Chaotic Life? How to Find Inner Peace Amid Chaos

Chaotic Life? How to Find Inner Peace Amid Chaos

“Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but the Buddha taught that that is not our real home. Our real home is inner peace.” – Ajahn Chah

How can we possibly experience inner peace at a time when humanity and our planet appear to be tumbling deeper into chaos? Can inner peace even co-exist with chaos?

I believe the answer is Yes!

In fact, spiritual practices such as mindfulness and Buddhist teachings show us how to cultivate inner peace in any situation.

The only time we have is the present; tomorrow is not guaranteed. This present moment, therefore, is the perfect and only time where we can find inner peace. This inner peace, which is also known as equanimity in Buddhism, cannot be found in the outside world. And yet, the potential for inner peace exists in the mind and heart of every individual, so each one of us can learn how to create the inner conditions for experiencing lasting peace within.

One of the perennial wisdom teachings encourages us to view peace as the result of letting go: letting go of clingy attachment as well as letting go of its opposite, which is aversive resistance.

This process of letting go is simple, but not necessarily easy to practice. It requires self-discipline. And so, we tend to shop around for easier ways toward peace, running the risk of getting confused by external voices promising instant bliss and freedom from the human condition.

You see, random information without context leads to overwhelm and confusion. Instead, we need to discern what is truly useful for us at any given time. We also need to distinguish between the louder presence of random information and the gentle presence of inner equanimity, because that is how we liberate the mind. In the presence of equanimity, the mind is not hijacked by attachment or aversion.

Equanimity further grows when we recognize that all things are inherently neutral; it is simply our thinking that bestows meaning on things so we can then either attach to them or resist them. It is not the facts, but the stories about the facts, that hijack our minds into value judgments and positionality.

In Buddhist tradition, equanimity is seen as a central quality present in beings who have developed deep inner wisdom and alignment with truth, free from hostility and egoic will.

Equanimity relates to inner poise and balance because it rests in a place of non-attachment; centered between attraction and repulsion. It poises in a calm place of neither clinging to nor pushing away from things. Finding that neutral resting place within offers us a higher perspective over issues rather than getting stuck in the egoic interpretation of what’s happening. The more we develop equanimity, then, the more inner peace and spaciousness we experience in life.

Each one of us can develop more equanimity by practicing mindfulness in our lives on a daily basis and using an inner inquiry process to help us unpack emotions as they arise. Here are five steps to help with the process:

1. Set a clear intention to stay mindful

Setting a clear intention reminds us to step out of the ego identification of attachment and aversion; story-making and drama. It is the first step in cultivating true inner awareness.

2. Recognize the triggers

When a trigger arises, we may try to avoid feeling our emotions around it. Instead, we may distract ourselves with shopping or work, or we may attempt to numb our emotions with food or other substances. If we truly want to discharge the impact of the trigger, we absolutely need to become aware and look at it. Sometimes, the simple act of clearly seeing allows our reaction to the trigger to dissolve so we can replace it with equanimity.

3. Become curious

When we feel lost in reactions of anger and frustration to triggers, it is helpful to recognize that there is a desire hidden there, way beneath the frustration or anger. There may be attachment to a wishful outcome, or a craving for safety and security. It can be helpful to ask questions about where the attachment or aversion came from, what it is attempting to accomplish and what needs to be done with it to help us dissolve inner dissonance. We can also investigate the ways in which we distract ourselves to avoid feeling pain or avoid accepting reality.

4. Let go of attachment and aversion

By bringing compassionate awareness to these inner emotions and processes, we can separate out truth from our colored interpretation. Next, we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to let go:

  • Am I willing to let go of control?
  • Am I willing to let go of my attachment or aversion to what showed up in the past or in my present?
  • Am I willing to let go of the way I think things should be?
  • Am I willing to let go of resisting what is?
  • Can I simply let go and allow things to be as they are

5. Embrace peace

Letting go of attachments and aversions offers us the opportunity to return to our innate state of peace. As we let go of these things, we create space for equanimity.

Equanimity is the final result of this deep inquiry process that helps us dissolve inner dissonance, become aware of areas where we are distracting ourselves, and come back into proper alignment with truth and peace within, free from attachment and aversion.

After practicing this inner inquiry, simply bask in the stillness of awareness, allowing the radiant heart and mind spaces to open. Allow life to unfold in its fullness, expanding and contract with each heartbeat of life so you can know the peace of observing all without attachment, and in so doing, find inner peace.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

The Search For A Perfect Life

The Search For A Perfect Life

Of the many things that cause us pain, our expectation that life should be perfect, is one of the primary causes. The idea that there exists a perfect Shangri-La somewhere that we can somehow locate, is a form of magical thinking that sets us up for false expectations and disappointment..

