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.
Spiritual masters have taught a variety of methods for achieving inner peace. Some methods are used as needed. Others are life-long daily practices that cultivate peaceful states of mind.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” - Buddha.
The Buddha believed that one achieves peace of mind, or equanimity, by detaching from the cycle of passions and craving. This ongoing cycle creates suffering and the feeling that your life is unsatisfactory.
He taught several methods for achieving equanimity.
Meditation is a common tool for finding inner peace. What often happens with meditation, though, is that it feels good at the time and perhaps for a while afterwards. 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. However, when practiced regularly, positive changes occur in the brain and state of being. Long-time meditators are less reactive and better able to cope with distressing situations.
The prophets and teachers recorded in the Bible had much to say about finding inner peace.
The contentment Paul speaks of doesn't mean that he didn't feel the full range of human emotions. It is healthy to feel and acknowledge emotions and what they are telling you. It does mean that at your core, you have a deep sense of contentment and ease as your foundation. You may become temporarily reactive or tense, but you bring yourself back to center by purposely reconnecting with your core. Once you have felt this core of peace and recognize that it is always there, you can get back in touch with it at will. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that love and peace is the 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. Peace is already within us.
The problem is, we have been taught 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 profound happened. I didn't realize it at the time, but by removing the blocks to peace within, how I would experience my life would forever change, even while circumstances remained 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.
Let me explain...
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, practicing gratitude for and in all things changed my life. 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 indescribable. 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 the EFT process called the personal peace procedure. In this 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, choose one or two items to tap on daily until the list is finished.
Doing this process helped me surface and resolve anger toward myself and others. As I worked through the list, my natural state of calm and peace were able to surface. I became much less reactive and judgmental toward myself and others.
A big part of my journey to finding inner peace also included forgiveness. Being willing to forgive oneself and others is essential if you are serious about healing and cultivating inner peace.
The last part of my quest of finding inner peace has been multifaceted and ongoing. It includes truly learning to love and accept myself and others and releasing dearly-held beliefs that no longer serve the highest good. Knowing how much the latter would change my life, I resisted for too long. The result was a chaotic midlife crisis that probably could have been avoided.
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 reveal its amazing presence.
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 12/2020Source: The Pursuit of Happiness: Buddha