When was the last time you experienced a deep sense of inner peace? I want you to recall a time you felt the most relaxed you have ever felt. Go back in time to an experience you had where you felt a deep sense of calm and contentment. Allow yourself to daydream and get lost in your inner world. Close your eyes and step back into that very moment of time.
Where were you?
What were you doing?
How were you standing, sitting, or moving?
How were you breathing?
What was the expression on your face?
Where do you feel that deep sense of peace in your body?
As you recall this specific moment in time, I imagine that you may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I haven’t felt that way in a long time!” Experiencing a deep sense of inner peace has become a rarity and a foreign experience.
I am writing this with the intention of opening a new door and discovering a new path. As you read this, you may notice your attention begins to move inward, bringing you back to yourself and opening a pathway maybe you forgot existed.
I like to equate experiencing a deep sense of peace to the sun. It is always shining. The sun never stops shining. It always shines with the exact same intensity. However, the clouds cover it up, conceal and make it disappear at times. This gives us the experience that the sun is no longer shining. And much like the feeling of deep inner peace, we believe the sun somehow went away or got turned off somehow.
Expanding on this metaphor, what if experiencing a deep sense of inner peace was not about doing something or getting somewhere? What if it was more about removing the blockages (the clouds) that get in the way of experiencing peace (the sun shining)?
I want to explore 3 fundamental blocks that stand in the way of experiencing inner peace:
1. We aren’t even aware that it exists
When was the last time you woke up and thought to yourself, “I want to experience a sense of peace today”? I imagine that is not the top item on the “to-do” list or the first thought that comes to mind upon waking each morning. Simply by noticing what you really want to experience (whether that be a state of peace, calm, serenity, etc.), you exponentially increase the likelihood of experiencing it. The simple act of reading this today is like a seed being planted in your consciousness and increases the likelihood of shifting your experience.
2. We make it conditional
As we wake up, start our day and move through our life, we often think in terms of “if only…”.
If only I can get this done, then I can relax.
If only I can push through this _______, then I can have fun.
If only I can get that _____ , then I’ll be happy.
We set up conditions in our lives to experience states of peace, relaxation, and satisfaction. We delay any sense of calm or serenity and do not allow ourselves to feel it until we accomplish some arbitrary benchmark. The irony is that once we accomplish this arbitrary standard, we often don’t even allow ourselves to slow down and experience a deep sense of peace. Rather, we move right on to the next goal or benchmark. This creates a hamster wheel that can feel impossible to get off. Moreover, we begin to train ourselves that experiencing a sense of peace or calm is just possible. It becomes an elusive state that we are not deserving of.
Making peace and relaxation conditional is a major block that is quite prevalent in this day and age. You can break this cycle by simply allowing yourself to slow down and setting aside time for you to turn inward for no good reason at all!
3. We are too consumed with the addiction to fear and excitement
Fear and excitement are both emotions where our nervous system is in a heightened state of arousal. We have become so accustomed to feeling this heightened state that if we were to allow ourselves to feel calm, come down from the abundance of adrenaline and cortisol, we might just fall asleep. We might even feel lost and not know what to do with ourselves in this foreign state. This might even feel scarier than feeling the fear and anxiety we have become so accustomed to.
Someone once said, “We’re caught between what we fear the most and what we want the most.” This depicts the dance between fear and excitement that is all too common in our experience in this day and age. We are either running away from what we’re afraid of, fighting tooth and nail to avoid, prevent or stop bad things from happening to us or we are running toward what we want. We are chasing something that we think is going to give us some gratifying emotion.
This state of chasing or striving can feel like a high in and of itself (and far too often the pursuit is more enjoyable than arriving at the desired outcome). By merely bringing our awareness to the binary choice between fear and excitement, we can have the realization that there are other items on the menu. Maybe there is another option to choose from. What about peace? Maybe there are other emotions we can feel too. Maybe the menu is much broader than we consider.
When I step back and look inside myself, connect with the clients I serve and peer out into the larger world, it has become very clear—a deep sense of inner peace is the rarest of all commodities, the scarcest of resources, and perhaps the very thing we need most right now.
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About Sam Nabil
Sam offers therapy in Boston and Boston Marriage Counseling for adults suffering from relationship challenges, life transitions and anxiety. Sam Nabil was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English, The Washington post, The Boston Globe, Fatherly magazine, Women's health magazine, Cornell university, Yahoo News, USA Today, Marriage.com
Naya Clinics offers Marriage Counselors near me, individual therapy near me, and life coaching near me in various locations across the USA and the world. Naya Clinics also offers Online marriage counseling, online therapy, and online life coaching.
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