It creates dissatisfaction with the life we have and pulls us out of the present moment into an unending search for perfection out there somewhere. It also leads to frustration when our efforts fail to create the perfect outcomes we think we need, deserve or desire.

If we truly desire inner peace, we need to trade this magical thinking for a more accurate version of truth.  Zen teaches that to find peace of mind, we need to “think of life as a series of imperfect facts.”

I have used this helpful reminder in countless ways in my personal practice.

This phrase reminds us that our reactions and outrage often stem from an unconscious belief that life should be perfect – or that our individual lives and outcomes ought to be perfect for us to have peace.

Because this limiting belief operates beneath the surface, we may be unaware of it. If I were to ask  you, “Do you expect your life to be perfect?” you would almost certainly say no.

And yet, we get upset when our lives do not match our idealized dreams! This process is known as cognitive dissonance – the conflict between what we want and what actually shows up.

It is worth checking how often you become angry or frustrated when something relatively minor goes wrong, or when events don’t turn out the way you wanted.  You may even feel outraged when life refuses to follow your commands!

With some mindfulness, we can turn such moments into Zen moments: we can think of life as a series of imperfect facts. And know, too, that sometimes those apparent imperfections are really blessings in disguise.

In the same way that we can become outraged when life “goes wrong,” we can sometimes react very harshly when people let us down, or when our expectations are shattered by some very human behavior.

Our relationships do best when we can accept that people sometimes will behave badly, inconsistently or thoughtlessly. Sometimes they will let us down.

As long as this doesn’t happen all the time and does not put us in danger, it is healthier for everyone when we can see these behaviors as part of the big picture and get over the smaller disappointments.

When we focus on let-downs and disappointments, our relationships weaken and may even disintegrate. By choosing instead to see others as flawed as we are, yet generally doing their best, our relationships with all of life become easier, more relaxed and far more rewarding.

Mother Teresa reminded us of that when she said:
 “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

When we can see the perfect unfolding of life as a series of imperfect facts, our acceptance of what is, brings freedom and joy.

About the author:
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Living your best life is all about making the most with what you have right now. Clearing the cobwebs from old, limiting thinking can be a great way for you to shine. Here are ten truths to challenge limiting beliefs and empower you so you can make the most of your life now:

1.Nobody knows why anybody does anything – and it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to figure out why your neighbor ignores you or what happened to someone as a child to make her so mean. We humans are products of both our nature and our nurture – most of the time, we do things simply because we can. Trying to figure out why keeps us stuck in the past, so stop the over-analysis. Let it go, be here now and don’t take things personally!

2. Nobody owes you a thing.

Life is a precious gift, not an entitlement. You could never repay the time, love and support it took to get where you are today: loved ones, teachers and peers believed in you, challenged you and pushed you to become who you are. So, the real question is not what you can get from life, but what you are giving back in return.

3. You’ll be balanced when you’re dead…

Not a moment sooner! We chase balance like the Holy Grail, but it is the very cyclical nature of change that adds momentum to life. If you’re passionate about something, you may well want more of it in your life, so go for it. Your kids won’t turn into losers if you miss a few softball practices, so ease up on yourself. Learn to surf the waves of change with inner equilibrium instead.

4. Multi-tasking is an oxymoron.

Don’t be intimidated by people who do five things at once. Studies show that we don’t actually do more than one thing at a time – we simply switch our attention rapidly between projects, and we compromise on the quality of our output. Would you feel comfortable with a surgeon who juggles performing your surgery while texting and making phone calls? Choose to be masterfully present with one thing at a time instead of trying to be a jack of all trades, and you will ultimately be more effective.

5. You don’t deserve anything you have.

If in doubt, go back to #2. Entitlement is really unattractive. No matter how hard you’ve worked or planned, it is delusional to think that you are in complete control of the outcomes. God, circumstance, the actions of others, and timing all play big parts in your success, so skip the entitlement and practice gratitude for what life brings.

6. You’re ordinary. 

Relax, it’s a compliment! Ordinary people are reliable, industrious and consistent. Superstars often lose their inner freedom to the demands of fame, especially when their egos take over. Who would you rather call at 2 AM when your car breaks down – Tony Robbins or your brother-in-law?

