Earth-Centered Practices for Everyday Mystics, Healers, & Creatives

First Whisper: Maintain peace of mind

in Spirituality

Today we’re beginning our study of Christina Baldwin’s Seven Whispers. (Anyone out there studying with me?  I know my friend Paul down in Portland checked it out of the library . . .)  I invite you to comment on my comments, or on the chapter in the book.  You can also answer some of the questions in the study guide.

"Peace of mind is the cornerstone of spiritual practice," Christina writes. "It is the . . . clean slate upon which messages of spiritual guidance may be written. . . . .To keep finding our way, we need to keep returning to this state of calm mind and open heart." (pp. 9-10)

Easier said than done, for all us with chattering monkey minds.  How do we maintain peace of mind, especially in the face of personal trauma and despair over the state of the world?

Christina asks:
"Do you have a daily practice that fosters peace of mind?
What do you do?"

For me, it begins each morning, my favorite time of day. That’s when
I invite peace of mind to enter. I rise early, go downstairs, put the
coffee on and feed the cats.  While the coffee is brewing I step
outside onto the front porch, which faces East.  I greet the dawn (or
the pre-dawn, this time of year).  I listen to birds, drops of rain,
roosters crowing, a last howl or two from coyotes in the woods.  I
offer up prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Then back upstairs with a mug of coffee.  I read aloud from the Celtic Devotional, and sometimes a couple of other "daily reading" books.  I set the alarm on my computer for ten minutes, and do a "Writing in the Now" exercise which sometimes turns into a blog entry.  If I had a memorable dream, I write it down and do some dreamwork with it.  Then I shuffle my Tarot deck (I use my Gaian working deck with all 78 cards) and choose a card, asking:  What might this card have to tell me about living today to its fullness? or, What might I need to consider or contemplate today? Then I journal about the card and its associations for me, for about five minutes. 

At this point, I’ve filled up my well and I’m feeling pretty darned peaceful and happy.  Then I go and do my yoga, a half hour routine with Megan Garcia’s DVD "Just My Size."  (I call it "yoga for big girls").  Then I go for a walk.

Sometimes I get distracted by email and checking out blogs.  Or by jumping into work.  Sometimes two hours go by before I realize I haven’t done my practice.  Then the phone starts to ring.  And before I know it, the day has begun without my inviting peace of mind to enter.  I don’t like days like that.  I always seem to fall off balance more easily on those days.

I have tried doing yoga and walking first, before coffee and before the rest of my daily practice.   I wasn’t too successful at it.  Instead of really enjoying the stretching and centering I was mentally grumbling the whole time.   Instead of chanting "Ooooommmmm", all I could think of was "Coooooooffffffffffffeeeeeeeee" . . .   So for now I’m doing coffee and devotions first, yoga and walking second.

But what are some other ways that facilitate my getting out of the ego self, quieting the chattering internal voices, and aligning with my Soul?   What other practices get me there?

– Meditation and guided journeys
– Sketching, especially nature journaling
– Spending time at the beach
– Singing
– Secret spot routines (in nature)

What do you do, to invite and maintain peace of mind?

I’d really like to know.

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Michele Bergeron Wed - Oct 18th 2006 6:05 pm

    I don’t have a daily routine, yet, for inviting peace of mind into my day…that will come to me when I do my own Samhain “retreat”….but for now, whenever the wind is blowing hard I high-tail it to the Lake, (I live 10 minutes from Lake Erie) and I stand on a cliff and let the mighty winds of Oya blow over, in me, through me..I release any and all negative energy, letting it spiral out the top of my head, off the tips of my fingers….and I stand there until I feel so light, so free that I could lift off at any moment….I like to call this act “cleaning the cobwebs off of my soul”….I used to work at a hospital that literally sat right on the edgd of the lake and I could and would go out every day and let the lake’s healing energy wash over me…I really miss that part of my day now…..that’s why this Samhain I am planning a personal day of retreat to be quiet, to listen, to learn, to be taught new ways to live my spirituality that will help me to re-energize my soul.
    Blessings,
    Michele

    Reply

  • Dedri Quillin Thu - Oct 19th 2006 8:37 am

    So glad you decided to write about the Seven Whispers, it is a great book. I live on the plains of eastern New Mexico. Every morning at dawn I walk with my dog out in the grasslands. I find peace of mind by being out where I can see the hawks and hear the coyotes. The wind blows here much of the year and there is a spiritual feeling about it, sometimes friendly sometime pretty harsh. The nice part about being out at dawn (other than seeing the sunrise) is that so few other people are out. It is quiet and the peace of nature just soaks into my soul.
    A question: Isn’t Christina one of your neighbors on the island? I seem to remember reading in one of her books that she lives up there.

