Monday, February 1, 2016

Inner Peace

by Jeff Katowitz

How would one define inner peace? Is it a state where we feel calm, quiet, noticing that things around us are slowing down? We continually hear of the pursuit or quest to “find peace.” This “quest” suggests a movement of some sort – a depiction of a future concept where a situation or a shift in a circumstance may lead to an anticipation of feeling better, happier and perhaps more peaceful.
Is it possible to experience “peace” no matter the situation or circumstance developing or unfolding around us? Perhaps we could consider engaging in a short exercise of consciousness where we begin to become more aware of what we are feeling and sensing – a strategy to help slow down or to gain a better perspective of how our mind is operating. 

Imagine if we could learn how to sit still and be able to deflect the wave of turbulent thoughts. Imagine being able to replace the turbulent thoughts with a vision or alternative way of processing information that may help us to place our situation in a different context – one where we become curious of what is unfolding around us. What if we could give up the need for outcome or an attachment to a situation that we’ve defined as “better?” It may be quite refreshing to be able to find an opening where we become free of a need to “feel better” and rather choose to engage in a quiet internal dialogue that consists of a knowing that despite what is happening in front of us visually or what we are able to hear, touch, smell or anticipate, our curiosity can serve to detach us from the situation. It could be quite extraordinary being in this place of “detachment” where the stillness or quiet is clearly present. Imagine this brief moment that may consist of a matter of seconds or minutes feeling calm and still. Might this be a definition of peace?

Experiment with a few of the suggestions below from Echkart Tolle as way to gain a sense of Inner Peace through the cultivation of power and presence: 
  • Window Meditation: “Behind your thoughts there is a stillness. For example, I recommend looking out of the window several times during the day. For a moment, look out and just take in what is there. Perhaps, there is a vast expanse of sky or a tree. Give it attention for a moment. There is a shift that occurs inside of you. That is stillness.”
  • Sky Meditation:  “Look at the sky for a moment — giving it your full attention. It takes you away from mundane things, all the little stuff that you have to deal with continuously, and then you have a moment of stillness, of presence, of awareness.”
  • Simple Activity:  choose a routine activity and bringing consciousness into the ‘doing.’ “Step out of your thoughts and just be conscious of your sense perceptions, so that the dimension of awareness grows in you.” An example could be a daily chore such as doing laundry or making the bed. Instead of rushing through the activity to get to the next item on your to-do list, take a conscious breath and feel the texture of the fabric on your hands.
  • The Gap: “Pay attention to the gap — the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, the notes of a piano or flute, or the in-breath and out-breath. When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of “something” becomes just awareness. The formless dimension of pure consciousness arises from within you and replaces identification with form.”
“Gradually, as we increase the moments of stillness in our lives, we begin to experience presence power. This helps to free us from the voice in the head; the continuous stream of thinking that prevents us from experiencing inner peace in the present moment.”- Echkart Tolle

Jeffrey Katowitz, LMFT, AAMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. His areas of specialty include divorce and separation, blended family issues, adoption, adolescent development and transitions, grief and loss, and managing and working through traumatic life events.  Jeff’s goal is to provide a safe a nurturing environment for the individual and family system to feel more readily able to access the strength to overcome difficult transitions and events in their lives. Contact him at and 215-307-0055.


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