Responsibilities, work, traffic, getting pulled in so many different directions, so much to do, so little time. Conflicting thoughts, emotions, decisions to be made, money to consider, keeping up with the latest, trying to stay relevant, not wanting to be left behind, bills to pay. Noise.
I have come to realise that the noise wasn't just something I came to encounter in the hustle of a city, but it was very much also an internal dialogue, the stories I was telling myself. I was creating my own reality by getting caught up in it all. I would get agitated and not know why, worse still, I would ignore that uneasy feeling I would get from time to time.
I would react or ignore, but most importantly, I found myself just not listening. At that point, I didn’t even know that there was anything necessarily to listen to. I just went about my business, did the best I could and that was that. I mean, that’s just the way it is right? In many ways, I was my own worst enemy, shaped by my past, working for a better future, measuring my success by some standard I assumed was the only measure of success.
All still noise.
So what changed? How did I find silence amidst the noise? The answer eventually came to me; I needed to learn how to listen better. Becoming so aware that I could recognise how I was feeling at every second of every minute of everyday. I could now sense uneasiness as it first arose; instead of ignoring it and allowing it to fester, I could simply acknowledge it, watch it and rather than feeding it, I would try and let it go. I began to understand that a feeling, a hunch or intuition was me trying to communicate with myself. I could now at any point choose to acknowledge what it is I was feeling (trust it), or I could choose to ignore it (and go about my business).
There is also a physiological response to stress, our heart rates increase, our breathes shorten, we tense up, there are hormonal shifts within the body and vital organs begin to slow or shut down as we go into survival mode. These are all physical signs that something is not quite right.
So for me, it first began with learning to recognise some of those physiological signs as they arose. At any given point, I would take a conscious breath when I needed to; lengthening it in an attempt to slow down and tune in. I would recognise the uneasiness, without trying to understand it and without judging it. I guess it was just like watching the current, understanding where I stood and not allowing myself to get swept up in it.
Granted, its not easy, the stronger the thought or emotion, the harder it becomes, which is why I found it so important to recognise the signs early, before they grew. It remains a constant process; I’m always trying to elevate my levels of awareness and my understanding so I can remain at peace in every given moment. A healthy detachment if you will.
Not sure what it was precisely that got me focusing on this new daily practice, probably a range of life experiences and realisations all converging at the same point in my life. I guess my first clue was when I began by acknowledging that something didn't feel quite right, without actually trying to understand it.
From there, curiosity took just over; I began to wonder whether others were feeling the same and quickly I came to know that I wasn’t alone. I have met so many people since, they have shared their stories with me and every time we get together somewhere in the world, I find myself meeting so many others. It's become such an empowering experience being part of this community. Knowing there are so many others finding their way back home is what continues to inspire me and what drives most of what I do.
Please feel free to share your story with us, would love to hear about how you have found your peace amongst the noise?