7. You’re not a victim; you’re a volunteer.

The old saying that nobody can take advantage of you without your permission is true. We teach people how to treat us. If you don’t want something to happen anymore, don’t set it up in the first place. You change your life by changing yourself first.

8. You’re right. Life isn’t fair.

Life is more random that we could have ever imagined! It is also interesting and instructive when you keep an open mind, for it is from the seemingly random dynamics of change, that miracles emerge and possibilities show up.

9. There is no perfect time.

There is no place where time stands still and standards are lowered to keep you in your comfort zone. At any point in time there are only three things present: you, and life, and this very moment. What you make of this present moment, is up to you. What are you doing with your life right now?

10. Gratitude is next to Godliness.

Cleanliness is way down the list!  I have yet to encounter someone at the end of life regretting the dust on their furniture or the stains on their windows… but many regret the opportunities for gratitude they passed up. Eckhart Tolle puts it this way: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Look for things you can be grateful for and you will be amazed at how many more blessings show up.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Growing Gratitude: A Valuable Life Skill

Growing Gratitude: A Valuable Life Skill

What would life look like if we experienced more gratitude? Imagine your satisfaction when someone expresses gratitude for your efforts; or your contentment  when feeling happy about life, right in this moment. We can all have more of that because growing gratitude is a valuable life skill we can learn!

The simple attitude of gratitude is one of the most powerful creative energies we can work with. It transforms our consciousness because energy flows to whatever we focus on, and makes it grow.

Gratitude also increases happiness. When we express genuine appreciation for the goodness we already enjoy each day, we cultivate happiness in our lives.

Perhaps you have not yet lost the twenty pounds you want to, but you have learned to make better food choices. Or you have not yet found the love of your life, but you have been blessed with loving relatives and friends.

It’s a simple yet powerful principle: You can develop more of what you desire in life by noticing what you DO have already and growing an attitude of gratitude for that. You have the power to create more of what you love by expressing genuine appreciation for the good things you already have.

Expressing gratitude is a learned skill. It is done not in a superficial or schmaltzy way, but through genuinely heartfelt, eyeball-to-eyeball or heart-to-heart connection. It involves appreciation delivered with real meaning rather than some perfunctory mumblings or syrupy platitudes.

Just think of all the meaningful things that you have already enjoyed today: the smell of coffee that got you going, a warm shower, soft towels, a selection of clean clothes in your closet, sunshine warming your face, tantalizing aromas all around, the ability to walk and talk… there’s so much to be grateful for!

Once the habit of growing and showing attitude takes hold, you’ll start noticing more and more of life’s blessings around you. Gratitude expands our hearts to notice more of what we already have appreciation for.

Imagine how relationships would be enhanced if you used the same approach to express appreciation for the people in your life!

Take a few moments to consider the relationships you’re grateful for. Reflect on the qualities you appreciate in each of your relatives and friends: the smile on a child’s face, the hug of a loved one, the spontaneous playfulness of a friend… and even their individual ways of craziness! We can find something to be grateful for in every person or situation.

I had an eccentric great-aunt who had the knack for making keen observations about others at the most inappropriate times. I used to blush in embarrassment at her unflinching directness, yet when she was no longer able to attend family gatherings, her special brand of candor was sorely missed. Only then did I realize how her unique brand of eccentricity enriched our lives.

Perhaps there are a few people with varying degrees of eccentricity populating your life as well. They also have a role to fulfill — even if it is to stretch your tolerance level, teach patience or give you an opportunity to forgive! And yes, they offer you an opportunity to grow more gratitude.

Expressing gratitude is a priceless gift we can offer ourselves and others. Now is a perfect time to express your gratitude to people who have touched your life. Let them know what you love about them and how it makes you feel. You’ll add meaning to their lives while strengthening your relationships.

Growing gratitude is indeed a valuable life skill we can learn to enhance our quality of life.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

What are the Four Noble Truths? In short, they represent the Buddha’s fundamental teaching that liberates humans from suffering. These four truths can be summarized as follows:

  1. Life Inherently Contains Suffering And Struggle

Life involves struggle, frustration and suffering in both obvious and subtle forms. Even when things appear peaceful externally, we do not experience permanent satisfaction in anything but may feel an undercurrent of internal anxiety and uncertainty. This is the inherent problem of existence.

