Using visualization to access your inner peace
Instead of dwelling on the surface,
where I interact with the world outside,
I spend time visiting the deepest part of me,
so that I can become resilient to the winds of change.
I am the sea,
and I retreat to the still, silent waters of my soul.
– Carmen Warrington
These powerful lines are from a poetic meditation by Carmen Warrington and remind us of the power of stillness.
Each of us has a sacred inner core. Maybe you call it your soul or spirit. Some imagine it has a golden light, and in her meditation, Carmen likens it to the depths of the ocean.
This part of you is silent and still. It’s wise and unmoved by the swirl of events on the outside. The goal of most meditation and mindfulness practices is to access this inner part of you—your stillness—to calm your mind and root yourself in the present.
Easy access to your inner calm is important for many reasons. Firstly, it makes you less reactive, allowing you to sit with feelings and reflect before you respond. Whether it’s a flippant remark from your boss, someone cutting you off in traffic, or a rude interaction with a stranger at the grocery store, tapping into your sacred core empowers you to “become resilient to the winds of change” in favor of what really matters.
A good relationship with your spirit also makes it easier to soothe anxieties and manage stressful times. You can find silence and stillness with screaming kids, angry customers, and tough emotions.
But how do you access this inner calm? Try this visualization exercise.
Close your eyes and imagine you’re walking along a forest path. The dirt beneath your feet is soft, and there’s a cool breeze floating through the trees. You’re comfortable, safe, and relaxed. Picture yourself walking along the gently winding path toward a break in the trees. When you step out of the forest, you’ve arrived in a glen and at the center of this space is the safest, happiest place you can imagine.
What comes to mind? Maybe it’s your childhood home, or perhaps, it’s a spot you visited on a wonderful vacation. It could be your cozy couch or reading nook. Whatever it is, imagine yourself continuing along the dirt path toward this place. Open the door so you can walk inside. What’s happening? Is there a dog barking or a pot of coffee brewing? What do you see, hear, and smell?
Take a seat and take in your space. Lean into the feelings of safety and calm. All is right with the world in this place. Nothing can go wrong.
Now, imagine a color. The first one that pops into your head will do. Keep your eyes closed and consider this color as well as relax in your safe place.
When you’re ready, stand up and walk away from the place you imagined, softly shutting the door. Walk back along the path and into the forest. After a moment, take three deep breaths and open your eyes.
This safe place you’ve imagined is your inner stillness. It’s the part of you that is wise and centered no matter what is churning on the surface of your life. You can access these “still, calm waters of your soul” whenever you need to. Just follow the visualization exercise outlined in this blog post.
If you don’t have enough time to work through the exercise, use the color you envisioned to easily access feelings of calm and safety. Because you’ve associated this color with your inner stillness, closing your eyes and recalling the shade is a shortcut to this place. This works well if you’re on a stressful call, handling a kid meltdown, or having trouble falling asleep. Take a moment to breathe deeply and let the color guide you to your inner peace.
The more often you call upon this space, the easier it will be to access. Give yourself five or ten minutes every day to sit somewhere quiet and dive deep into this part of your being. You can even imagine other positive triggers like a shape, sound, or smell.
Once you’ve become better acquainted with your still, silent waters, you can use them to calm yourself in times of stress. When uncomfortable emotions that tug at your reactiveness come up—like an annoying coworker or unintentional snipe from a partner—pause and reach into your inner peace. Hold onto this calm, safe feeling before you say or do anything.
After some practice, you’ll find that accessing your stillness will keep you centered and strip away things that don’t matter. You’ll be able to see your truth and respond calmly to the ups and downs of life.
When all else fails, remember that you are the sea. Let storms and sunshine pass along your surface and know that you carry within you hidden depths of stillness wherever you go.