Keep Calm and Carry On

Ahaan Pandit
Published on: 30th July 2014
When life gets stressful, the last thing you need is to be surrounded by other people who are freaking out just as much as you. It's possible to keep everyone calm by projecting calmness yourself, even if you're faking it.

In many meditative traditions a calm, clear mind is often said to be like a still pond under a full moon. The smooth surface is transparent, allowing the moonlight to clearly illuminate the bottom of the pond. It is also like a mirror, reflecting back in perfect detail the moon and the night sky.

Unfortunately, our minds are not always clear. The surface is full of ripples that make it hard to see the bottom and distort the image of the moon. While these ripples are sometimes created by the wind or the environment, most of them are caused by rocks dropped into the pond; rocks created in our minds. These rocks are emotions like anger, hatred, or fear. Often without realizing it we are constantly throwing these stones into our ponds, never letting it return to stillness.
keep calm and carry on,reflection
Returning to a calm mind is simple. Just stop throwing rocks and let the waves calm down on their own. Despite this, we often try to calm our minds by throwing more rocks into the pond.

When we do stop throwing rocks, the effect can be powerful and lasting. As we are interconnected with others, the stillness of our mind, the refusal to throw rocks, can help others find the same peace.

When people see that your mind is clear it helps them realize that they too can let go.

I still think about that flight from time to time, but mostly when I'm flying. I used to be a fearless flyer, but even today I feel pangs of panic, that squirt of adrenaline down the back of my neck, every time a plane bumps or shakes. However, as I have increased my awareness of my own emotions, I can sense when I'm holding a rock and then I set it down.
Here's an exercise to try. Next time there's something or someone causing you distress: stop talking. Pause and take a moment to take a few deep breaths.

Begin to watch your thoughts and note the upsetting ones. Don't ignore them, just notice them. These are your rocks.

As you notice anger or hatred forming in your mind, imagine it as a rock. See yourself holding that rock, poised to toss it into your mind. But instead of throwing it, picture yourself gently setting it down beside you. Take a deep breath. Let it go.

Practice this when you can. Not only does cultivating calmness have tremendous effects on your personal state of mind, you never know how big an effect you may have on the others around you.
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