Many of us spend much of our lives searching for happiness and peace of mind. However, some never find them, and the reason is that they’re looking in all the wrong places. They think they’ll be happy once they acquire a certain amount of material wealth and possessions.
While these things can bring us temporary pleasure, they don’t bring us real happiness, or peace of mind. If we want to be happy and at peace, then we need to look somewhere else.
A wise prophet once told us many years ago that whatever we sow, so shall we reap. Those words are just as relevant today as they were over 2,000 years ago, no matter what our spiritual faith.
When I was a young man, I sometimes treated people with contempt, disrespect, and belligerence, and so I was treated the same by many of them. My world was filled with unkind people, but I never realized that much of this was of my own doing.
Today I advocate living by more wholesome principles such as love, kindness, and compassion. But these can be a challenge to implement. Fortunately, Eastern spiritual practices provide us with tools to help us live by these principles. Among them are deep listening, mindful speech, and silent meditation.
Very often, we don’t listen closely to what other people are saying to us. We’re usually thinking about how we’re going to respond, or something entirely different from our conversation. People don’t always need to hear our opinions. That is the need of our ego.
Deep listening can improve our relationships tremendously. Listen closely to what people say, and resist the temptation to respond. When you truly listen to someone, you send a clear message that what they have to say is important. Sometimes, being heard can be more healing than offering a solution to a problem, especially to a young child.
If a conversation does require a response, think carefully about what to say, and how to say it. Mindful speech is about choosing our words and tone carefully, so that they bring peace and harmony to our relationships. A few kind words can truly brighten someone’s day.
Both deep listening and mindful speech are easier to practice if our mind is calm. This is the role of silent meditation. The main reason many of us have a racing mind is that we’re always stimulating it through constant activities.
Take the time to sit quietly and follow your breathing. Meditation does not require perfection, just a break from the mental stimulation. When your mind wanders off, just keep bringing it back to your breath. Practicing 5-10 minutes a day like this can have a profound effect on your health, relationships, and peace of mind.
I think you’ll be amazed at how these simple practices will transform your life. You’ll discover a whole new world of love, kindness, and compassion, and you’ll reap the happiness and peace of mind you so deserve.