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Symptoms of inner peace

young womanI came across the following in my chiropractor’s waiting room. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:

  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in judging self.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the
    uncontrollable urge to extend it.

WARNING: If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.

Copyright © 1984 Saskia Davis. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. For permission to republish, contact Saskia at sweetamazinggrace (at) earthlink.net.

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Comments

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Comment from graceonline
Time: November 5, 2007, 1:03 am

Wonderful! Serene. Thank you.
With hands folded …

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Comment from Jeff
Time: November 5, 2007, 4:51 pm

So how am I supposed to make this happen for myself if one of the things I want to achieve is not making things happen? Am I to wait around for inner peace? Or get it myself? Or just stumble past this page and not look back?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: November 5, 2007, 5:27 pm

Hi Jeff,

That’s a good question. Saskia is probably the only person who knows exactly what she meant by “An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen,” but in my experience there can be an unhealthy grasping after results that can actually get in the way of getting what you want.

A mundane example is the person who desperately wants a romantic partner and whose desperation has the unfortunate effect of putting people off. A more spiritual example would be the way in which grasping after happiness can cause great suffering.

The solution for the desperate seeker after love is perhaps to relax and to be him or herself, and to stop trying so hard; to learn to be happy while single and to let that relaxation and happiness attract others.

With spiritual seeking the solution seems to be to stop grasping after results and to simply enjoy the process of working with whatever’s going on in the present moment, being less concerned about where you want to go. It can still be very important to have goals — without them we rarely achieve anything — but goals need to be held lightly and not grasped after.

That’s what I’d take that passage to mean.

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Comment from Anne
Time: November 28, 2007, 3:53 am

I have read the “symptoms” that were enumerated above and felt like I was reading about myself. I have only found myself in this situation recently and actually considered myself as a “worry wart” before.

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Comment from Chad Reitsma
Time: November 29, 2007, 12:50 pm

Excellent framing :)

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Comment from david
Time: January 1, 2008, 2:47 am

This is truly charming. So glad to have found it.

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Comment from Kenny
Time: June 8, 2008, 10:18 pm

I recently took up meditation again (been along time) because I noticed how truly unhappy and angry I was once day. Through meditation and help from H.H. The Dalai Lama (Stages of Meditation) I have found that I have achieved these listed below from your writing.

A loss of interest in judging other people.
A loss of interest in judging self.
A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
A loss of interest in conflict.
A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)

My problem that I am having now is that while I feel better than I did I still don’t quite feel at peace. I feel more empty than anything. I let my mind go for so long that anger and extreme dislike was all I thought about and now that I do not my mind just seems empty and I’m having a hard time filling the void.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: June 8, 2008, 10:44 pm

Hi Kenny,

It sounds like you’re making great progress in letting go of unhelpful and negative mental patterns, which is half of the Four Right Efforts (getting rid of negative mental states and preventing their future arising). The other half of the Four is cultivating positive mental states and sustaining those positive states that are already present. So it sounds, from what you say, that you’re half-way through this process.

Sometimes, when the mind has been unhappy for a while, or under great stress, there can be a time when we feel a bit emotionally dead inside. I experienced this myself once when I’d just quit a very stressful job and experienced a complete absence of pleasure and happiness for some time thereafter. But that passes.

You don’t say what kind of meditation you’re doing, so I’m not sure if you’re doing any lovingkindness or compassion meditation. That’s something that could help “warm up” your inner life. Actually doing something to help others — like doing some volunteering, for example, or sharing some skill you have — can also help a great deal. Dhardo Rinpoche, a great Tibetan teacher, once said that if you’re not sure what to do, do something for others. It’s also been noted many times that when we experience or express compassion for others we feel happier ourselves.

I hope this helps.

With metta,
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Takezo Getsubei
Time: September 4, 2008, 1:53 pm

Great Article!!!

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Comment from Clark Casale
Time: October 25, 2008, 7:44 pm

I have read that finding happiness is like a cat chasing his tail….he never seems to catch it….but when he stops chasing it and walks away ..his tail happily follows.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 25, 2008, 8:50 pm

That’s a pretty good analogy, Clark. Striving too hard for happiness creates stress, whereas relaxation tends to bring us closer to a sense of well-being. There’s a kind of gentle effort somewhere in between striving and doing nothing that’s actually helpful — for example when we make an effort to appreciate the good things in our lives or to see the positive side of a situation. That kind of effort is very beneficial.

