Article by Michael Herd
Tranquillity – defined as peace, calm, quiet and stillness. Yes, many people wish that they had more of these qualities in their lives. In their modern fast paced lives, jam packed with plans, hopes, dreams, deadlines and demands. People have wanted this for quite some time now. An indication today could be the range of prescription and over-the-counter medications available to chemically induce some tranquillity. Is it not strange that we are geared to achieve, work hard, and always try our best to excel? So quite naturally, we stampede off on a lifelong quest of material establishment and acquisition; while all the time within us there is a little voice saying “Please, can we just stop to catch our breath? Can I not ever just get a break, to relax, to unwind?”
Yet still we charge forth unyielding, each one building his or her own fiefdom; which as it grows, demands even more time and effort to maintain and expand.
STOP. Literally. Right now. Stop reading, close your eyes, quiet your mind, and take seven deep breaths. Is that not better, even just a little bit?
The thing is, we all live in this fast paced world, we all need to function in it, and to do that most certainly does require a substantial amount of busyness. But what we often forget is: we are in control. We can stop, and have timeout whenever we want, our own little quiet time – disconnected from the outside, listening to what is inside. Sure, we cannot be like this all the time. This is not what I am suggesting. Who would want to be in a constant state of calm and stillness?
I think it would get very boring, very quickly (not to mention the lack of productivity)… But, by the same token, who would want to constantly be busy, rushing from one thing to the next, never resting, and never stopping? That sounds equally as horrible, but then why do so many of us do it?
The answer lies in balance – the middle way – and most of us already know this. So why are we so constantly busy – being pulled this way and that, by multiple crises constantly demanding attention?
Why, when we do rest; is it not so much rest but more of a mini-collapse at the end of the day, when we reach the point where either the demands stop, or we have simply reached our ceiling of capacity to deal with them?
The devil is in the detail. Really. That myriad of things we need to do right now, because they are important, and the equally long list of things we need to do just now which we will get to as soon as we have finished what we are doing right now. All those little things, when we are in a reactive state – pull us this way and that, always keeping us busy. Simply taking a few moments to stop, breath, and take a step back will give us a tranquillity which transcends the 60 seconds the physical action takes – because it allows us to centre ourselves, and move from a reactive state into a proactive state.
Now, that list of a million and one things is only one thing – what I’m busy with now – and I can dedicate myself to it without being distracted by all the other things I will be doing just now. We are in a space where we do not feel overwhelmed. We have a firm and clear mind, which can proceed to carry out any busyness in a calm and centred manner.
The more we do this – take the time to listen to ourselves – the more we will experience being in control – and just that sensation alone will alleviate the majority of the stress which plagues us. So take the time – to stop, and listen within. We constantly have tranquillity – it is all just a matter of perspective – as The Buddha told us: “Nirvana is here and now”
Is it possible to live by the wisdom of the ancient masters in our everyday life?
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