5 Short Meditations for Inner Peace
Inner peace and modern life don't really gel well
There are a few things that modern, busy lifestyles actively seem to work against - and inner peace is one of them! Yet there are many proven benefits of having spaces (if not long stretches) in which you experience some inner peace.
Inner peace can be a bit hard an idea to grasp. A simple definition is that it is the state in which your nervous system is in its relaxed, or parasympathetic, state. When this is the case, your mind is calm and thoughts feel gentle, your body is relaxed and without tension or fidgeting. You're feeling peaceful, not worried or bothered by things.
Does such a mental state sound familiar?
Join the club. It's not very common.
Life bombards us with exactly the opposite - stress, worry, fear, busyness, pressure, etc etc.
Thank goodness there are ways to switch off the body's stress response, and turn on the inner-calm-promoting relaxation response, in just a few minutes...coz some days that's truly all the time you're gonna get.
Here are five of my favourite short meditations for inner peace - just 3-5 minutes will have an effect, so take heart. Even you can find time for some inner peace in your day.
Simple meditations for inner peace
Breathing meditations are the simplest way to switch your body into relaxation mode and calm down your inner world. Try these anywhere, anytime, for an instant shot of inner peace.
Inner peace meditation 1: Counted Breathing
Sit comfortably, or lie down, close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Notice it going in and out through your nose. Notice your belly and chest moving as it does. Now begin to count as you breath in, then again as you breath out. Notice whether the in breath is shorter or longer than the out breath.
Notice your body relaxing as your attention is focused on your breathing.
Now begin to add an extra count to your in breath and a count to your out breath. If you counted to four on your in breath, stretch that to a five. Slowly try to balance the in and out breaths to be close to the same length.
Elongate your breathing count slowly, a few more times. Notice how your body feels.
Inner peace meditation 2: Soft Belly Breathing
Again, sitting comfortably, with your eyes closed, notice your breathing going in and out for a few breaths. If you're breathing quickly, try the counted breathing method, above, to help relax your breathing to a slower rhythm.
Now you've settled into a slow, comfortable breathing rhythm, with each out breath say to yourself "Soft belly". Notice how the belly muscles soften as you do this.
Continue with this repetition of "soft belly" with each out breath for a few minutes.
Inner peace meditation 3: Noticing and Stating What's Happening
This method is particularly good in stressful times.
Again, begin by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes and noticing your breathing for a few rounds of breath. Find a relaxed breathing rhythm.
Now become aware of any physical thing happening in your body. Start with the movement of your belly and chest as you breath. When you notice each movement has happened, say to yourself "Belly expanded." "Belly contracted." "Chest expanded." "Chest contracted."
Move on to anything else you notice. This may be things like "Slight aching in my lower back", "flickering of my eyelids", "swallowed", "butt feels squished on the chair", "feet feel slightly cold", "breeze moving across my arm and face skin" etc. Just keep noticing and stating what's happening in your body.
In times when you're feeling triggered, angry, frustrated or bored, this can help alleviate these emotions. In times of physical pain, it can help you cope while discouraging identification with the pain (that means you're creating a distance between who you are, and what your body is experiencing. This is the first step in learning to identifying as the higher self within, which is a powerful way to find pain relief.)
Inner peace meditation 4: A Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving kindness meditations, or Meta meditations, are a Buddhist meditation tradition. They're extremely popular and widely practiced. There are many types of Meta meditation and this is a very simple version. The idea of a loving kindness meditation is to intend or wish love, peace, happiness, wellness or other positive states on yourself and all others. It's a super powerful way to bring peace to yourself and your world.
Once again, sit comfortably, eyes closed, and notice your breathing for a few breaths, while relaxing into a comfortable, slow breathing rhythm.
With each out breath, repeat the phrase "May all beings be free". With each repetition, feel a deeper level of freedom within yourself. Then envisage all other beings experiencing that same freedom within. Remember, freedom isn't just about not being confined or restricted physically. It's about being free from pain and suffering, free from hurt or abuse, free from financial burden, free from loneliness, depression or other emotional difficulties.
Spend a few minutes repeating this phrase, feeling deeper freedom within yourself, and then sending that same sense of deep freedom out to all other beings.
Note: if this phrase feels difficult to grasp and feel, try replacing the word "free" with "happy" or "at peace".
Inner peace meditation 5: Accept and Allow Meditation
This meditation is a simple and effect tool for those tough moments when you're facing something that sucks - something you'd like to change or control, but you just can't. A lot of people find such times stressful, and this meditation can really help.
After closing your eyes and taking a few conscious, slowing breaths, bring to mind the situation, or a part of the situation, that brings up your fear, anxiety, frustration, anger etc. With your out breath say "I accept this situation as it is right now". With the next out breath, say "I allow this situation to be as it is right now".
Repeat these two phrases for a few minutes, with each out breath.
Remember, all you're doing is accepting the situation as it is right now...you're not saying it's OK, you're not saying you won't try to change it later. You're simply admitting that in this moment you've chosen to stop that trying, wishing, pushing and wanting to change things, and you're allowing what is true to just be. Just for this moment.
This meditation works for accepting pain, grief, heartbreak and other emotions too. If you can't bring yourself to accept or allow the situation to be as it is, turn. your attention to accepting and allowing your own resistance, with the phrases "I accept my resistance to this situation as it is right now" and "I allow my resistance to be as it is right now".
A side-note on meditation for inner peace - you gotta practice
Like any skill you want to master, you've got to practice. If you're waiting until you're experiencing a super chaotic, stressful day before you start doing these meditations, you'll find they don't work as well as they could - because you've got to start building your inner calm meditation muscles when there's not too much inner turmoil to calm down from.
So make it a daily practice.
Not only will you benefit when those chaotic, stressful days come round, you'll also experience more inner peace every day, and your body will reap the rewards of time spent without your stress response turned out. Find out more about those benefits here.
Need short meditations for relieving chronic pain? Check out my course!