I have always had a picture of inner peace in my mind. It has changed over the years, but what remained the same is that I thought it was a destination.
I always thought inner peace was something I would arrive at. It was on the other side of achievement in my mind and always just out of my reach.
There was a point when I thought inner peace would be a relationship. I got into one and we fought as much as we loved. It wasn’t peaceful. It was challenging and painful, at times.
Then, I thought money would bring me inner peace. I chased salaries, put in hard work and bought all the things that I thought would make me happy. Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I felt happy and I enjoyed myself. I have nothing against money and success nor relationships. But, they still weren’t the source of inner peace.
As I kept searching, I went inside and then I had the Eat, Pray, Love version of Inner Peace. I thought I needed to visit a monk who would teach me how to find peace. I devoured books. I longed to sit on a mountain with nothing but my thoughts. Meditation does help with nurturing inner peace, but there is more than one way to quiet your mind.
It took until now for me to understand that Inner Peace is not a person, place or thing. It’s not a destination. It’s not a reward for good behavior. It’s not on a mountain.
It’s a choice in how you see what is happening right now. And, how you choose to see it in each passing minute.
Are you in a hostile environment or a loving environment?
Are people for you or against you?
Now, more than ever, if you don’t know how to find inner peace, the stressors of the world will have you in chaos daily. Unless you understand what you are seeing for what it is and do not make it a personal attack against you.
You have to stop using what you see as proof for what you negatively believe about yourself and the world. You can’t see the positive because you’re not looking for it.
When I watch the reality shows and the women are on vacation and they are arguing and throwing drinks at one another, my first thought is why would you go on vacation with someone you don’t like unless you wanted to ruin your vacation? You are in a beautiful place and you chose someone who makes you unhappy to share it with. Are you choosing your misery?
I go for the feel-good option when I have a choice and I realize that I always have a choice even if it takes me some time to make the change.
I don’t indulge in arguments. I don’t need to prove my point. I don’t feel the need to be around people who demand me to think, feel and act a certain way. Even if I am judging a situation, I have no investment in the people changing. I don’t need to control what happens outside of myself.
Inner peace is really choosing how you want to feel. If you focus on things that make you feel bad, then you are not aiming to feel peaceful. You have a million reasons to feel bad to choose from, there is only ever one reason to feel good.
It’s simply because you choose to.
It doesn’t mean you stick your head in the sand and put on blinders to what is happening in the world, it just means after you notice it and feel a bad feeling, but you choose not to stay there and wallow in it. You choose not to let it ruin your day. You choose not to let it mean anything more than what it is on the surface.
“True and lasting inner peace can never be found in external things. It can only be found within. And then, once we find and nurture it with ourselves, it radiates outward.” Buddha
Instead, you reset your focus and tell yourself something good until you feel better. As you move through the rest of your day, notice what you get upset and angry about. Notice who you vent to. Is it someone who makes you feel more peaceful or someone who nurtures your bad feelings and stokes your anger? Do your choices bring you more peace or more chaos?