01.12.2015 Spirituality

Creating Calm in Chaos

Charlie Hogg of Australia's Brahma Kumaris suggests we can find inner peace and a sense of meaning by reclaiming our spirituality

We are all news junkies today. We absorb the scenes of the world deep into our being, most recently the Paris attacks. It drives our thinking and dominates our conversations. We sit in the coffee shops and we all have our view and analysis. But what is happening deep inside each one of us?

It seems there is a crisis in the soul of humanity. I am not a psychologist but I have spent the last 40 years teaching meditation and listening to people sharing their life's journey. Scratch the surface and everyone has a story. There is often an inner dialogue of hurt, anger and deep self doubt. But as much as the inner world seems rife with confusion and upheaval there is a deeper and deeper yearning for substance, meaning and truth. A yearning for a simplicity of mind among all the complication and complexity and over thinking.

It seems there is a crisis in the soul of humanity.

Each one of us knows the state of our inner world. Seeing the state of our inner affairs what is time calling me to do, to deal with this inner crisis? Probably the real question is what is time calling me to be?

I feel time is signaling me to reclaim my spirituality; to create inner calm among the chaos.

When I began to meditate I remember observing more closely what was happening in my mind. I really had no control in my mind nor any real wisdom to understand and deal with it. In fact I remember thinking I was a slave inside my own mind. I began to observe my mind responding to others' behaviour and situations. Sometimes just a few words, a glance, a vibration could send my mind into overdrive. A barrage of thoughts could take over for minutes or even hours. I bowed down, oh mind take me over, you are the master.

Spirituality is the wisdom to begin to understand my own mind and have a quality relationship with the self. I feel this is the most necessary wisdom needed today. The relationship with the self is the first relationship of life but if it is dysfunctional it pollutes everything else. It is this dysfunctional relationship that is feeding this crisis in the world.

We have created a culture where everything important is on the outside

When this inner crisis bubbles to the surface we put many labels on it such as stress, anxiety or depression. From a spiritual view, depression is a mourning for my true identity. I may have good intellectual ability and even fulfilling relationships but who am I?

We have created a culture where everything important is on the outside; how you look, what you wear, what you earn and the title on your business card. The result is a profound lack of meaning and purpose, an emptiness, a deep sadness in the core of my being. How do we fill this inner black hole, this emptiness? With busyness. The frenetic busyness is a form of avoidance or denial to look deep within to see what is really going on. Busyness does fill the emptiness, but only temporarily. The back hole continues to grow bigger.

The one with spirituality realises I need to return to my roots to understand "Who am I?"

But is this easy? When I look inside there often seems to be a jungle of unprocessed thoughts and feelings. It can be quite daunting, so I am tempted to return to my old forms of denial by losing myself in busyness and work and perhaps hope it will all go away. But if I persevere I begin to see three personalities vying for power and control inside me.

The first "I" is the one that presents a façade to the world. This "I" can be very clever and can fool most. It is so clever it can even fool me because sometimes I start to feel it is me. This is the ego façade I build up to protect my vulnerable self. It is the "I" of superiority that thinks my understanding is the right understanding - I am right. I am better. This "I" will easily criticise and find fault in others and craves attention and praise. But when it seeps into my feelings, it is then I know this "I" is ruling me. Whenever I feel insulted, disrespected, undervalued, easily hurt or oversensitive, know the "I" of arrogance is ruling me. I have lost my inner sovereignty.

The emptier I feel the more I build this mask.

The second "I" is the vulnerable "I". Behind the mask, the façade, lies a vulnerable and fragile self, fearful of being exposed. This "I" can chant the mantra, "I am not good enough, others are better than me, others don't want me, others don't love me." This "I" is so fearful of rejection. This is the "I" of lack of self respect or the "I" of inferiority. Once again it is when the power of this "I" seeps into my feelings, that I know it is ruling me. I can feel hopeless, inadequate, unworthy and inferior. This "I" distorts my whole outlook on life. It becomes a filter through which I see everything and I am convinced I am seeing reality. But in fact I am being deceived by this false identity I have built up.

So what happens? We swing between the highs of the "I" of arrogance and the lows of the "I" of lack of self respect. Sometimes life seems very chaotic.

The path of spirituality begins to connect me with the original "I" or my permanent identity. When I connect and taste the feelings of my permanent identity it is like coming home to where I really belong. I am a soul, I adopt a body and act through it. When I forget myself and think I am my body, this is when the game of ups and downs, fluctuating between ego and lack of self respect begins. Becoming soul conscious is the middle path. Rather than swinging from the ego "highs" and the lack of self respect "lows", I experience the peaceful calm of my eternal self, the soul.

When I meditate I see the soul is a point of life energy residing in the middle of the brain, behind the forehead. When I realise the true self and experience it, automatically I experience peace. I begin to find some calm in the chaos.

The natural byproduct of experiencing myself as the soul is a deep and stable feeling of peace.

Eighty percent of Australians believe they are something more than a body but are not sure what. Meditation is converting the belief into an experience. Spirituality is not just to know and believe but to experience the permanent self. The natural byproduct of experiencing myself as the soul is a deep and stable feeling of peace. It becomes my natural state, not a fleeting experience. I can carry it through a day and amidst the chaos.

Once I am soul conscious I have built a platform to communicate with God. The aim of meditation is to link the mind and feelings to God. God is seen as the Supreme Soul, not just a point of light but an unlimited Ocean of Love, Peace and Power. I absorb my whole being in the beauty of the Supreme and this loving relationship begins a deep healing.

A loving relationship with my true self and a loving relationship with God is at the heart of spirituality.

Charlie Hogg is National Coordinator Brahma Kumaris Australia

Charlie Hogg

Charlie Hogg is National Coordinator Brahma Kumaris Australia