Finding Inner Peace in the Middle of Chaos

Have you ever been in a crowded subway or busy street and felt like it was just too much, lost in a crowded marketplace in a foreign country, or caught up in an argument that was going nowhere?

A great meditation teacher once said that there should be no difference between meditating in a cave or in the center of a city as peace is inside us and is not dependent on external circumstances. Although this is undoubtedly true, it is definitely put to the test when our lives are full of chaos or anger.

Being in touch with your inner peace is not the same as being happy. When difficult or painful things happen, such as the loss of a loved one, you will not feel happy, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t mean you have to lose your peace. Beneath the tears and grief there can remain a steadiness, an inner stillness, independent of the circumstances.

Maintaining that peace, especially when confronted with difficult situations, means being able to let go all the time, constantly, in every moment. We say, “don’t even pick it up!” for as soon as you begin to hold on, whether to resentment, irritation, hurt or anger, you create suffering for yourself. Your mind gets caught up in the emotion and you lose your balance. Letting go does not deny your feelings. You can feel all sorts of things, whether sadness, joy, anxiety or laughter.

The difference is that you are not holding on to these feelings. They come and then they pass. Like birds in the sky of your mind, let them fly away.

One of the greatest spiritual teachings is the awareness that all things are impermanent, that all things come and go, that we cannot cling to anything, not even pleasure, without also creating suffering. As we integrate the truth of this teaching it is wonderfully liberating for it brings us back into the present moment. If everything is so impermanent, including ourselves and our feelings, then there is no purpose in holding on and trying to make those feelings last longer. Rather, there is far greater joy in releasing them and reconnecting to sanity and peace.

Next: Just Being Meditation

Chaos is natural—if you look at the world it is everywhere—but to find your peace in the midst of chaos is something we all have to deal with. Life is unpredictable and will bring about many different emotions and mind states that can be challenging and difficult, even unbearable at times. But beneath all the dramas, distractions and problems there is a still and calm place you can rest in.

If, amidst the turmoil, you can find just one moment of peace in each day, then your whole life will become more joyful. Like the water in a lake, when your mind is calm you can see the depths below, but when your mind is disturbed it is easy to get caught up in the waves. Through meditation you can become more aware of when emotions arise so you can take some time to chill out before they take over.

Meditation is when I can watch stuff go by and the part of me that usually interrupts and says, ‘That’s a good story, or that son of a bitch, or I’m guilty and awful,’ that part sits back and sees it as just one more story but without attachment to it,” says our friend Dr. Joan Borysenko in our book, Be The Change. “This gives me the most delicious sense of spaciousness and peace.”

If circumstances cannot be changed then you can change your attitude toward them—you may not be able to control the wind but you can adjust your sails. You can either blame others or you can relax into each moment as it arises. When you can just be with the way things are in the present moment then you can be free of complications, and that freedom is your peace.

Just Being Meditation

Find a comfortable place to sit, and close your eyes. Become aware of yourself, of your presence on the chair in the room. Cast your mind around your body. Breathe into and release any places of tension.

Now feel the flow of your breath as it enters and leaves. Here you are: alive … breathing … sensing … your heart beating … your feet on the floor. Be present with yourself and whatever is happening, without judgment.

Now just sit and be and breathe … just sitting … just being… just breathing. Silently repeat, “May all things be well, may I be at peace with all things.”

Stay with this for a few minutes, or for as long as you like. When you are ready take a deep breath and gently open your eyes.

How do you stay peaceful in the midst of chaos? Do comment below.

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60 comments

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik2 years ago

Thank you for the inspiring article! The grace of meditation truly invigorates through all the chaos and brings about joyfulness :)

Emma S.
Emma S.3 years ago

Thank you both for this - I've come to it rather late! I did try the meditation, but I changed the little mantra so that it's in the present tense, because I find that seems to work better for me. I've been going through a bit of a time of it lately, and I did find I began to settle down eventually. I'm not a very experienced meditator, so i need to keep practising!

Bruce Eyster
Bruce Eyster5 years ago

Dear Devaney Roberts :
My pleasure !
If you are serious about finding out more go to ;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZX9nvhtfQQ
You will be able to borrow and return DVD's , free of charge, that will explain and take you step by step , at your own pace; on the most incredible journey within , inside .

Devaney Roberts
Devaney Roberts5 years ago

thx for the article :)

Aammyy R.
Aammyy R.5 years ago

Here is a link to a fantastic retreat centre that teaches people how to connect with their inner peace www.choose-again.com

Training my mind to use all upsets and distractions as teaching tools has been so helpful in learning to love.

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it".
ACIM.
Peace to all,
amy.

Bruce Eyster
Bruce Eyster6 years ago

I agree , Tori : real inner Peace , is a solid , familiar , experience on which , you have the most substantial foundation, to take a firm stand .
In my experience ; inner peace makes hard times easier and good times , better .
The depth of the experience is so simple , yet , so profound ,it would be impossible to try to explain or comprehend it with our finite minds but you can experience it , in all it's infinite , beauty and the more you experience it ,the more you recognize it and realize ; who you really are .
It's that exact , thing , you've always felt was missing , in your life .
There is another group on this site called : " PEACE IS WITHIN YOU ." I strongly suggest you check the clips you can access there and join in the discussion or ask any question you'd like . here's a lead :
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/SELFKNOWLEDGE

Bruce Eyster
Bruce Eyster6 years ago

I agree , Tori : real inner Peace , is a solid , familiar , experience on which , you have the most substantial foundation, on which , to take a firm stand .
In my experience ; inner peace makes hard times easier and good times , better .
The depth of the experience is so simple , yet , so profound ,it would be impossible to try to explain or comprehend it with our finite minds but you can experience it in all it's infinite , beauty and the more you experience it ,the more you recognize it and realize ; who you really are .

Tori W.
Past Member 6 years ago

Learning to be at peace with yourself is a tremendous source of inner strength and comfort. It will help one through the most difficult times in life. One will be stronger with this inner peace.

Shiatsu Cat
Past Member 6 years ago

How i stay peaceful? Every morning i start with Do-In exercises followed by a short meditation. That helps me during the day when stress strikes to breath to my Hara (lower tummy) and just let it get by. Just take 3 deep breathes and feel your feet in the ground. It's not you thats troubled, it's your ego. Just go with the flow...

Bruce Eyster
Bruce Eyster6 years ago

@ vijayan t. :
Propagation , can be a wonderful experience .
We can , perhaps , inspire others ; by example to aspire to meditate .
I , often find that , the people I think would enjoy and benefit from meditation are often , the people least interested .
Others I would never imagine , become aspirants and soon start meditating ; immediately .
I think the desire , to meditate , has to be awakened , in others ; by example , or by speaking from your heart , while in that inner experience .
I think of meditation as a mutual attraction .