I feel very grateful to have found a portal I can use to experience a compelling sense of inner peace. I want to share it with you in the hopes that you can join me in my serenity regardless of what is going on around you in the outside world.
I simply visualize that my psyche is a mountain. At the top is the thinking part of my brain, in the middle are my feelings and at the bottom is my subconscious and all the other parts of my mind that lurk around outside of my active awareness.
Running underneath and through this mountain is an inviting stream of peace. A peace I can jump into at any moment to carry me away to a beautiful place I can’t describe in mere words. However, when I am there, I am drenched in stillness and presence.
This stream meanders from my mountain as I transcend my mind and venture into an alluring and distant domain. I am sometimes in a canoe as I float by sandy banks and pine trees and gaze at clouds as they pass through the sky.
Other times I am flowing in warm, white light which leaves me feeling like I just pulled a quilt over my head as I lay in bed on a cold winter’s night.
I savor going to my stream when I meditate because I know I have ample time to venture beyond the limitations of my mind and reach deeper and deeper levels of bliss, far from the challenges of the quickly disappearing outside world.
I also go to my stream whenever I have unwanted thoughts or crave a moment of silence amidst the noise in my head or the outside world. I used to have to remind myself to jump into my stream, but now go there instinctively whenever the need arises.
Finally, my stream has helped me overcome intense fear and anxiety during highly traumatic moments in my life. A few years ago, I found myself lying helplessly on a gurney in a very crowded hospital emergency room after an EKG revealed that I might have had a heart attack.
I worked myself into a lather of despair as I pondered my mortality and thought about all the beloved family and friends that I would leave behind if I died. Suddenly, I was jolted out of my distress by the beckoning of my stream and quickly dove in. I closed my eyes, let go of any semblance of control over my life and began drifting away from the chaos around me and into a state of inner comfort and safety.
Although I certainly did not feel happy and was still aware of my predicament, I did experience a desperately needed sanctuary from my suffering. Fortunately, it turned out I was fine and I returned to enjoying all life has to offer. However, I will always value the fact that I was able to find some peace of mind despite my perilous situation.
When I am in my stream, I feel very close to myself. I also feel deeply connected to all of humanity and relish the awareness that my fellow human beings have been finding their own portals into peace since we began walking around on two feet.
Whether through meditation, yoga, prayer, strolling in the woods or simply gazing at a beautiful sunset, we all long for peace of mind. We spend our entire lives inside ourselves and it is a lot more pleasant if we have inner harmony rather than emotional turmoil.
I love to read the writings of the great women and men who have spoken eloquently about how we can achieve wellbeing and abundance. My favorite is the poet Rumi who wrote:
Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
One of the most fruitful epiphanies I have experienced is that I can be immersed in my stream and still live the life I want in the outside world. In fact, I am more productive and effective because I am mindfully focused on the task at hand and can hear the guidance and wisdom of my “inner voice.”
As a therapist and life coach, I routinely encourage my clients to identify a real or imagined place that brings them a sense of quietude. The beach is the most popular destination although I have heard about many appealing spots, including one client who visualized that he was a frog sitting on a log in a pond on a hot summer’s day.
I then use guided meditations to lead my clients to their tranquil scene, far from their problems and worries. I love the look of contentment on their faces along with their frequent tears as they arrive and bask in their inner calm.
It is often difficult for my clients who have been traumatized to give themselves the gift of inner peace because they erroneously believe they need their fear and anxiety to shield themselves from danger. I assure them that these emotions do not protect them and that they will be able to take even better care of themselves if they are peaceful.
For instance, I recently asked a client who was visualizing that she was sitting on the bank of a beautiful lake if she would still be able to move to safety if the woods around her caught on fire. She smiled, responded “of course,” and settled back into her deep relaxation.
Once my clients have developed the ability to access their peacefulness, they have renewed energy and focus to change what they can in themselves and their lives. The emotional pain that brought them to therapy fades away and they experience greater happiness and fulfillment.
Now it’s your turn. Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and visualize that you are jumping into the stream of inner peace we will share. There is plenty of room and you richly deserve the serenity and abundance which await you!
Nate Terrell is the author of Achieving Self-Compassion: Giving Yourself the Gifts of Happiness and Inner Peace. You can find more information on self-compassion and sign up for self-compassion coaching at www.achievingselfcompassion.com. You can also share your own experiences on the “Achieving Self-Compassion” Facebook page. Nate looks forward to hearing from you!