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A hundred years ago a little known poet wrote about what he called “the strain of toil, the fret of care”. How much more relevant his words seem in the hectic age in which we live. It is an age in which every – thing someone cynically said, is predigested to save time! It is the age of the stomach ulcer and the tranquillizer.
Pascal once said”. All the evils of
life have fallen upon us because man will not sit alone quietly in a room”. We
need to rediscover the secret of quietness, stillness and peace of mind. We
must not interpret Pascal’s words to make them mean a passive, inactive,
spiritless escapism from life. Real tranquillity of spirit has quite the
Norman Vincent Peale in his book Stay
Alive All Your Life, writes: “Peace of
mind does not mean soothing: quite the contrary. It is the source of great
energy. It does not mean escape into a dream world. It does not mean innocuous
lulling, but a dynamic stimulation of creative activity”.
How can we create an “inner
reservoir” of peace of mind? Here are a few simple but practical steps:
1. Learn to redirect destructive emotions towards constructive ends:
Much of our strain and tension is
generated by emotions like anger and hate. If we bottle them up we are heading
for disaster. We must find a creative outlet. These aggressive emotions must be
harnessed to fight hunger, poverty, disease or war – or any other cause of our choosing. We must
redirect them into positive and creative activity. Try working off your emotional
aggressiveness on the weeds in your garden!
2. Remember there is a time for stillness too:
We must learn to come to terms with
quietness, and appreciate its creative power when rightly used. It must be
“controlled quietness”. Select certain mental pictures which symbolize
tranquillity – a peaceful lake, a quiet country garden, a woodland glade. If
you can sit quietly and picture such a scene mentally when we are tense, it
will have a remarkable effect on our mental and emotional state. Far from being
escapism, such moments are moments of renewal for the demands made upon us.
3. Remember that the planned life is the peaceful life:
Much of the strain we experience
springs from the day – to- day disorder and muddle which attends our
activities. Most of these things can be avoided with a little planning. Often
we are not half as busy as we think we are.
It is the disorder that gives us a
false sense of rush and fighting against time. A smoothly running system seems
to speed up the whole of our activities.
4. Deliberately regulate the pace of life:
We must take seriously the business
of days off, hobbies and holidays. To argue that we have no time for such
things is to be heading straight for a nervous breakdown. Moderation in all
things is a slogan which regulates the pace of life. Excesses of any kind upset
the balance of life, and balance is part of the secret of peace of mind.
We must get our priorities right.
None of us can do everything and we need to analyze our abilities and assess
the importance of the various demands.
We must be prepared to delegate some things to others, or even let them go