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Comment from Nimia
Time: November 18, 2008, 3:56 pm

I have been reading from your website and have learned and amazed myself immensily.
I was already about to start one of the free courses when realized have not read the backgroung
section completely. Although it made me laugh, I am so revive with hope by the posibility
of one day get infected, I can’t wait!!! May I say I love you for sharing the advise? Thanks…

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Comment from Andres
Time: April 20, 2009, 4:29 pm

I used to feel so lost, so insecure about myself. Everywhere, at work, at school, even when I tried to talk to a pretty girl. My mind was always thinking about what I was going to say, how I was going to say it, thoughts building on top of other thoughts. I was introduced to meditation, which changed me completely. I would focus on one noise and listen to it; not think to focus on the noise. Anyways, I did this for a week1/2 and incredibly in such a short time my mind was freed. It was as if my mind went empty of thoughts. I couldn’t mourn for the past or live the future anymore, I was living the now. I would feel what others would feel. I would get bad vibes before something harmful/dangerous would happen, in other words, I was “listening to the signs.” Yet all these new feelings came to me at such short time. My friend said it was as if “someone just switched on the light.” Why and how though?? Three weeks later (which is now the present) I am beginning to feel like a burn between my eyebrows. Every time I try to meditate I can’t focus on anything but that feeling between my eyebrows. Why? My friend says that I’m opening my third eye, but I don’t know because I don’t feel a difference other than the burn; and its not going away. Today I woke up and I feel so tired, not wanting to do anything, no thoughts just that burn that I can only pay attention too.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: April 20, 2009, 7:26 pm

Hi Andres,

Sometimes people are just ready for a life-changing experience, even when (and sometimes if) their inner life seems to be a mess. Ekhart Tolle was profoundly depressed when he had his insight experience, for example, and even in the Buddha’s life story he’s supposed to have been assailed by an enormous amount of doubt just before he awakened.

As for the burning sensation between your eyebrows, this is a classic chakra (which has a hard “ch” as in “church” incidentally, and not the soft “sh” sound that so many yoga teachers give it) but unfortunately I know next to nothing about chakras. At the same time, I do know about nimittas, which are signs that appear when your meditation is going deeper. Sometimes the mind finds or creates a sensation for us to focus on which is less directly tied to the physical body and is more in the realm of sound, light, or energy. This sounds like one of those, and you’d be advised to pay attention to it when it arises, although don’t strive to make it happen. Paying attention to the nimitta will help take you deeper into a concentrated and still state. Watch for mental excitement, and just accept whatever happens as being “normal”. Getting worked up about “special experiences” is a sure way to bounce right out of a truly concentrated state and back into the realm of mental chatter.

Good luck!

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Comment from Calm
Time: October 3, 2009, 3:53 pm

Hi Bodhipaksa,

I was wondering is it common to use “auto suggestion” during meditation? I am a believer in positive self talk (also known as “affirmations”). I firmly believe what you say to yourself is what you become, if you keep saying “I am confident” or “I love life” you will start acting confident and feeling happier by default. The true power comes from the subconscious mind and what you programme into it (beliefs) becomes reality. I also believe in the “Law Of Attraction” to some extent because when you think more positively more doors of opportunity start to open up to you. However affirmations have to be said with conviction and emotion for them to really take effect on your emotional state. We only live once you may as well programme your subconscious mind with beliefs that serve you.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 5, 2009, 11:46 am

Hi Calm,

I think affirmations can certainly work, but only if we believe them on some level. Someone with low self-esteem who repeats “everyone loves me” but doesn’t believe it will feel worse afterwards. There’s actually research demonstrating that. I also think that even if you believe a statement like that and it’s not true, then that’s an ethical problem and will lead to unhappiness and a lack of integrity in some form or another. They may make you feel better but I think they’ll lead to hubris.

I do think that affirmations that are true are a valid form of practice.

