More Peace – Take 4

Well, I hope you have already gotten some helpful insight into some places to bring more peace into your life this week.  Today I want to share one of my very favorites.  As with all the other practices on my list, this one adds up slowly to a wonderful cumulative effect of greater peace.  However, today’s tip is really the only one that consistently offers immediate results of increased serenity and inner calm.  Ready?…

4. Take time for quiet meditation. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to quiet meditation.  Different people find different types of quiet contemplation and stillness to be soothing and calming.  In fact, sometimes the same person needs different types of meditation on different days.

Prayer.  Devotional reading.  Journaling.  Intentional resting.  Listening.  Meditation on a word or phrase.  Quiet viewing of natural or artistic beauty.  Practice slowing your breathing and heartrate.  These are just a few powerful examples of ways to slow down your body and mind, inviting calm and peace to bathe and refresh your spirit.  What other methods have you experienced that really helped to slow and calm you (even if you haven’t practiced them in a while)?  And why haven’t you practiced them in a while?

You don’t have to become a monk or a nun to incorporate regular times of quiet meditation into the rhythm of your life.  Anyone can find half an hour a week for this essential practice.  I’ll bet you could even find fifteen minutes a day, if you are willing to cut down or cut out some of the time and energy drains in your typical routine.  How much time do you spend watching TV?  Facebooking or on MySpace?  Playing video or computer games?  Are you noticing how much time you give to screen viewing every day?  If you find it unsettling, decide to take charge and be a more savvy investor of your time! (For more on this issue, I highly recommend “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neil Postman.)

That daily commute that seems to be a never-ending battle to arrive two and a half minutes earlier?  Slow down and enjoy the ride.  Listen to music that soothes or encourages you, and really let yourself hear the music.  Rather than cursing that knothead who just cut you off, spend time praying about how you want to improve as a person in one of your key life roles.  I recently purchased a cd of sounds recorded from the beautifuly Atchafalaya Basin in South Louisiana during three distinct seasons of the year.  I save that bad boy for those days when I’m really bent in a twist.  Straightens me right out and soothes my soul!

We live in such a busy, driven, stress-filled age and culture!  I love the way Hal Runkel puts it.  He says it is really fairly easy to follow the old saying, “Don’t just stand there, do something!”  Sometimes the harder and better approach is to “Don’t just do something…stand there!” Thanks for that, Hal.  Good stuff.

Now, go find a quiet spot out there in God’s good creation and just enjoy it for a few minutes…

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