We are the most connected society ever. We can communicate across the globe in seconds. We have more money, possessions, and options than ever before. Yet, we are a society in distress. For all of our advancements, we fail to bring balance, ease, and most importantly, inner peace into our existence.
So how do we find inner peace? What are the reasons we so quickly lose our balance? What are the changes we must create to find more ease and less stress? Is it possible to have inner peace in the age of digital?
I have been there and occasionally still find myself tumbling out of control in my daily (although less and less) pursuit of personal equilibrium. What has changed most for me is how I handle these upside-down episodes.
Here are a few quick tips that will help you move toward more inner peace in your life.
Are you in the past or future? It was Seneca who said True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. From a place of being present, we are at the fulcrum point of life’s teeter-tooter. The mind is projecting into the future (fantasy) or caught up in thinking about the past (memories). Peace is only possible in the moments when consciousness is unified. Leave the present moment; you lose your peace of mind.
Life is overwhelming. Stress or depression are symptoms of our fast-paced world. We require a time out to reflect on what is going on inside of us. Is working 50 plus hours per week necessary? Can we let go of responsibilities that do not feed your well being? How present are you in your life? The key is to learn to observe yourself. Not react when confronted by your emotions. Self-observation takes practice. It is a conscious act of catching oneself in the moment. You stop before the reaction takes you over. Great spaces to practice the art of observation are practices like yoga or meditation.
Feel into your situation
There is a great deal to be learned when we take the time to feel what is present for us at the moment. If overwhelm is your space, what feelings come up? Feel into them. These emotions are expressions of the mind that tells us that things are not going well. The more you can feel and name (own), the more you will open to emotion there. Talk to a professional, a friend, or a partner. Share your feelings and thoughts with them. Do not isolate. Isolation only compounds the situation.
As we move into this new age of digital transformation, our ability to check-in with ourselves is more important than ever. Avoiding the spiral of future and past thinking, being an observer of your own inner space, and feeling into what is going on inside are different ways to bring yourself to the present. I make these suggestions to you as tools to cope with the pace of modern life. Three different ways to peer through the veil of confusion and mental clutter to slow down and find inner peace.
There was a time when a man was called out for his beliefs through the art of debate. There was a moral imperative that called for action – standing behind what you say and a willingness to hear other in response.
But times have changed. We (US) face a self-inflicted moral deficit while hiding behind technology as we espouse our beliefs via a “tweet”. More extraordinarily, we can say whatever we want and find an audience. Our radical beliefs now land for people who are also struggling with deep seeded insecurities and loss. Frustration, paranoia, hate – all are symptoms of how we turn our inner struggle outward.
People cannot stand tall if they are languishing in despair – regardless of what side of the issues they may stand on. Through turbulent times, our path should be to seek our “individual truth” with inner resolve, while acknowledging that which is alive in us. The direction of our voice, mindful of the fact that there is another human being on the receiving end.
We must be able to stand and be witnessed by the masses for what we find in our search. No projection. No demands. Just an earnest reflection of our soul. And we need not rely on technology to become our voice.
It seems today that a “tweet” can be interpreted as a “cry in the dark”. And where there is pain, there is the potential for healing.
I woke up one morning to find a hole in my life.
Couldn’t see it.
Couldn’t stick my hand in it.
Just this gnawing awareness that something was missing in me.
Then there were all the ways I tried to cover-up this hole in my life: from exercise to therapy. Why I even tried avoidance, but nothing really worked…the hole was always there.
What’s inside you ask? Let me look.
Well it’s not a pretty sight, but I can share this with you.. it is the place that I avoid the most. It’s where my shadow resides.
“There’s a Hole in my Life” by the Police
Shadow in my heart
Is tearing me apart
Or maybe it’s just something
In my stars
There’s a hole
In my life
I, along with many others, traverse our planet full of missing bits and pieces; the scarring of our attempt at existence. So time to acknowledge that this is me; a man with a hole that makes him whole.
A strange idea I know.
You see holes cannot be patched or bandaged as they are the constant reminders of of our individual journeys and the wreckage left behind. So turn away no more shall I, but rather, take a deep breath and look inside.
Who knows what I might find.
“I spend far too much time on my devices” my brother sheepishly remarked during a recent call. “Even when we are watching TV, we still find ourselves on our devices chatting or playing games – we are so addicted to our devices” I listened and mumbled in agreement thinking to myself about how much I rely on my technology. “That can’t be me…can it?”
The conversation made me think about the words of Seneca the Younger in his writings On the Shortness of Life:
“Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing.”
We waste so much of our lives and energy on the pursuit of things we think will make us feel better. We find ourselves in a constant struggle over the emotional toils of life. We worry daily about how we are perceived by the world around us. We are disconnected and detached. So much so, that our precious life slowly drains away. We have the time to connect with our true selves.
“Vices surround and assail men from every side and do not allow them to rise again and lift their eyes to discern the truth, but keep them overwhelmed and rooted in their desires. Never can they recover their true selves.”
