HONOLULU (KHON2) — As fires continue to rage across the state and hurricanes continue to form in the Pacific, folks are becoming increasingly aware of the chaos that is at our doorsteps.
Tuesday, Aug. 15 is National Relaxation Day. And relaxation is a key component of embracing peace, maintaining mindfulness and having an overall good day.
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It is through peace that we can gain access to empathy and compassion. Meanwhile empathy and compassion allow us to practice lōkahi.
Lots of folks access peace in different ways. And various religions have differing paradigms that provide their understanding of embracing a peaceful life.
International religious leaders such as Jesuit preist Anthony DeMello, Vietnamese Buddhist priest Thich Nhat Hanh and Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama have spent decades educating us on how to leave the chaos behind.
The Dalai Lama had this to say:
“Only through compassion and inner peace can one spread peace in the world. Inner peace leads to a peaceful individual; and then, this peaceful individual can build a peaceful family, then a peaceful community, then a peaceful world. Those words have changed me. I am often labeled as a “change-maker” and throughout the years I viewed change as a vigorous, painful and emotionally draining process. But there was I sitting a few steps away from a nation’s leader who lived most of his life in exile and still believed that change comes from a place of compassion and inner peace.”— Dalai Lama
So, with busy lives that are entrenched in the chaos that is modern society, how can one embrace peace?
To understand more, KHON2.com reached out to Aloha Sangha.
Embracing peace is about stopping the race of information through your mind. On a daily basis, we have thousands of problems to solve, questions to answer and people to deal with. All of these occupy space in our minds, in our hearts and in our souls.
An act as simple as washing dishes can give someone the moments they need to brush aside the chaos and embrace peace.
It is simply about being present in the moment, forcing the limits of our concrete world out of your psyche for just a few minutes. Doing simple things like the smell of the detergent, the feel of the warm water, the sound of the dishes as you wash, following your own breath and thinking of nothing other than what is happening at that very moment.
“It takes practice,” admitted Eugene Nu, a resident of Honolulu. “When I first began, I couldn’t hold my own attention for more than three seconds. But I kept doing it, over and over. I didn’t get mad at myself; I just acknowledged what was happening and kept on trying.”
The point is to clear your mind of thinking about what could have been, what happened, what you should have said or what someone else has or has not done or said. All of these things are out of your control. But it is this loss of control that tends to plague us.
While you are getting ready for the day, you can take brief moments during your usual routine. As an example, while you are brushing your teeth, you can focus on the feel of the brush, the taste of the toothpaste, the experience of swishing water in your mouth.
The same can happen at work. With phones ringing, colleagues needing you, responsibilities, bosses giving you deadlines and responsibilities, it can be very difficult to find that moment when you can close out all the chaos.
For this, you may need to take just a few seconds during whatever task you are doing to be present in that moment while performing the task. Think about the steps it takes to get the task complete, listen to the sounds that you hear, breathe in deeply — these are all things you can do for a few seconds to renew your mind.
Sleep time can be nearly as stressful, and sometimes more stressful, than the rest of the day. The pressure to go to sleep and get enough rest to go back into the melee the next day can oftentimes be daunting.
Pulling the things out of our mind that make it race is the first step. Literally, a blank mind staring into the darkness created by your closed eyes lids.
Some people use counting — for example counting backwards from 1,000. Others use breathing techniques like concentrating on the breaths and how they enter and leave your body or breathing in six, holding for six and exhaling in six.
Most importantly, you need to be physically comfortable when you are going to sleep.
Aloha Sangha offers free meditation classes that you can join to deepen your understanding of how to embrace peace in this chaotic world.
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So, as you celebrate National Relaxation Day, remember that embracing peace is something you can do every day. You simply have to choose to do it.