“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ~ Alan Watts
Finding Zen amidst chaos simply means to slow down, revel in the moment instead of escaping it and among all the madness and chaos that surrounds you, being at peace within.
Like pressing the pause button and getting a grip over your thoughts and letting it flow.
It’s not about absence of stress or escaping to a peaceful abode in the mountains to find peace, but experiencing a deeper sense of inner calmness in the midst of chaos.
After the birth of our second child (you know how challenging the initial months could be), I thought to myself that instead of complaining of the sleepless nights, monotonous act of nappy-changing, long hours of feeding etc.
If I am at peace with it and focus on the beautiful moments of bringing up a spiritual being, it won’t seem tiring.
It worked; I found my Zen, in the daily chores. As the saying goes, “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.”
Here are a few tips that has helped me find that inner peace, and it might be useful to you as well.
1) Close your eyes and breathe
It’s really that simple. Just close your eyes, turn your gaze inwards and focus on your breath. Breathing properly can not only influence your health and state of mind, but it’s also essential for maintaining chi, the life-force energy.
When you consciously take a few deep breaths or practice Pranayama, you will instantly feel the difference. Let’s do this together –
Stop from whatever you are doing.
Sit straight, relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath at the count of 5, hold it for 2 seconds and slowly exhale at the count of 5 again. Continue doing this few more times or as long as you like. Let go of all that doesn’t serve you! How do you feel?
You can also chant a mantra to gain clarity and transform the negative thought pattern into positive ones.
2) See the positive side of things/ situation
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
We get so caught up in our head during difficult times that we forget a simple rule – change your perspective. Looking at a situation with a different perspective is like looking through a new window where you change your point of view or view point.
When you see things differently or even better, with an overview perspective you change the way you feel about the situation. When you find the courage and ability to do that, it gets easier to stay in control of yourself rather than the situation taking the control from you.
Feeding your mind negative thoughts only worsens the situation, instead free your mind from needless worries, and you will find the light at the end of the tunnel.
3) Laugh like a child
Children are natural Zen masters. Reconnect with that wisdom you had as a child.
You are never too old to laugh your heart out, play a prank, let your inner child loose and see how easy it becomes to find what we’ve lost as grown-ups. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Humour and laughter is a powerful tool to help you find a sense of Zen.
4) Yoga, a way of life
Need I say more. I find solace in doing yoga, its like my happy pill. When I do yoga it feels like I have come home, closer to finding my true self. The entire process of conscious breathing, movement, and attention to the asanas cultivates a state of restful awareness. Besides yoga is also good for your disposition.
If you don’t practice Yoga, we have a Yoga guide for beginners that can get you started nice and slow.
5) Let go of wanting to control
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ~ Steve Maraboli
Many of us find it difficult to let go of the need to control every situation, it makes you feel angry, frustrated or even scared, to lose control. Such an attitude will only end up exhausting you. Let go, surrender to the unknowingness of this mystery called life. You can’t control every situation in life, so don’t waste your energy trying to change things.
Being in touch with yourself will pop up situation and people who will complement your life. Its time to loosen up and simply flow!
6) Spend time in nature
It always works! Spending time in nature or walk in the woods is more like a cleansing process, where the positive vibrations of the plants, trees, sound of the birds or the flowing stream helps you find that space within where only peace resides!
For example if your mind is like a vessel filled to the brim with redundant thoughts and unresolved emotions, nature is where you empty the vessel and replenish it with thoughts that nourish your soul, besides, its also scientifically proven to reduce stress levels.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso
I didn’t realise the healing power of creating a piece of work until I learnt the art of weaving mandalas. Our son goes to a Waldorf school where part of the experience is to make small mandalas with yarn and sticks, which intends to make them calmer and assist with hand movements.
It really captivated me and thanks to the kind teacher who taught us a complex version of this art. These mandalas are made by the native people of Mexico and South America. It starts by setting a clear intention and picking colours that speak to you at that moment. I found it extremely healing, as I weaved strings of yarn, it untangled the mental knots and I felt more centered.
Create what you like, paint, draw, sketch if you wish, and notice that inner chatter disappearing and bringing you closer to who you are.