“Remain calm and serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” – Yogananda
We all want to just get along, right? There’s already too much stress and strife in daily living. No wonder we’re eager to jump on any approach that provides a quick solution. The reality is, however, that there’s no ready-made fix that’s external. Rather, it’s what we bring to the table that counts in being best able to get along. To that end, meditation experts recommend remaining calm and serene and in control of yourself as the easiest way to get along.
That all sounds great, but the larger question is how do you do it? When everything in your life is in constant turmoil, sometimes it’s all you can do to make it through the day. Forget about trying to attain a state of calmness and serenity. Those are lovely to think about but not very practical when the boss is on you for that overdue report or the kids are fighting in the next room or you just failed you final exam. Isn’t it easier to reach for a drink, smoke a joint, pop a pill or go all out shopping that to try to deal with people and situations that are, at best, complex and distressing?
What we may not realize, however, is that everyone experiences these kinds of situations. We all face distractions, problems, challenges and conflict. This may result in fear, anger, doubt, anxiety, and confusion – even defiance. We don’t want to get along. We just want to be left alone. Sooner or later, though, we’ll need to do something more proactive in order to get along. Even more important is figuring out an approach that will help us calm our mind, soothe our fears and doubts and make us more in control of our actions.
Take a breath. Actually, take several breaths, each one deep, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Count your breaths as you do this, focusing only on the rhythm of your breath going in and out. This serves to calm you and restore a sense of self-control. After all, you are the one controlling your breathing. You can slow it down as you choose. This has the added benefit of putting to the side, temporarily, whatever is bothering you. Whether it’s co-workers or loved ones or people you interact with at the coffee shop, at school, in the grocery or hardware store or sitting in traffic, when you are able to feel a sense of calmness and serenity, you have more self-control and will be better able to get along with others.
Not that this is easily done, especially for those of us who are type-A personalities, driven to succeed, always pushing the limits of our endurance and denying ourselves a minute’s rest. Even if we do appreciate what it feels like to be calm and serene, having experienced it a few times, it may be tough to remember that in the heat of a current argument or vigorous debate. Add to that any underlying pressures and tensions and the situation could quickly get out of control. Seeking to bring it back to a more even keel takes some doing. But it can be done with practice and patience.
Keep in mind that when you are calm and serene and in control of yourself, you won’t be as likely to buy into another person’s goading. You’ll stay clear on your goals and committed to the plan of action you’ve created. This makes it easier to get along with others and stay true to what means the most to you.