Meditation and Peace

March 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Basics, Why do we meditate?)

This post is a continuation of the series on the relationship between meditation and various feeling that we experience as we live our lives.

What is Peace?

If we think about the word peace, several different definitions come to mind. If we were just viewing the news about a war or conflict somewhere in the world. we my associate peace with the absence of violence, or a state where the war is ended.

In the middle of the night if a barking dog has awakened you, you may first think of peace a a synonym of quiet – so you can get the sleep that you so desparately want.

If you have been in a heated discussion with someone and the situation was unresolved, you may think of peace as a resolution to a tense or explosive emotional situation.

If you have some deep emotional pain from a situation in your life with a loved one, or a personal issue that torments you, then peace is purely an internal feeling that you might define as the way you want your heart or mind to feel.

The common theme in all these situations is one of conflict. In each situation there is a conflict between what you want to have or feel and what the reality actually is.

In that light, peace could be defined as the ‘absence of conflict,’ whether or not the conflict is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

That would be a definition that works on the superficial levels, but a few moments of reflection will clearly show that the absence of conflict is necessary but not sufficient to have peace.

True Peace and Superficial Peace

True peace is an upward lifting emotion. To be sure, there is an absence of conflict, but there is also an aspiration upward. Peace is a gentle feeling of reaching for, achieving and enjoying that which is good.

True physical peace, mental peace, emotional peace and spiritual peace all depend on a clear heart, a true intent and a desire for that which is best in us. It comes as we are true to the things that we know to be right.

Meditation Can Help Bring Peace

Meditation is a wonderful tool to help us achieve true peace in our hearts. Meditation will help you sort our feelings and thoughts in a way that drives action for thigs that can be changed or improved and gentle acceptance of those that cannot.

Regular meditation practice gives a perspective that brings peace, even amid the sometimes chaotic pace of life and being. It will give you a longer perspective, a greater measure of patience and a larger understanding of  the human condition.

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Meditation and bitterness

March 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

In the last post I talked about meditation and revenge. A compansion feeling is often bitterness. When we have been wronged, or think we have been wronged, we hold terrible feelings of anger or hurt towards the person or situation that has harmed us.

This is natural, particularly if we had nothing to do with what happened and were innocently affected.

We talked last time about revenge, or the active process of seeking personal retribution. In this article, we will discuss the longer term feelings that often stay behind and how they can affect us in a negative way until we choose to clear our hearts.

Whether or not we ever feel that the person or situation that harmed us has ‘justice served’ on them, we often hold feelings of bitterness in our hearts. These often take the form of questions or statements like these: 

  • That was not fair
  • I did not deserve this
  • How could they be co thoughtless and cruel?
  • Why did God allow this to happen?
  • Who are they to think they can get away with this?
  • Why does this always happen to me?

We then carry around a grudge or a feeling of having been ruined, or disadvantaged. Often we think obsessively about what would have happened if… and other similar thoughts.

Studies show that these thoughts and feelings are harmful. They generate hormones and chemicals that damage our brains and impair our judgement. In extreme cases, they cause atrophy of important parts of the brain and diminish our capacity to experience good emotion.

In addition, and perhaps most importantly we are harming ourselves far more than the original insult or act. In addition, the person or situation where our bitterness is directed is often unaware, and certainly not affected by our bitter feelings.

We become unpleasant to be around, we may talk incessantly about the injury or wrong and we stunt our own growth and development by focusing on a past that cannot be changed.

Fortunately we also have the power to effectively mitigate and often erase the emotional anchors that we needlessly carry around.

Some situations require counseling and professional help and some do not. All situations will benefit from meditation and learning to rid ourselves of these feelings. We can become free of the emotional residue of other’s acts or of difficult situations if we choose that path.

Learning to meditate will give you the power to dismiss the dead weight of the past. It can free up your heart to live joyfully in the present. It can give you a breath of fresh clear air instead of the stifling stench of old wounds with their decay and damage.

Your life and heart are your own. Meditation is a wonderful tool that restores perspective and gives energy and life.

Give yourself this wonderful gift!!

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