There has been a lot of writings on how, what we "think and feel," act as magnets for what we draw to us.

I would like to approach this idea from a little different direction. I, too, believe we radiate outward what we are experiencing within. But I also feel those rays of thoughts and feelings can actually cause change. If we are in a state of peace and love when we walk into a chaotic situation, and if we can stay conscious of our feelings, we have the choice to either take on what is being projected from others, or hold our space and intentionally radiate our own experience of love and peace.

Many people are not "consciously" aware of what is going on within them––let alone that they may be contributing to a negative situation. An aware person can actually effect change, by being a calming influence. Their very presence and conscious choice of remaining in a serene space, can assist others in reclaiming their sanity and climbing out of negative spirals that may be occurring around or within them.

The key, of course, is observing our thoughts and feelings and being aware when they change.

Few of us have had any sort of mind training...a process of holding our attention and drawing it back to a focal point when we find it drifting. And, as a consequence, we deal with "monkey minds" that become easily distracted, jumping from one idea to another.

A couple forms of meditation can help us to gently train our minds.

1. Light a candle and place it where it is easy for you to see. Sit peacefully in a chair with your spine straight or on the floor with crossed legs. Take a couple slow deep breaths and begin to focus on the candle's flame. If this is your first time at meditation, this can last upwards to 15 seconds, before you realize that your thoughts are elsewhere. Without criticism or self-judgement, bring your attention back to the flame. It is a training technique, be gentle with yourself. Part of this process is to show you how long you are currently able to stay conscious.

Such self-knowledge can act as a catalyst to inspire you in the further development of this aspect in your spiritual growth.

2. Another simple meditation is to sit quietly, eyes closed, while you pay attention to your inbreath...and to your outbreath. That's all. If you can stay with it, even for a few minutes, you begin to find your heart rate decreasing, your breathing slowing and deepening, and a peacefulness settling over you.

These are simple techniques to bring peace and deep restfulness back into our lives. They don't take long and their benefits are incredible. They help to break the hold that hypertension has on so many. They work to dissipate depression and anxiety. They cost nothing, but a few moments of our time.

As with any sport, musical instrument or talent we would like to develop, these techniques call us to practice...gentle moments in our day to quiet and focus our mind.

And then, when you have practiced, walk through your world, allowing your serenity to radiate outwards––affecting peaceful change wherever you go.

Blessings, Joann Turner