• 103rd International Peace Meditation “Hearing in the Midst of Clutter”

    “Hearing in the Midst of Clutter”

    July 3, 2005–When people speak to me about meditation, it is generally the same message. How do I quiet my mind? How do I get my mind to stop the ramblings? How do I let go of my deadlines, or all I need to do, and let my mind be open? Here are some thoughts that might help you and me as we attempt to meditate in the midst of mental clutter.

    Technology has sped up our lives and will continue to cause our internal clocks to accelerate. What yesterday seemed to be fast, today we may call mind numbing. Today’s computers will soon be outdated, unable to keep up with the demands of commerce. Today’s norms are tomorrow’s outdated castoffs. Yet, the central human issues, family, relationships, personal contribution and fulfillment remain the same. How do we reconcile human needs with production demands? And do we want to?

    Our children have needs and wants. As parents we often have difficulty separating them. We must meet our children’s needs to be good parents, and we like to meet some of the wants as it makes them and us feel good. However, in a fast-paced technological world, it is difficult to feel good about meeting those wants as they seem to change quickly, and our solutions seem to be insufficient or outdated almost immediately. Electronic games and toys, movies, and even some books often seem dated and irrelevant soon after purchase. What remains that is timeless, worthwhile, and intriguing after the initial newness wears off? Those are the gifts of value. Pets, wildlife and ecological and environmental knowledge and awareness, and uniqueness of human relationships remain.

    Remaining also is the mystery of our origin, our Source, our life work, and our source of fulfillment. In times of rapid change, those are the enduring values that we must constantly revisit as the challenge to remain relevant gets cluttered by the demands on our time. In other words, our relationship with our Source, or God, or Love, or by whatever name we feel comfortable; our relationships with our family and friends; our ability to do the lifework of our choosing; and our source of fulfillment in helping others are all among what we can lose if we do not focus on what is important, and let the less relevant take a proverbial back seat.

    Once we determine what is important to our individual lives, the next step is to focus on those elements. Finding time and then making time for our relationships, including the relationship with Source, is challenging, but has the biggest payoff. However, in our daily lives, which may feel like compressed time, we often leave what is important to last. When we schedule, it is important to build in time for what we value first, and then work other activities and demands into our remaining schedules.

    Consider the occasions we are asked to give time to causes that we know are important, but that take away from our primary relationships. Leaning to say “No” with compassion for the cause is important if we do not want to spend time and then resent it. Resentment spills over into all of our relationships. If we’re feeling resentful, we’re giving too much and need to reevaluate our use of time.

    When we meditate, it is no different. Time for meditation needs to be scheduled and then kept. It may be at a different time each day, but just like other appointments, needs to be written down and adhered to. I used to meditate very early each morning before work, and for several hours each Saturday. During that time, my development escalated and I became very productive as a result. My development affected my work and made my thinking very clear. I was often able to anticipate what was going to happen at work, plan accordingly, and be pretty keenly aware of the politics surrounding me. In other words, not only did I develop spiritually in preparation for the work I do today, but also my ability to work in highly charged political situations, encouraging people who traditionally did not work well together to see the bigger picture and work collaboratively, was enhanced. Meditation has many positive outcomes, which may not be appreciated until much later. When we spend time on what’s important, relationships with Source, family, and friends, the rewards are great and our productivity is enhanced.

    We all struggle with calming our minds to meditate, but there are some easy steps we can take to help ourselves. I’ll share some that I have found helpful.


    Recognize that all I have to do is “show up.” God, or Allah, or Source, or Love, does all of the rest.
    Recognize that for much of my meditation time, my mind will “do it’s own thing.” I can try to turn off its rantings and ravings by reminding myself that it’s not important now, or mentally putting those thoughts in a file cabinet to be picked back up when the meditation is over.
    Sit in a quiet, darkened, comfortable space. My new recliner is great for that. When my personal needs for comfort are met, it is easier not to let discomfort divert my attention.
    Resolve to let the answering machine work for me. Caller ID lets me return important calls and the unidentified ones were ones I didn’t want to take anyway.
    Remember that I will be more productive, not less, after I meditate. Insights and decisions often come when I least expect them. I seek to be with my own inner wisdom, which helps me fend off unwanted advice.
    Ask to forgive, and then try to forget. People hurt us; it’s a fact of life. Sometimes it’s intentional; sometimes it isn’t, but we still have to deal with them. By forgiving we let go of the damage the anger is doing to us, and by forgetting, we try not to blame or relive the hurt. However, we do protect ourselves from being hurt again by taking reasonable steps to avoid allowing it to recur.
    Recognize that our lives are unique and that we don’t have to live by what we see other people doing. Separating ourselves from the pack is essential to living empowered lives. We each have important work to do, and it must always be our focus. By saving remaining time for the non-essential, we can have pleasant social lives with boundaries. Empowered people use time to do the important things of life.
    Avoid getting caught up in another’s lessons. We each have our lessons. We can support another’s experience, but we cannot live his/her life. This can be the greatest challenge for caregivers. We cannot control outcomes; we can only support the journey.
    Believe that I’m worth the time required to meditate, and to spend with family or friends. Self-esteem is essential to living an empowered life. Time for work, meditation, relationships, and play needs to be balanced. When we stay in balance, we are in the best situation to help others and to be productive at work.
    Consciously work at doing those things that relieve stress. I recently discovered what most of you already know: it’s impossible to be stressed on the treadmill! The “work” of the workout is relief to the stressed mind. I wish I’d learned this sooner!
    Taking control of the mind clutter is realizing that:

    You’re worth the time to meditate
    If you just “show up”, Love will do the rest.
    Relationships and productivity in all aspects of our lives are enhanced by meditation.
    When we meditate, we later know what decisions we need to make. Being with our own inner wisdom is something only we can do. And by doing it, we separate ourselves from the craziness of reacting to being proactive.
    Being empowered is being in control of one’s choices. We have the choice of how we will use our time. We do not need to hand our power over to others. Using our lives to serve Love; finding the fulfillment that comes through service; and being mutually supportive in all of our relationships are indicators of the empowered life. Once we discover that meditation is a two-way street, and that we are only half of the equation, we’ll wonder why we ever waited.
    This meditation is dedicated to each of us on our individual life journeys. May we find solutions and relationships that empower us so that we may help others find empowerment.

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    Sue Kidd Shipe
    Executive Director

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    Sue Kidd Shipe, Executive Director
    International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
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