July 25, 2012

The Quest for a Quiet Mind: Five Keys to Inner Peace in a Hectic World. ~ Donavan Wilson

Wake up!

Don’t you just love the sound of your alarm clock? Today, on just another morning with no time to lose, the clock keeps ticking and you’ve got to keep moving. There is no time to waste.

Did your review your to do list?

Excellent. Make sure you have everything before you leave. For me, I have to make sure I take my keys, wallet and cell phone. God forbid that I misplace the essentials before I go. If that happens, there goes 15 minutes.

Finally, you leap through the door and onto the road. Assuming you survive the morning commute, you may have time for a cup of coffee.

Is anyone surprised that we have so much frustration? There is not enough time in the day to get everything done.

How can anyone remain calm when our lives demand so much?

Sometimes, when faced with such stress, we experience difficulty in maintaining focus. Yoga teacher Sharon Neubauer calls this challenge the monkey mind. The monkey mind happens when the brain jumps around from one thing to another.

Yet, without focus and inner peace, we all take many important things for granted. Life remains too short for sane individuals to let this happen.

The following methods exemplify just some ways of cultivating the quieter mind:


What do Johann Sebastian Bach and Sam Cooke have in common? While both men are exceptional—yet different musicians—their music universally appeals to the soul.

With a unique link to our emotions, the right song or composition can alleviate stress and absorb attention. Simply put, music makes us happier. The right melody can lift you out of a mental funk or provide therapy for depression.


As the easiest way to remove clutter from the mind and decompress from a long day, some people take a deep breath in order regain their composure.

Sometimes, taking one long, slow breath provides a chance to take a break. Regardless of the circumstances, we reinvigorate our spirit by doing this.


For some, a good book provides the perfect escape. A good story, like nothing else, can take you out of the momentary situation.

Reading fiction gives individuals an important opportunity, as they can then follow complex storylines that allow them to imagine other individuals’ lives, a process that increases compassion.

Reading gives our mind time for both quietude and aloneness.


This concept is very important outside of the workplace. Although the biggest fan of mischief and fun, I believe, however, that there is an appropriate moment for everything.

Productivity consists of making the most of the time you have.

Think of free time as an opportunity to participate in activities that promote self-improvement. These may include fitness and sports for some people. Others may discover a chance to enhance a skill set or to engage in life-long learning (via a workshop or class).

Once the mind is fully engaged, stress or other distractions fall away, promoting essential qualities of concentration and focus.


People struggle with this very important principle. At first, I thought detachment called for individuals to behave like Vulcans (inhabitants of Mr. Spock’s planet) on Star Trek. Vulcans, renowned for living by reason and logic, develop procedures to suppress emotions. From their perspective, emotions are dangerous.

According to Sally Kempton, detachment (among other things) requires just letting go. But this does not mean the elimination of all relationships.

For example, Mary, someone I really care for, recently moved to another state, North Carolina. I could not imagine not having her presence in my life, but I realized something very important: I cannot care about someone on my terms. Love has to be freely given and received.

I have to accept love, but not hold onto it.

Life will not allow me to cling onto someone.

During times of stress and tribulation, we all want to remain calm. The quest for a quiet mind is an ongoing process. Yet, consider the importance of this path. You can have bliss while others are bewildered. Also, you can cultivate the ability to remain composed while the world is in chaos.

In the end, you will have a firm foundation on which to stand strong during life’s struggles. Now, if I can remain calm when I misplace my keys or cell phone, then I have taken a step in the right direction.

For even in the smallest things, I am forging a path towards inner peace.

Donavan Wilson is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He blogs about life and culture on Timon’s Opus. You can reach him at [email protected].




Editor: Carolyn Gilligan

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