How to Find Your Way Back to a Calm, Clear Mind in Turbulent Times

How are you doing in this time of turbulence and isolation? Amid the devastating news and growing concern of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as well as the need to direct the course of Parvati Foundation through the global crisis, I feel acutely aware of the importance of inner peace. Returning to a calm, clear mind is the greatest gift we can give ourselves to weather any storms that come. This week and in the following weeks on this “Finding Your Inner Peace Sanctuary” workshop, I will be here supporting you in finding a peaceful mind through these troubled times.

Imagine a calm, clear lake on a sunny day. See its surface smooth and quiet, reflecting the light of the sun and embodying warmth, even while it remains steady and cool in its depths. Sense its vitality and freshness. Now consider that your mind has the potential for that radiant peacefulness.

Yet somehow, especially in times of difficulty, our minds feel more like a turbulent sea. What once was transparently clear becomes clouded as storms churn up debris from the ocean floor. Then we find ourselves unable to see the moment as it is. We see only the refuse of lingering thoughts, unresolved emotions and old issues as they swirl through currents of our inner agitation. All that we once discarded to the bottom of our psyche to be forgotten has arisen again. It not only occupies our awareness, but permeates our being and shifts the orientation of our lives.

What is this churning ocean tempest? It is the accumulation of old, painful ideas that I call sorry stories. Like steering currents gone awry, they are core beliefs that do not serve, such as “I am not worthy”, “all men are dangerous”, “I gotta get it right”, “all women are fickle”, “there is no room for me”… and on it goes. These concepts of ourselves, others, and the world are anchored in previous experiences which we have not fully integrated and accepted. They were a way that we submerged any pain in uncomfortable moments. When we step back and look at these beliefs objectively, we can usually see that they are not real. But because we have claimed them for our own, we act accordingly. Deep down, we even believe our survival is tied to them. As a result, we do our best to make them real, whether we know we are doing so or not. With the passage of time, left unaddressed, they come to shape our idea of who we are, the course of our life, and what we perceive this moment offers us.

Though we may convince ourselves that we are trying to find peace by holding on to these beliefs, the storm they create makes that impossible. We miss the moment behind a shimmering mirage of our wanting past or wishful future. We act as though we are in the mirage, instead of the neutral and clear presence just beyond it. We could remain in this dream that feels like a nightmare, until something startles us out of it and we begin to wake up. Then it is as though the illusive mists of our projected sorry stories dissipate. We begin to consider that this pattern is just not working for us, and there must be a better way. In this, we can set our course to a different shore.

On the steadiness of this new ground, we understand that the agitated mind is not who we are. Only then are we able to witness how we enable its churning. When we recognize how identified we are with our sorry stories and how they do not serve us, we feel able to let them go. It is then that the swirling waters in our mind begin to calm. Just as a serene lake becomes clear so we may see through to its depths, we can for the first time see without congestion. It is then that we experience the translucency of inner peace. Possibilities open before us. What once felt dense, now has renewed lightness. Then we can recognize when our sorry stories are at play and practice the three steps to transformation: understand, witness and release. As we choose this, we give power not to our inner agitation, but to a growing sense of peace. We become beacons reflecting the light of the sun into the world.

For the past few years, we have collectively become increasingly aware of our global ecological crisis. Today, we face COVID-19 as an expression of ecosystems out of balance. More than ever, we need to recognize that our relationship with the outer world mirrors the clarity and compassion we have within our own selves. We are inextricably interconnected with the fabric of life. Not only when one person coughs in China can we feel it eventually on the other side of the globe. As we act in agitation, we churn the collective waters of our world. Indeed, we have been acting out of balance for a very long time and disrupted the natural homeostasis. Though we may feel disconnected from life in our current isolation, we must come to see that we are here precisely because we have been living in disconnect for far too long.

As waves of quiet extend around the world, we are beginning to understand that our shared Earth Mother is making clear the rules by which we need to live sustainably. Our recklessness has put the world and all life on it at risk. Would not any caring mother stop her children acting that way and insist they attend to their mess? In today’s enforced pause, we have that opportunity. We must take the time now to still the churning in our minds and dive deeper within. Our inner peace sanctuary is calling. The world is asking for its health, and our very own. May you embrace each moment as an opportunity to discover the calm, clear lake that you are.

From my heart to yours,

1 thought on “How to Find Your Way Back to a Calm, Clear Mind in Turbulent Times”

  1. By learning this story I came to know that we must give time to ourselves for the betterment of individual… sometimes we got a lots of difficulties in life ,, in a those situation we most handle it by peace ful minded…. without frosting and loosing dignity…it helps to build strong thinking capabilities in man life….so don’t let problem to controlled over your body….let control your problem with calm and peaceful mind and face the difficulties….enjoy life

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