  1. Craving Is The Cause Of Suffering

The cause of suffering is craving that stems from ignorance. We suffer because we tend to blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves. We resist the truth that life is impermanent and change is constant – instead, we grow frustrated when the world doesn’t behave the way we think it should and life doesn’t conform to our expectations. We try to push away some things while grasping for others. This process of attachment and resistance stems from our desire for life to be different than it is and causes suffering.

  1. Suffering Stops When Craving Ends

Since we are ultimately the ones that cause our own suffering by perpetuating the cycle of craving and resistance, we also have the power to end our suffering. Even when life is unpredictable and impermanent, we can change the way we respond to it. By awakening to the true nature of our timeless souls, we can end the chase after external satisfaction and permanence, and so end the suffering. In the awakened mind, it is not the suffering that ceases, but the craving.

  1. There’s A Path Out Of Suffering

By embracing the path of right living, we can awaken to our Higher nature. This path involves ethical living, developing wisdom and discernment, and adhering to a personal practice that supports our emerging consciousness. This personal journey of awakening frees us from suffering and ultimately leads to enlightenment.

Most of us struggle with the practical application of these Four Noble Truths. Our human tendency is to avoid all pain and suffering, which only perpetuates our struggle.

Instead, I suggest that we look at the Four Noble Truths as recommendations for right living; guidelines to help us navigate life’s challenges more effectively. By presenting the Four Noble Truths as practical guidelines for living, they become powerful tools to guide our responses to life.

I propose using the acronym AREA to remember the structure of the Four Noble Truths in practical ways: Accept Life As Is, Release Reactivity, End Grasping, and Act Appropriately.

When we respond to these Four Noble Truths in appropriate ways, they will indeed expand our inner area of spaciousness and peace, and ultimately expand the area or scope of our True nature.

  1. Accept Life As Is

When we allow conscious awareness to infuse everything we do, we become more tolerant. We no longer interpret everything that does not go our way as a personalized attack on our ego selves; instead, we recognize it for simply being a part of life. When we experience a setback, we can see it as an opportunity for learning and growth; not as something unfair to be judged or avoided.

The Course in Miracles teaches that it is the meaning or interpretation we give to things, that makes them appear as good or bad; in truth, it simply is a part of life. Embracing the very impermanence of life can foster in us a deeper appreciation for the fleeting and precious nature of each moment.

  1. Release Reactivity

Human neurobiology makes it virtually impossible for us to constantly maintain a state of inner equilibrium without spiritual awareness. Our senses are continuously providing feedback through physical symptoms, emotions, thoughts and feelings. Equilibrium requires us to be with reactivity in a different way: learning how to respond instead of to react. We stop the cycle of reactivity by understanding that sensory feedback loops are valuable messages to respond to; not interference to react to, judge, resist or avoid.

When we experience physical symptoms or pain, our innate reactivity may prompt us to either resist the symptoms with medication or to grasp for some miracle cure outside of ourselves. Instead, perhaps it would be more meaningful to first dialogue with the symptoms for a deepened understanding of what they’re trying to tell us; and once we understand the deeper message, we’ll be able to respond appropriately so the messenger can be released. This process of responding instead of reacting allows us to create more inner space for growth in consciousness.

  1. End Grasping

It is essential to learn how to respond to life’s difficulties with an open mind, free from the conditioned behaviors of judgment, fear or craving. This inner attitude of non-attachment frees us from the endless cycles of attachment and aversion to offer us genuine freedom and inner peace instead. The Sedona Method puts it this way: “Embrace that which you resist, and surrender that to which you cling.”

Relinquishing our positionalities rewards us with freedom from craving. Positionalities are in truth nothing other than learned behaviors and limiting beliefs, so relinquishing them truly opens up space for us to thrive.

  1. Act Appropriately

In shamanic traditions, appropriate action is referred to as “right living.” Appropriate action requires conscious awareness of our inner motives, beliefs and reactions. It nurtures the development of the observer/witness, or our Soul self. It is in aligning with this Higher aspect of being, that we are transformed to live from our full potential.

The more we fine-tune our responses to life appropriately reflect our Higher nature, the more inner freedom, peace and joy we experience. This is the core of all personal growth. Creating a path of appropriate action nourishes us at all levels and honors our true purpose in life – the embodiment of our Higher nature.

Using AREA can serve as a practical reminder to keep us aligned with the Four Noble Truths. The result is more inner peace, harmony and joy.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Make The Most of Change

How To Make The Most of Change

What if, instead of trying to control the process of change, we learned how to make the most of it? Change has been called the only constant in life, and learning how to flow with it can turn the very process of upheaval into a powerful ally.

