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  • Martin Stepek

Peace of Mind in Ten Minutes

We joke here in Scotland that we can get all four seasons in a day, and on a particularly volatile day we can get all four in the space of an hour.


The mind and our emotions are not dissimilar to our weather patterns. We have phrases that connect weather to emotions. A person can be described as cold; another as wet. Some people have a sunny disposition, or are a ray of sunshine, while others are a breath of fresh air.


Like the weather, these emotions are subject to change from moment to moment. One moment you’re happy getting on with things as normal. The next moment you hear some news and everything has changed. Gone is the normal contentment, and in its place is either worry, fear or anger, if the news is bad, or joy and excitement if it’s good. Sometimes – more often that we think – we just change mood without any outer cause at all. We just get a bit gloomy, or we feel chirpy, for no reason.


What this shows is that our minds are most definitely flexible. They can and do change dramatically. The downside is that they seem to do it all by themselves, without our permission, and usually without us really being fully aware that the change is happening.

It would be much better if we were the ones in control of our mind and our moods rather than the other way round, which is most commonly the case, that is, that our mind largely controls us. This is a bit bizarre and sometimes hard to get your head around but it is clearly the case. No one would deliberately choose to be depressed, anxious, worried, scared, raging angry, frustrated, irritated, and so on. Yet this is what happens.


Peace of mind is one of the many emotions of feelings we can experience. Sadly most people rarely if ever do. Their runaway mind is just either so busy or in such a powerful mood that there’s literally no mental space for peace to take hold, settle, and grow.


This is desperately sad because peace of mind is a lovely feeling.


The good news is that we can grow it just like plants in a garden, or develop it just like we can develop fitness through walking or running, or muscular strength through weight-resistant exercises.


Right now as you read this, you can make a start. Notice, even as you read these words, your breath slowly taking air in through your nostrils. Feel the freshness in your nostrils. See if you can also feel it in your mind – that breath of fresh air we spoke about.


Still reading this, now turn your attention to your out-breath. Slow it down. Notice how quiet it is. Notice that your out-breath is a peaceful sensation in the nostril. Then, like before, see if you can notice it as peaceful in your mind.


OK. That’s enough for now. But if you can create peace of mind for five seconds doing that simple little exercise, you can therefore do it for longer than five seconds. Say ten seconds. Or thirty. A minute.


With practice you can nurture inside yourself and bring yourself a whole ten minutes, either in one go, or sprinkled through your day in little bursts of peace. Just keep practising and the results will come.

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