Our devices are a great example of “heedless luxury” that keeps us in these various states of distraction. The average American spends more than 11 hours a day on screen time*. That leaves us with little time for all the other aspects of our lives – work, play, food and sleep. The more time we spend on technology, the more we loose our way.
So what do we do? The only answer is to take back the time we have and re-prioritize what we want in our lives. To replace screen time with me time.
I like to think my conversation with my brother offered both of us the opportunity to reflect on what we do with the time we have here on earth. For my part, it gave me insights into the choices I make and how the forces of desire, want and need impact on those choices. It also reminds me of the importance of being completely present in my day-to-day activities – to put down the distractions and to be aware of life in all it’s brilliance.
*Seneca The Younger (c. 5 BC – AD 65), was a philosopher and dramatist. He is best known for his works on Stoicism.
The hardest thing to see when we are in a place of struggle – job loss, illness, financial collapse, separation – is that this process called life is forever evolving. We often become confused because our perspective is clouded by the emotions that surge during our struggle. We become myopic and stuck.
“Everything is temporary”
We have to be able to grasp and see the long-game of life. That “everything is temporary” and that the very process of life unfolding cannot be measured nor controlled.
Growth comes when we let ourselves cook with the fire of struggle – exploring the dark, scary stuff that comes up in that moment. Through this exploration, we begin to see our struggles for what they are – the shedding of something old, outdated.
We come to know that we are in constant motion and that something new is just around the corner. That loss becomes gain. That night becomes day.
Clarity comes from this new perspective.
Far too many of the headlines today pull us deeper into the unfolding, astral drama of the world around us. Shootings, politics, devastation – the bad news continues to pour fourth. With it comes the emotions that surface as we interface with the news. We react – however it may manifest – as the article or story hit’s our different emotive buttons.
One of the dangers of contemporary media is the duality that is buried deep within the message: this happened (fact) and this or they are to blame (fiction). While I am in total disagreement with the dystopic message that “the media is the enemy of the people”, I do feel it is important to have some dissonance from the meme associated with the news today in order to discern fact from fiction.
When we allow ourselves (and our emotions) to get carried away by negative information, our emotional response drains us of our vital life force. Already taxed by the stresses of life, we succumb to negative content and further sap our energetic resources. The more we take in, the quicker we spiral downward into despair, disillusionment and fear. We no longer see the world as positive and full of hope.
Whenever I find myself stirred by something I’ve read or viewed, I take a moment to reflect on what’s going on inside of me. I pose the following questions:
Do I have any control over what I’ve just read? Can I do anything to change the outcome? Does this help me in any way?
A big part of personal clarity comes when we are able to step back from what’s happening in the moment and reflect on what we are experiencing. Having a sense of what is truly within our control and what is not. The above exercise helps reduce the anxiety and stress that our bodies experience when we react. We manager our emotional resources more effectively, thus no longer giving away our precious life source.
Tip: Always ask for clarity in your life, regardless.
So as you pick up your device for the latest news or social media post, be mindful on what you take in and what you let go. Find a good space and don’t allow yourself to be overcome by negative memes that are out of your control.
Lastly, take a moment to stop and check in with yourself. It’s your life and your choice.
“Would you like to listen to this week’s album, compiled from your own thoughts, emotions, and experiences?”
Digital Transformation(DX) is radically changing our wold right before our eyes. From the way we work to what we eat, DX is a powerful disruptor, reshaping our lives and pushing old societal norms out.
Here is a story from New York based musician, writer and entrepreneur Jerome Gerard on the potential future of music in a DX world.
I can’t say enough about books or the people who have dedicated their creativity to sowing words for our consumption. Books honor the human condition. They keep our traditions alive, awaken our imagination and put our little ones to sleep.
They are found in every country, in all languages and tongue. At least two adorn my side table 24/7/365.
I know the coming digital age is going to forever change this timeless concept. We cannot stop the march of progress. But there should always be temples dedicated to our tomes so that humanity will never forget from where we’ve come.
Research has shown approximately 25 percent to 35 percent of American adults are inactive. This state of inactivity not only is detrimental for our physical bodies, but our mental, emotional and spiritual selves as well.
Movement is more than being fit, it’s about being aware of what goes on inside you – the body and mind – and the integration of the two. Movement is also about taking action in your life to change behaviors and beliefs that are holding you back.
Movement breaks stress and apathy. Movement is release. Movement demonstrates one’s taking responsibility for things in one’s life. Movement is feeling.
Finally, movement is living…fully.
Good day to you. It’s Monday – how’s your life outlook? I remind myself – and you as well – that this is another day of opportunity; a chance to shine and be brilliant. So regardless of what’s happened this past weekend, I hope that you are experiencing clarity and excitement for the potentials of the new day.
Purpose and Presence
Having a purpose is an important ingredient in having clarity in our lives. Purpose gives us focus and a direction in which to take action. Another key ingredient is to be present for all that comes our way. The magic is in the moment.
Ernest Hemingway once said –
So I ask that we all look for our purpose in the day ahead; being fully present while noting the details in the passing moments.
This is my wish for us all on this Monday.