When we resist the process of change, we also resist the flow of life. Our attempts to control change lock us into identification with the content of the change process instead of its context. It also narrows our focus so we lose touch with the inherent perfection of each moment as it unfolds.

Here are some simple principles to flow with the process of change and make the most of it instead:

Identify With The Contextual Field

We often resist change because we do not want our sense of peace disturbed. A better solution is learning to identify with the contextual field, and not the shifting contents of life. We can choose to focus on the larger picture or context of life, and allow the shifting details of life’s contents to flow past us without attachment or aversion. As each wave of probabilities show up, we are free to select which aspects to focus on and which ones to pass on.

When faced with a job change, for instance, you can focus on attracting an opportunity that would bring you into more alignment with your core values. This aligns you with the context of the Field, not the myriad tiny details. Then, allow this contextual focus to bring you specific opportunities to choose from. By identifying with the contextual Field, you can trust the law of resonance to bring you opportunities aligned with your intentional focus, so you don’t need to control the process.

Really Letting Go

Change can take many forms as we continue to grow into new ways of being, leaving the old behind. We may need to leave behind relationships, jobs, friends, homes or other vestiges of the old that no longer serve us. To really, really let go of the old, there may be aspects of loss and grief that need to be acknowledged.

By acknowledging and expressing our feelings of loss and grief, we can move beyond circumstances and people we have outgrown, so we can move on. It is very important to process these emotions, for it is in expressing them that we find freedom and healing. Emotions that are suppressed never go away – they simply resurface further down to road for us to deal with!

Flying Blind

In shamanic cultures, the bat represents powerful medicine. Bats do not have sight, yet dart about with incredible accuracy and speed because they trust their inner radar. You, too, may feel as if you’re flying blind amid the chaos of sudden change. However, this is an opportunity to trust your inner radar.  When deeply connected to your inner guidance, flight through the unknown takes you to higher ground.

Flying blind also challenges our preconceived concepts of life. Fear may prompt us to resist change, yet faith calls us to surrender to the process, trusting the Divine guidance within. As soon as we let go, the current of change can carry us to new perspectives with grace and ease.

Turbulence and Cross Currents

From an energy perspective, any choice or action can be observed as a wave form that ripples outward in all directions. In quantum physics, this phenomenon is known as the Lorenzo Effect. Energies we’d set in motion through previous choices may continue to ripple out and back like waves for a while afterwards. As we make new choices, the old and new wave forms can clash, resulting in turbulence known as standing waves, cross currents and even collapsed waves. We may experience the turbulence as mental fog, confusion or overwhelm.

Don’t let this temporary turbulence throw you off course. It’s part of the process of shifting direction! If you can stay focused during change, the temporary turbulence will give way to a current of greater clarity, ease and understanding.

Remember Why

Overwhelm and confusion only arise when taking our eyes off the goal. When feeling overwhelmed by the process of change, simply bring your focus back to the reasons why you chose change in the first place.

It is normal for change to embody a sense of upheaval. Clashing beliefs, crashing hopes and the looming unknown may bring into question many values you’d blindly accepted before. This is a great opportunity to choose differently. You can respond to change effectively by revisiting core values and bringing your life into more alignment with your soul’s purpose.

Fine-Tune Your Compass

Each one of us creates our own reality, moment by moment. When we set our intention unwaveringly on reaching our highest potential in life, we become unstoppable. Our very being starts emanating the frequency of what we hold in mind, thereby drawing resonant outcomes to us every moment through our continuous intention.

Is change rocking your world right now? This may be an appropriate time to ask yourself whether you are living the life you really want. Are you really doing what your heart desires, or are you compromising for the security of a job, social status or acceptance? Are you deeply fulfilled and joyful, or is dissatisfaction gnawing at your bones?

Remember, your experience is your choice!

To change your experience of life, you need to change your mind about things first. If life doesn’t serve you well, you can change it! It’s as simple as that.

The more consciously you participate in creating your reality, the more you’ll resonate with the outcomes that follow. Even when you do not have control over what shows up in your life, you always have complete power over the response you choose.

Growth – The Ultimate Gift Of Change

Even the subconscious motivators that drive or sabotage our behaviors 90% of the time, can become allies to help us make the most of change. By becoming aware of these triggers, we can clear limiting beliefs from the subconscious, embrace healing for the wounds of trauma, and pave the way for our highest expression of being. This process of fine-tuning and transformation can lead to profound personal growth, which is the ultimate gift of change!

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

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