Finding Inner Calm and Being Present

Have you ever met one of those people who have an incredible calm and have simple and yet incredibly profound things to say? Its like every moment next to these people is a deep profound experience leaving us thinking for days afterward. The kind of person where just by being in their presence is to have a blanket of calm and focus surround you, them, and all nearby surroundings. These are the kind of people who seem to have an inner stillness and an inner clarity that many of us long for.

I met an individual who was like this. This person was a coworker of mine who works entirely out of the office and whom I will likely have minimal to no contact with again. It was a chance scenario that I met this person in the first place. While I was in orientation for a new job I was on a ride along my trainer and I was introduced to an individual named Ralph. I immediately noticed Ralph had a calm you immediately noticed and a penetrating gaze that was almost off putting. I felt like when he looked at me he could almost see something inside my soul or something about myself that I couldn’t see. I felt uncomfortable and I felt vulnerable being next to this person. My feelings were difficult to justify as Ralph was very nice and exuded kindness.

Two months later I happened to see Ralph at a local coffee shop one afternoon and said “hello” which began a conversation while I was waiting for my tea. We sat down to talk further as he was telling me about a recent workshop he attended on hypnosis and the interesting outcomes they find with hypnosis. Ralph explained that he used to be surgeon in another country and was studying to be a medical doctor in the United States. I already knew this because my trainer/ coworker had shared Ralph used to be a medical professional of some sort in another country and was studying to practice in the United States after I was introduced to him. Ralph shared he had only a few months before he would start his residency. I began to ask him about his beliefs on healing based, the experiences that he has had with healing, and the information he was learning in school on healing. He surprised me when he didn’t directly answer my questions and instead shared a story. He explained he has a friend who is a medical doctor from the country he used to live in. His friend had a patient who had a medical condition causing her great distress. When the doctor asked her how she thought she could heal herself she began to give a description of changing her negative thoughts and her harmful diet. Ralph shared the information this female patient provided were very specific, that is to say she shared she needed to change specific negative thoughts and specific foods. After Ralph shared this story he became very quiet and asked if I understood. Ralph wanted me to confirm I had heard and understood the implications of this story, which was that every person has the ability to heal themselves. Ralph went on to share that he believes there is an inner wisdom within all of us that understands how to keep ourselves healthy and guides us if we listen. We talked further about the mind and the power it has to harm or heal us, the power of food, and other healing modalities. Throughout this visit I noticed he continued to ask if I understood what he was saying which made me realize how scattered I was.

Of course the information about health being connected to our thoughts and food is interesting and profound in itself, but this was information that my partner and I had discussed many times and already knew and believed in it. My point here is to highlight the revelations I had from this conversation about myself. I realized the importance of being present. I realized much of my day to day life was filled with racing thoughts causing me to not be present and was essentially taking away from my work with others and the ability to fully experience life. During the conversation with Ralph I was wondering what time it was and when would I need to get back to work. I was having thoughts about thoughts, thinking about the power of our thoughts, and about the people in the cafe and wondering if they could hear our conversation. I noticed how very hard it was to engage in the conversation and felt as if my own mind and emotions were out of my control. This was highlighted because Ralph had been so present and grounded. After this conversation I reflected that my racing thoughts and inability to be fully present in the moment were visible to all those I came in contact with. I felt embarrassed that I could not “hear” or “understand” the information that Ralph and I had talked about during our conversation due to my inability to be present.

My theory is individuals who have the ability to be present and have simple yet profound insights practice some form of meditation. When we look at masters of meditation like The Buddah we see further evidence of this and can see they exude an incredible presence and inner stillness. I decided that I wanted to be like this. I wanted to be present with the people I met daily. I didn’t want to feel as if my mind was hijacked by these invasive thoughts. I wanted to fully be present in my life.

I began a regular practice of meditation. Some days it was only 5 minutes while other days would be 2 hours. If I skipped a day I was kind to myself and resumed the practice the following day. The results were subtle for the first few days as I began to teach my mind to quiet. After around 5 days I began to notice that I was not nearly as anxious and I was more in control of my emotions and responses to others. As I continued my meditation practice I found my automatic reactions, like a nervous laugh or an automatic unauthentic reply, stopped and I was able to choose how I would respond to a situation. This is pretty profound because I found people were beginning to mention how calm and centered I was. I found I was more confident when working with others and when talking with my boss at work. I had less fear as I realized that fear and anxiety are not helpful.

I have come to realize that though it is sometimes difficult to stop and meditate, I never regret spending my time this way. It is the single best practice I do for self care.

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