Finding Inner Peace
Accepting Things As They Are
The greatest obstacle to finding inner peace is the belief that there is something wrong with your experience right now or with the way your life is. That is pretty obvious, isn't it! As long as we are searching for an experience other than the one we have, we will never be content in this moment.
If only X were different... if only Y would change... then I could experience more peace.
The underlying belief is that with my current set of thoughts, feelings or circumstances, finding inner peace is not possible.
My peace is dependent on something being different.
So, we try to fix ourselves in different ways. Although it is undeniable that therapy can offer many benefits, there is also a trap to be aware of. By focusing on what is wrong, therapy reinforces the idea that we are in some way broken and incapable of experiencing fulfillment now.
Have you heard the expression "what you resist persists?" By trying to push away the bad stuff or change it into better stuff, we are forever judging this moment as not good enough and therefore postponing our happiness. Whenever there is judgement or resistance we cannot be at peace with ourselves.
Not knowing any better, I also followed this approach for many years. It is a never ending path. If we focus on finding things to fix we will endlessly discover more. And when is the point reached when you think "OK, that is me done... now I can be happy?" Finding inner peace involves giving up searching and deciding to be content exactly as you are now.
I discovered a much simpler way of finding inner peace, right here, right now, in any moment and it involves awareness.
Inner peace does not come from self-improvement, it comes from self-acceptance.
We are programmed with so many beliefs that we never stop to question. For example "Feeling sad is a bad thing." or "There is something wrong with being angry." Who says so? A little voice in your head does. And the truth is that it is NOT the feeling of sadness that robs you of your peace ...it is the little commentator that tells you something is wrong. The amazing thing is that you can experience sadness, depression, anxiety AND feel completely peaceful. If there is no judgement, then what is the problem?
"Before enlightenment I was depressed. Now I continue to be depressed but there is a difference... I am not attached to it any more" - Antony de Mello
Peace is experienced when we allow everything to be as it is without resistance, when we learn to say YES to every experience. How do we achieve that? If you step out of yourself for a moment and objectively watch your own mind you will see what happens.
Say you are feeling down for example. First you are aware of the feeling and then comes the commentary "This is bad.", "Will I never be free of this.", "Everybody seems to be OK except me.", "What on earth is wrong with me" etc.
The feeling in itself isn't that bad. It is the 'story' around the feeling that robs us of our peace.
Awareness is the key
Becoming aware of the commentator creates distance between you and the commentary. When you watch the commentary objectively you are far less involved. Instead of "This is bad" you may say "Aha, there is that crazy little commentator again... that's quite amusing!" Very different experience.
Finding inner peace is not about changing any of the thoughts, feelings or emotions (that would be an endless task) but rather about changing your relationship with your mind. What we understand, we become free of. Through understanding how suffering is created, we become free of it. And if the lack of peace continues, you can allow that to be Ok too!
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