Outer peace begins with inner peace. This is the fundamental principle behind The Practice (HCI Books, $12.95), written by Boca Raton resident Barb Schmidt (right). A guide to peaceful living, the book is a resource of mental tools Schmidt developed as part of a three-part daily routine—waking up, living in the present and letting go—drawn from the practices of history’s greatest spiritual leaders. All proceeds from the book benefit Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, Schmidt’s nonprofit, where she teaches The Practice. Below, she shares insight into her book.
PBI: What inspired you to write this book?
The benefits of The Practice in my life and in the lives of those who attended my workshops and meditation groups were so profound and life-changing that I wanted to share my experiences for living a peaceful life—inside and out—with as many others as possible. I knew that having a book would make that goal possible; my deep desire is for all beings to know their value, strength and magnificence. Many people in my workshops as well as friends had asked me to put The Practice tools in writing, and, of course, I happily complied by writing this book.
How did you come to develop The Practice?
I've spent 30 years on my own spiritual journey and I have taken all that I have learned and developed an easy-to-implement framework around which we can schedule our day to make time for spiritual practices in our daily life. Each specific part of The Practice, such as meditation and the sacred mantra, are drawn from the teachings of many incredible teachers and spiritual traditions. These are all time-honored techniques for living a peaceful life that people on the spiritual path have been doing for thousands of years. I've structured these activities in such a way that anyone can set an intention to spend a few minutes throughout the day to make their ordinary life extraordinary.
How personal is this book to you?
This book is my life's work, so it is very personal to me. I have been following this three-part daily guide the way it is presented in my book for nearly two decades. However, these practices have been part of my life since I began my spiritual quest in earnest over 30 years ago. Also, in the preface, I share some really intimate experiences that led me on this quest to find inner peace and happiness. So from the time I found myself struggling in life to when I found myself comfortable and confident inside and out, it's all in there. It truly is an authentic representation of who I am and how I go about my daily life.
Can you give an example of an exercise incorporated into The Practice?
A five-minute morning meditation—just sitting with yourself—is the first "exercise" of the day. When we start the day grounded and connected within, it makes all the difference in the world. Once we get connected inside, there really is no stopping us. I like to refer to this part of the day in The Practice as "wake up and stop." It sounds so contrary to all we've been told (it's the opposite of "Get up and go!"), but this quiet time that you set aside for yourself before engaging the outside world actually helps prepare you to greet the day with your body, mind and heart in alignment. In other words, all parts of you are on the same page, which makes for a smoother day ahead.
What words do you live by?
“The spiritual life is not separate from your real world; it is your real world.”