“I am calmly active. I am actively calm. I am a Prince of peace sitting on the throne of poise, directing the kingdom of activity.” Paramahansa Yogananda
I’ve been thinking a lot about this word lately. Main reason I’m thinking about it is that I had some issues with premature ventricular contractions a while ago. They still come and go, but mainly they are gone. The thing is, it’s forced me to analyze my mental state, and I realized that basically, I was not calm.
Back in 2015, I read Autobiography of a Yogi. Pretty incredible stuff, those stories of people of high consciousness. You know—attuned. Controlling heart rate, breath, reading people’s thoughts—even transporting their bodies. Who knows what’s possible but higher attainment certainly isn’t possible without poise.
Control of emotions is key
Poise relates to the mind, and your ability to be in control of your emotions and thoughts. There are a lot of techniques given in the book in terms of beginning to be more in control of yourself. But just being aware is a key first step. It’s a simple analysis, how am I feeling right now, what is going on internally? Heart rate. Fast? Slow? Thoughts? Calm? Rapid thoughts? Focus. Directed? Scattered?
The temper tantrum experience – calm and focus
I came home one night, Nora was throwing a huge temper tantrum. Screaming. This was the pivotal moment. When I opened the door the intensity was palpable. No calm. I realized that if I brought my energy down—become really calm—I could bring the energy of the situation down. It was gradual, and it took a little time, but there was a good resolution to the whole matter and you could feel the intensity deescalating.
Self-monitor: am I feeling tension and stress? Why? Why am I allowing myself to be tense? What can I do differently to calm down?
And much of this comes back to our thoughts. Being poised means your thoughts aren’t running wild and out of control. If you have an important event, your thoughts are with you, they are faith-thoughts of the “I can succeed” nature—visions of feeling great afterwards and seeing everything go perfectly.
Concentration is the ability to place your attention on something and keep it there. Attention controls everything. Mostly, we fragment our attention. Distracted by texts and electronic dings, our attention rarely remains deeply immersed on a subject. In meetings, we multitask, and miss important details.
Being able to direct your attention on the things that require it helps you to keep calm and poised. If you can’t direct your concentration and attention, it’s enervating and exhausting. It drains you of energy and is devitalizing.
Plus, how can you think deeply if your attention is always being fragmented? You can’t. And that’s not going to be good for your long term prospects.
Poise. Throne of poise directing the kingdom of activity. Calmly active, actively calm. Things to keep in mind here. You can have a lot more energy if you’re poised, because you don’t wear your nervous system out. A few ways to get poise are to:
- Control your usage of technology, especially the smart phone and endlessly scrolling, algorithm-controlled feeds of information.
- Learn to self-scan using the points above: heart rate, breathing, thoughts…then work to manifest a feeling of calm.
- Direct your attention. Pay attention. If you are in a meeting, pay attention to what is going on and think about it. Be prepared to speak up. Follow along. Or else, maybe don’t attend the meeting? Directing attention can be learned in conversation by imagining a beam of attention going out from your forehead to the other person.