Like you, I think that there’s something to the Law of Attraction to a point. If you’re more friendly, for example, then people will be more likley to want to help you. If you keep a goal in mind you’re more likely to notice opportunities that help you meet that goal. But the whole LOA thing can involve some magical thinking that again I think is unhelpful.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 7, 2009, 10:31 am

Here’s a link to an article about research on the potential negative consequences of affirmations: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702110503.htm

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Comment from Calm
Time: October 10, 2009, 10:09 am

Hi Bodhipaksa,

Thanks for the link and reply. I have used affirmations before in the past so I can actually say I have use them. From my experience affirmations work. The truth is most of us give ourselves affirmations everyday. Many of us talk negatively about ourselves internally on a daily basis. However what we usually say is negative. There is no doubt about it thoughts can create certain feelings whether good or bad. Affirmations have to said with emotion though because it’s the subconcious mind that takes in the affirmations. As you know the subconcious mind is the core of our emotions. Saying affirmations in a normal logically way won’t register very well unless they are stated with feeling and expression. Even though I think less because my mind is more calm and quiet my bad emotions, sad or discouraged feelings stem from the way I think. The great thing about having a quiet mind is I can reprogramme my subconcious mind with more positive thoughts so I will feel happy, content, joy and just feeling better overall. In my opinion the subconious mind will accept pretty much anything you tell it if delivered with real feeling and belief.

Cheers

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 13, 2009, 10:54 am

Yes, I’m sure affirmations can be spiritually helpful. At the same time, just because something makes you feel better does not mean that it’s genuinely spiritually helpful. There are many people who feel good based on delusions about themselves, and since the point of spiritual practice is to realize truth, that kind of feeling good (based for example on the false idea that everyone loves you and you’re extremely competent) isn’t going to help in the long term. That’s why I favor affirmations that are solidly grounded in reality. Affirming our potential is one way of lifting ourselves emotionally while still honoring the truth.

At the same time I could see how lifting oneself out of a “stuck state” is valuable whatever the means. It’s possible that someone could “fake” themselves out of a stuck (depressed) state and then go on to embrace a more truth-based approach to personal development.

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Comment from Srinagesh
Time: December 20, 2009, 3:21 am

Namaste,

As a new reader and subscriber to your site, I am presently on my journey to understand myself and the complex person I am and have made myself over the years thanks to being civilized in this civilized society and coping with anger, job stress, jealousies, distrust, lost love, job insecurity, debts, reducing bank balance, strained family relationship, and whatever there is left or can think of – the full works. Have lately taken to reading about spiritualism and meditation in particular, and getting drawn to Osho, Buddhist Sutras and meaning and Eckhart Tolle’s concept of Silence and the power of Now. Very powerful and totally shaken when trying to practise. Bodhipaksa, I just want to practise a simple process of meditation – please advise – and make my own road and travel on this journey towards an end which is of my own making. As the Buddha said in one word – Be Aware – am trying to…… thank you for your help

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: December 21, 2009, 10:04 am

Hi Srinagesh,

You asked for a simple process of meditation. I’d suggest starting with mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana. These are two simple, complementary practices that we could all usefully do for the rest of our lives.

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Comment from Srinagesh
Time: December 22, 2009, 6:37 am

Namaste Bodhipaksa,

Thank you for your guidance. Can you please elaborate about metta bhavana – is this about being soft and gentle in apporach !!! or maybe something else. Would be very keen to hear from you, please. Thanks once again.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: December 22, 2009, 10:50 pm

Hi Srinagesh,

Sorry, I assumed you’d looked at what’s available on this site. We have extensive guides to both mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana. Enjoy!

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Indresh arora
Time: July 18, 2014, 7:10 am

sir, I wanted to improve my concentration and so have started doing meditation
I am practicing cross legged position and I have been doing it for 3 days but I feel very tired After practicing meditation
what is the problem please help!!!!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 19, 2014, 10:30 am

Hi, Indresh.

It’s very hard to say, from a brief description. It’s possible that you’re just noticing how tired you are, but that would usually cause you to feel tired during meditation, rather than afterward. It’s more likely that you’re making too much effort during meditation, and leaving you feeling tired afterward.

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