Finding inner peace within yourself is something so many of us want and so few seem to have. You crave it in your heart and soul, but it's almost like the more you try to have peace of mind the more elusive it seems, especially when the world seems crazy and out of control.
Thoreau said it well when he said, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation..."
If that sounds like you, I invite you to discover what true inner peace is and to read my story of how personal peace revealed itself in my life and how you, too, can experience it for yourself.
When you think of inner peace, what does that mean to you? Often, it is thought of as being in a state of peaceful emotional tranquility and contentment. No matter what is going on in the outside world, you could say, "It is well with my soul" or "all is as it should be" -and the more you can be in this blissful state, the better.
But is this realistic? After all, we live in a chaotic world full of discord and strife, sometimes even in our own homes. Moments of happiness and serenity are interspersed with sorrow and anger and fear. Can you have a sense of inner peace when so much negativity is going on?
The answer is "yes". This happens as a result of having a genuine spiritual practice that nurtures an ongoing sense of wholeness, well-being, and personal evolution. This sense of well-being goes even deeper when your sense of connection extends to all beings and to all that is, beyond yourself and your circle.
Meditation is a common tool of finding inner peace. What often happens with meditation, though, is that it feels good at the time and perhaps for a while afterwards - and then you are jarred back into the challenges of living and the emotions that come with that. The peaceful stillness of meditation is a wonderful feeling, but it doesn't stick.
The Buddha taught one achieves peace of mind, or equanimity, by detaching from the cycle of passions and craving that creates suffering and the feeling that your life is unsatisfactory. One achieves this equanimity by cultivating the mind through meditation, clearing the mind of unwholesome, negative thoughts, and mindfulness - keen attention and contemplation of all things - and showing compassion.
The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians (4:11-13), that no matter what circumstances he found himself, whether he had more than enough or not enough, he was content because he found strength in the Lord.
The contentment Paul speaks of doesn't mean that you don't feel a range of emotions, as an emotionally healthy human, of course you do, but that at your core, you have a deep sense of contentment and ease as your foundation. On the surface you may become temporarily reactive or tense, but you bring yourself back to center by purposely reconnecting with your core. Once you have felt it and recognize that it is always there, you can get back in touch with it by taking a deep breath and telling yourself this truth of your being.
Let me tell you a secret. Of the many lessons I've learned on the path of personal evolution and finding inner peace, this one is key.
The problem is, we have been led to look for peace of mind in the wrong places. Personal peace is not to be had in relationships, stuff, good times, the media, lots of money or anything else. Sure, those things may be fun and make life easier. They may temporarily inspire smiles and feelings of happiness. But they don't point the way to inner peace.
Sometimes, just the opposite is true. Ask any celebrity who achieved wealth and fame only to destroy their lives with drugs and an extreme lifestyle. If you were to believe the hype about chasing your star and wanting money more than anything, shouldn't those living the lifestyle of the rich and famous be the happiest people on earth?
No, finding inner peace is about just that, finding peace within. It is feeling mentally, emotionally and spiritually at ease and centered, even in the midst of difficult situations. It is a state of being from deep inside.
Personal peace is already inside you. It may be buried under years of bitterness and struggle. It may be hiding behind limiting or false beliefs that keep you small and stuck. It may be crowded out by things you thought would make you happy and didn't, but it's still inside you. It is your authentic nature.
I know this from my own experience.
I used to say I was like a duck. I looked serene on the outside, but on the inside I was paddling furiously as I tried to cope with life's troubles. Then something happened that forever changed me even though my circumstances stayed the same. Now, like the duck, my feathers get ruffled sometimes. I get sad and upset and angry, but I can tell it's more on the surface. Deep inside I am paddling placidly along. When I stop the emotional drama I can usually get back in touch with the peaceful self within.
Getting to this point of finding inner peace was a process. Each step I took in my personal peace journey stripped away layers of gunk separating me from finding inner peace. The funny thing was, although I realized I was far from happy at this time, I would have never guessed just how close I was to tapping into my inner joy.
The first step toward personal peace took me to a book by Merlin R. Carothers. I read Prison to Praise in desperation as I was miserably going through a difficult divorce.
From this book I learned the power of expressing gratitude for everything in my life, wanted and unwanted.
Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive, but I have to tell you that practicing gratitude for and in all things changed my life. At first, I began expressing gratitude for unwanted, difficult circumstances even when I had to do it through gritted teeth. But when I did, something miraculous happened. The flow of peace within was so profound it's barely describable. I tell this story in detail here.
The second step toward finding inner peace came several years later as a result of learning a new energy technique called the Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping. As a beginner, I was intrigued by one of the processes called the personal peace procedure.
In the personal peace procedure, you list everything you can think of from childhood to present day that was in the least bit disturbing or traumatic for you. If it crosses your mind, write it down. Once you have your list of 50 or more events, you tap daily on one or two items until the list is finished.
As I tapped through my list and released suppressed and unresolved anger and guilt using EFT, I felt much lighter. My natural state of calm and peace were able to surface. I was also much less reactive and judgmental toward myself and others.
Along with tapping, a big part of my journey to finding inner peace included forgiveness toward myself and others. Being willing to forgive is essential if you are serious about healing and cultivating inner peace.
It is not always easy, but now, when my mind regurgitates negative events or attacks me for poor choices made, I have an arsenal of releasing techniques to choose from. My favorites are still expressing gratitude, EFT tapping, forgiveness, and the powerful ho'oponopono prayer.
When worries about the future surface and upset peace of mind, releasing techniques help as well as practicing presence and focusing on the now with gratitude. It will calm you and connect you once again to the personal peace within. When you are at ease and centered, it is easier to assess situations, be creative, make wise decisions, and do what you need to do to.
The last leg of my quest of finding inner peace has been the ongoing process of letting go of dearly held belief systems and truly learning to love and accept myself and others with as little judgement as possible. Knowing how much this would change my life, I resisted this step for too long. I probably could have avoided a chaotic midlife crisis had I not resisted.
Even so, once I allowed my authentic beliefs to surface and have a voice, incredible peace welled up inside me, even in the midst of turmoil. My truth is that when it comes to life's really big questions, I don't know the answers and probably never will. I do believe that is true wisdom. And I am perfectly okay with that. What a relief!
Are you longing to find inner peace? Know it is right there inside you. When you release what is blocking it, you will feel its amazing presence.
If you are interested in doing the personal peace procedure for yourself, you may want to experiment with techniques such as EFT tapping. One of my favorite resources, the Tapping Solution, contains many audios and videos led by experts who guide you through tapping sequences for a wide variety of stressful thoughts, beliefs and events.
Please note: If you have experienced serious trauma or have a mental condition, self-applying these techniques may not be right for you. Consult with a mental health professional first. Many therapists are trained in EFT and can guide you in using this process in a way that is best for you.
Finding Inner Peace updated 09/2020Source: The Pursuit of Happiness: Buddha