Peace can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give. Peace can also be reached through concentration upon that which is dearest to the heart.  Patanjali.

Today I felt frazzled, I could only focus my thoughts on how much I had to do in the next week or so, and I had no ability to be really present.  I hate feeling like this. It annoys me and frustrates me.  It is wasted time.  I wanted my peace of mind back, and I wanted it NOW! But the more peace of mind is desired, the less it comes – the focus remains on the lack of peace.  I wanted to be able to write, to think clearly, be thoughtful and to be creative… but it wasn’t about to happen with me sitting there fussing over it.

I needed to do something to break the frustration so that I could change my state  of mind.  Are states of mind changeable? Yes – they are totally within our own power to manage.  If I choose to be happy and at peace, then that is what will happen.  If I choose to be angry and frustrated with the world, then merely by concentrating on the things that annoy me, I can make myself more and more angry.  The more I concentrate on the bad, the worse the world becomes.  The more I concentrate on the good, the more of it I find.

So today, to break this cycle within my head I used the bouquets of flowers given to me as gifts to try to see into the heart of life, to find the beauty and peace within nature.  I took my macro lens, my gorilla pod and started taking close-up images of the flowers.  The concentration on them, the focus on placement to see what lies beneath the obvious beauty of a flower took my mind into calm and peace.  I needed absolute stillness to create sharp images, I needed a steadiness of hand to focus accurately.

Looking carefully into the heart of a flower took away my breath with its intricacy. I found the striking likeness to the human heart in the stigma of an oriental lily, the softness of aging skin in the petals of a gladioli and the almost maternal  protection provided to buds by leaves and sepals. When I uploaded the images, I was happy.  The flowers lit up my monitor and showed me an inner world.

My love of photography, my desire to see the connections between all living things and the innate beauty calmed me, gave my mind the peace and serenity I craved. Now I could do the things I needed to do.

Knowing that I have the power to change my mind state also means knowing that if I do not use this power, I am choosing to be angry, frustrated, hurt, annoyed, hurtful, nasty – and whatever other emotions float around.  This means that I cannot blame my emotions or my bad moods on others.  I have to take responsibility for them – and for the actions and words I use when I choose to remain in that state.  This is not a happy thought.  It is so much better to be able to blame others;  ‘she made me so angry’,  ‘he pushed my buttons’.  Our dark side wishes to be absolved of this responsibility.  It is not me but the other who made me.

Religions use this process as well.  “The devil made me do it’ “God can stop me from doing this again’.  This externalisation of responsibility is one of the bete noirs of our individual development and of our society’s development as a whole.  If we can find others to blame, we have no need to change and even better, we have no need to even look to see if our behaviour had some culpability in the process.

Taking responsibility for our thoughts and emotions is hard.

All that we are is a result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. Buddha