beyond powerful and I am so grateful that you felt comfortable doing so!

I'll let you into a little secret...sometimes you feel you write a brilliant post that everyone will comment on, other times, like this post, you think you are too wordy and your friends will skip passed I am quite overwhelmed with the response and feedback. I have some pretty amazing friend!

I apologise in advance if I take more than a few days to visit your blogs. I have a very sick friend in hospital who needs support and love and I want to be there for her and her family as much as possible.

Meanwhile take care and stay safe. :0)

miruspeg said...

Hi Nil
Thanks for replying to my comment.
I had no idea that my name was on the back of the card, it was so faint I missed seeing it.

I did want to remain anonymous so I will blot out future cards before I place them in the park.

Thanks for your encouragement and kind thoughts, it warmed my soul. :D)

Anonymous said...

"too much om and not enough oomph"

I like it ;o)

Yes, it's a balance. And as one who always has 'too much on' I haven't found the answer yet.

I was thinking along the same lines as you when reading 'A New Earth' by Tolle. If we let go of our egos... would anything ever be achieved? So really we need both and the constant struggle is the yin and yang of it.

Though I do like the Buddhist 'law of least action'. Now - that I find appealing...

Silver said...

Saw your comment. Didn't that spooke you? But lightworkers sounds just fine to me!


miruspeg said...

Happy 11:11 everyone!!!

May our light spread around the Universe like a never ending wave.

Peggy xxxxxx

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Oh my, such food for thought, especially during this slide into the holiday season. I just strive for balance and wish everyone the same :-)

Cheers from England!

Robyn said...

I think we have to have both as I believe one doesn't exist without the other.
When we do experience peace of mind we only know that is what it is because we have the experience of stress to compare it to.
Even a zen master experiences stress.
Stress is healthy in its mature state as it can motivate us, but if we let it run wild it can make us very ill.

Okay enough from me.

Wishing you lots of fun and love in your week.
x Robyn

miruspeg said...

Japra - Sometimes too much food for thought, too many questions and not enough answers.
Hope to visit your lovely country again in the near future....England swings!!! It rocks my soul anyway!

Robyn - You have summarised particularly well how I feel with your comment. Thank you my clever friend!

The weekend is nearly upon us and I plan on relaxing with friends, laughing and sharing stories and of course a wee bit of eating and drinking.

I wish all my friends peace of mind with lots of oomph to keep our energy level on track.

Keep smiling....keep shining.
Pegs xxxxx

Debra W said...

Peggy, what a wise and thought-provoking post, dear heart! Right now, I am in the middle of a ten week class called Buddha Chicks(You would love this! It is online if you ever want some info about it), trying to achieve the balance that you talked about here! But your words ring so very true. Do we really "want" the inner-peace that we seem to crave? Wow! Maybe that is why the "monkey mind" makes it so difficult to really achieve the peace. You have given me so much more to think about, angel friend. Thank you.

Just a couple of other things. I will add your sick friend to my prayers. And also, I LOVE that Nil found your book and then found you! I think that is fantastic! I know that you like to leave the books anonymously, but sometimes, The Universe has other ideas for us:) Love it! Simply, love it!

Please take good care, my dear one. Thank you for the very sweet comments that you left for me on my blog. You make my spirit smile.

Love and big hugs,

miruspeg said...

Deb from reading all the feedback you and my clever friends have written I believe if we stop beating ourselves up because we don't lead a perfectly balanced life and if we listen to our intuition maybe then a certain peace of mind will be achieved.
If we don't clutter our lives with to many activities and junk we have plenty of time to focus on what we really value.

Thank you for the Buddha Chicks info, I will check it out. And thanks for your prayers for my sick friend. She appears to be on the mend at the moment which is such a relief.

I love how the Universe lets me know that the books and cards are being did warm my soul!

Love and light always beaming your way sweet Deb.
Peggy xxxxx