“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? (136-137)”
It sometimes seems as though we spend much of our time searching for peace and serenity in our lives. But are they really sensations we need to grasp for? If we could just finish this project or complete that task, would we finally be more at peace? Or are they intrinsic qualities each of us possess, but perhaps have simply gotten buried under every day stress and the busyness of life?
This week, do NOT attempt to solve the mystery or fix anything in hopes of finding SERENITY NOW. Make a conscious shift towards cultivating existing serenity and peace. Awaken to your innate serenity.
Find a space that already exists in your life that creates a sense of peace. Remember, we are not fixing anything, so no effort has to go into creating this space. Rather, can you remember or take note of where this place is for you? Try to spend at minimum 5 minutes in this space. Maybe close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly.
Take note of rituals which calm and nourish you. Do you love the smell of your morning coffee or the warmth of a mug of tea? Do you find a meditation in your daily walk or preparing dinner? Notice how even the seemingly mundane rituals such as brushing your teeth, washing the dishes or putting laundry away can nourish our souls.
Cultivate moments of connection and community throughout the day. We often meander through our days coming into contact with others without truly connecting and acknowledging them. Remember, we can put down our devices and look people in the eyes. Smiles are free. Asking someone about their day or sharing a story are opportunities to feel part of a bigger community and thus more at peace with the world.
Eat mindfully and move each day. Even if we have very few resources it is possible to eat our food consciously and nourish our bodies with movement. Finding gratitude for our bodies, despite challenges, can bring peace into our lives.
Find stillness and rest each day. Allowing ourselves time to restore and relax does not require visits to fancy salons or exotic resorts (although, wouldn’t that be nice?) Take time each day to find moments of stillness. When we pause to take deep breaths or find stillness, we begin to form the habit of coming back to our center and finding our foundation.
How do we find peace and joy in our lives? How do we live our fullest potential and not get swept up into the darkness and negativity that can sometimes seem to dominate our world today? These are tough questions with seemingly no perfect answer.
Sri Swami Sivananda taught his students how to achieve this peace by using the Eighteen ities Song. He believed when one focused upon and cultivated each of these “ities” or virtues, one could begin to transcend everyday things and find a deeper meaning in life.
The Eighteen Ities
Serenity, Regularity, absence of Vanity,
Sincerity, Simplicity, Varacity,
Equanimity, Fixity, non-Irritability,
Adaptability, Humility, Tenacity,
Integrity, Nobility, Magnanimity,
Charity, Generosity & Purity