salam w hudú

salam w hudú is Arabic for "peace and quiet". I chose to make that the title of this entry rather than use the English words because of the important significance of finding alignment with other cultures; and especially Islam in these turbulent times.

But ultimately this has nothing to do with politics or religion. This is a highly personal concept to me. By keeping track of the ebb and flow of the feeling of peace and the practice of quiet in my body and mind and actions, I gauge the affect I'm effecting on myself in any given circumstance.

Just as I follow and track and move myself consciously toward a sensation of pleasure in my body, so too do I follow that feeling of peace. When I'm with a person or in a situation that inspires me to have thoughts or do things that bring me away from the feeling, I become aware of it. Not all deviations from the center of peace are bad, but the ones that cause me distress are. And they feel different than those that bring me eustress. I can't change anyone else and I have no control over any situation. The only thing I can control is my thoughts and actions. If possible, I first check and recover my feeling of peace. If I can't change myself in such a way to allow that, then I remove myself until such a time that I can recompose myself and return to the situation at peace.

So it is a conscious, inwardly directed practice of self love.

Quiet has been a big one for me lately. I am coming to see it as a profound observation of respect. To quickly answer someone is to demonstrate that very little forethought was put into the answer. I've been noticing my reactionary self, feeling, wanting, needing to respond quickly. How often do you wish you'd responded differently when looking back on a situation? I sure have, a lot. By nature, I learn "on the job."  My modus operandi is to jump into something new all the way and then figure out how it's done while still mid-flight. So I make a lot of errors as part of my process. But the simple practice of that moment of silence before responding, can make a big difference in making more informed and thoughtful decisions and remarks and fewer errors.

Another aspect of the quiet for me is to keep in check my perceived need to input at all. It comes down to ego most of the time when I really examine my true impulse to speak. A big factor, for example is that my social anxiety gives me a lot of energy, which I tend to use to fill silences quickly. And I'm a helper. Huge 'Problem Solver." It's another part of my nature that I have come to understand can come across as arrogant if not kept under control.

Silence is where I have found the large majority of my breakthroughs in my work with River. It is not a lesson that was lost on me. I have gained a lot from our work together, and the strengthening of my silent communication is a big one. He hears me better when I don't muddy my communication with din.

So when I say peace and quiet, I don't mean to imply that there's no sound or excitement in my life. I can have peace anywhere and everywhere, no matter what's happening on the outside. Peace is all about how I react and about what's going on inside. When I refer to quiet, I'm not talking about my atmosphere. I could enjoy quiet in a noisy auditorium full of people or a rock concert. The quiet I'm concentrating on is my own silence. I like conversations, laughter, discourse and music and I love the sounds of nature. I can even get into the symphony of traffic or a construction site at times. But there are also times when any of the things that I mentioned could bring me away from peace if they inspired me to feel irritated or anxious, or break the quiet if I felt overwhelmed by my uncontrollable desire to express my ego.

In looking for a picture of "peace and quiet" to include with this post, I found that most images showed 'the world': a serene beach, a stack of rocks or a sky filled with wispy clouds. In many cases, a meditating person was included in the shot.

But I believe that that is a very limited view of what 'peace and quiet' means. It's easy to find it in those settings, but also less important. The picture I sought to accurately portray what I'm talking about would be a person smiling happily in the middle of an angry mob or on a busy street-corner, or sitting in a traffic jam with a contented grin or standing stoically while being harangued, accused or belittled by other people. I think this one illustrates it best:


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