    Reply

  • James Wells Thu - Oct 19th 2006 11:03 am

    First let me say that “The Seven Whispers” has become one of my favourite books. Practical spiritual wisdom. I’ve highlighted several passages in my copy that, to me, encapsulate the essence of each Whisper. The Whispers are much like the gokai (Five Precepts) of Reiki — we’re called to recite them morning and evening and to live them during the day.
    So…how do I maintain peace of mind?
    1. In Spring of 1998, I consciously gave up my driver’s license and haven’t driven since. This has REALLY given me peace of mind. No crazy drivers, no expensive maintenance, etc.
    2. I recite the gokai (five precepts) of Reiki three times with hands in gassho. These are:
    “for today only,
    do not anger
    do not worry
    be humble
    be honest in your work
    be compassionate to yourself and others”.
    By keeping them in mind, reciting them with my lips, and holding my hands in a reverent mudra, I’m reminded to live these precepts in my thoughts, my words, and, my deeds.
    3. I also recite the Seven Whispers three times as well as the motto of the Komyo Reiki Kai: “Go placidly in the midst of praise or blame.”
    4. I journal about my tarot card of the day. Usually, my question is, “What are the conditions within me and around me today, and what wisdom emerges for me today from these conditions?” Often, I write a haiku or some other type of poem or I make a symbol or scribbly sketch, based on the daily card. It’s important for me to create a doable action from the card as well.
    5. I remind myself of a phrase that was at the bottom of a client’s email one time. It said: “I have to be in some frame of mind for the next ten minutes, so it might as well be a good one.” In other words, I remind myself that I have a choice in this moment to respond frantically or peacefully to what is happening, to be pulled in or to maintain my centre.

    Reply

  • Cate Fri - Oct 20th 2006 6:29 am

    Joanna, it seems we start the day in the same way, with a page or two from Caitlin Matthews’ wonderful little devotional book – have been doing that for years. I began with a softcover copy which was a gift and finally located a hardcover edition which would better tolerate being carried to and fro and all around.
    I have ordered Christina’s book, but it has not arrived yet and am l looking forward to reading it when it arrives, will tackle the study plan in advance. With Samhain (the gate of the year and my favourite day of the whole turning year) arriving in only a week or two, this is the perfect time to begin such a thoughtful enterprise.

    Reply

  • Linda Sun - Oct 22nd 2006 6:15 am

    I recently ordered the book from Amazon and awaiting the delivery of it, so don’t get too far ahead of me, please. Love your blog, and your tarot cards, I am actually saving up enough to get my own set.
    Peace and serenity,
    Linda

    Reply

  • Joanna Wed - Oct 25th 2006 9:04 am

    Michele, your Samhain retreat sounds wonderful. I love your image of “cleaning cobwebs off your soul.” Dedri, Christina lives on another island about 50 miles or so south of me (there’s a lot of islands here). But the landscape is very similar. James, thanks for sharing the details of your spiritual practice. It’s inspiring. I wish I could join your Seven Whispers study circle in Toronto. Cate, I know you’ll love the book! Linda, I think we’ll wait until next week to start the Second Whisper. Thanks, all of you, for joining me in this study.

    Reply

  • Andy Wed - Oct 25th 2006 11:12 pm

    Interesting. I posted a grounding exercise on my blog yesterday which is both wonderful to undertake, quick and convenient for those who perceive themselves as busy or have children taking up a lot of their time in the day. It centres around your morning shower, a time when even the busiest people get at least a few minutes to be on their own and uninterrupted.
    Grounding visualisations are excellent, I find, for calming the centre and establishing a context for everything. x

    Reply

  • Deb Wed - Nov 01st 2006 1:29 pm

    I have always had difficulty finding and maintaining a “spiritual practice”. Part of that has been that I say yes too often, I keep trying to become better, smarter, more than I already am. So there is no time to sleep much less set in place a daily spiritual practice. That is the old voice in my head. What I am currently doing is seeking a new job that allows me to take time to spend time just being me, to be with my family, to follow a creative urge or two. And I am realizing that I really do feel better, function at a more effective level, am calmer and more loving if I take the time to just focus on what is good in my life. To notice how my body feels when I am happy and relaxed. When I feel “Blessed”.
    So I started a new practice. I watch this movie sometime during my workday. I turn off the lights and just let the beauty wash over me. I have even begun to say the text out loud. Sometimes I change it to first person. And when I am feeling overwhelmed, or like I’m not good enough; I watch this again. (It is less than 5 minutes long)
    http://www.mayyoubeblessedmovie.com/
    Maybe when I get the new job, there will be time to watch it first thing in the morning. May you be blessed, too.
    DragonSong

    Reply

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