Inner calm has been a subject matter of many philosophies that have originated around the world. Since time immemorial, religious and sometimes not-so-religious philosophies have highlighted the importance of inner calm and propounded theories about how one can achieve it.
What do we actually mean by inner calm? The spiritual explanation of inner calm is a state of mind where neither happiness nor sorrow produces emotional responses in an individual. The scientific explanation would probably be a state of mental quietness and freedom from adrenaline.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, inner calm is synonymous with nirvana, a state of extreme happiness characterized by an extinction of desire, suffering and individual consciousness. The word nirvana is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘ni’ (an article representing negation) and ‘vana’ (craving). A complete absence of desire is what is deemed as a state of complete inner peace. It is purported that ideas create cravings, and unfulfilled desires lead to emotional distress - the root cause of misery.
Spiritualists and religious philosophers are not the only ones who emphasize stress on inner calm. The same concept is also advocated by modern psychologists so that people can achieve freedom from anxiety, intolerance, boredom, frustration, irritation, depression and stress. Among many other things that you can do to achieve inner calm, meditation is by far the most recommended method. It helps in achieving a calm state of mind that also helps in lowering stress levels.
Let it be very clear from the very beginning that meditation is not easy to practice. It needs a fair amount of commitment and time. Starting the practice with ten minute sessions twice a day are preferable. You can slowly increase the amount of time that you spend to an hour a day. The only way in which you shall be able to increase to sessions that last an hour is to start enjoying the practice and to realize the benefits that it provides. There are various steps that you can take to achieve inner calm. These are:
- Preparation - It is imperative that you prepare for meditation by doing some mild exercises to relieve stress in your muscles. Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position.
- Focus - An ideal way is to use a ‘mantra’. The Hindu philosophy advocates certain sacred utterances but any word or phrase can do the trick. You can use "om’, ‘release’ or ‘relax’ or ‘I am at peace’ for example.
- Deep Breathing - Close your eyes and inhale deeply to the count of six, hold your breath, again to the count of six and then exhale, again to the count of six. Repeat six times and with every inward breath, allow yourself to bring in inner calm. With every outward breath, breathe out negative emotions like anger and frustration. Return back to normal breathing.
- Mantra - This is a bit difficult. The goal is not to let your mind wander. Let it go off all fears and do not fret about whether you are meditating properly or not. If your mind wanders, bring in the mantra to your mind without concerns about what it means.
Emotional stress is a direct result of faulty perceptions, and meditation leads to inner calm. It helps in realizing the futility of responding to emotional stressors. Mental quietude or inner calm promotes positive thinking and eventually provides natural stress relief.References: