As you know, every year, we spend November 11 paying tribute to the brave men and women who have fought to serve our country and protect our freedom. What you might not know is that Veterans Day was once called “Armistice Day,” and it was created to be “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace…” To many people, world peace is just a lofty ideal — after all, one might ask them self, “what could I possibly do to create world peace?” Well, the truth is each and every individual can do something to promote peace on Earth, and they don’t have to spend any money, join a cause, or even leave their house.
The number one thing each and every person can do to bring more peace into the world is: develop his or her own inner peace. When someone is full of negativity, anger, sadness, or other conflicting thoughts and emotions, those negative feelings manifest themselves in some way, shape, or form that in turn brings that bad energy into the world. For example, when someone is in a perfectly good mood, they typically don’t go around picking fights with other people. On the other hand, when someone is in a negative state of mind, they might feel inclined to release their bad emotions by taking it out on somebody.
To become at peace with yourself, you must be in a calm and relaxed state so that you can think clearly and non-judgmentally. Being in this state can spark reflective and insightful thinking, which is fitting for a day like Veterans Day. Using the right technique, you can bring yourself into a state of total calmness in just a few minutes. This is one of the most basic and fundamental elements of mindfulness meditation, and it’s called focused breathing.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted, and get into a comfortable position. You can be in any position you like, but it is not a good idea to be in one that makes it difficult for you to breath, e.g., slouching or hunched over.
Perform a body scan. Body scanning is just a term for checking yourself — head to toe — to be mindful of how and what you feel. You do this by concentrating on one end of your body, like your toes, and then slowly shifting your concentration towards the opposite end of your body.
Shift your attention to your breathing. Take 10 slow and steady breaths, and count each breath after each exhale. After you have taken 10 breaths, start back over again at one and repeat the process. The goal is to keep this process repeating for five minutes. Over the course of this time, it will be perfectly natural for your attention to wander, but whenever you notice this happening, simply shift your attention back on your breathing.
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