Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
I was sitting in a meditation group earlier this week and was surprised, when the teacher mentioned inner peace, that my response was “I remember that. It was a major part of my life. Where did it go?”
I don’t know how inner peace dropped out of my world. It wasn’t like it was just on the wish-list or even one of my many priorities, it was my foundation.
Inner peace for me is a state of mental stillness. It coincides with emotional calm – an opening of my heart to love and equanimity. There’s also an acceptance of how things are – that no matter what is going on around me, it’s all okay.
It’s a place where I feel so connected with life, that I have the clarity and strength to do the things I need to do in the world – whether it be to make a living, help others, or just get up at 5.00am to feed the cat.
I am not anxious. I am not stressed.
It is a beautiful place.
As I sat in the meditation group and the teacher spoke on about how happiness derived from material things could only be temporary and that true happiness comes from within, all my challenges from the last 12 months cascaded through my mind. I saw all the ways I’d sought external fixes that never lasted. Finally, the lightbulb settled above the thought, “Well, no bloody wonder I’ve found the last year so challenging then”.
In that moment I began reimagining my year through a lens of peace and everything looked so manageable, so ordinary. All those ‘challenges’ lost their drama and their emotional charge.
Now that inner peace is back in my awareness, it’s amazing how quickly I’m bringing it back to life. I seem to be developing a mantra: “I see/hear/feel this but I choose not to react but to respond”.
Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
~ Viktor Frankl
When I’m in the dentist chair – suffocating in a mess of tubes, drills, fingers, eyes, light, rubber – I choose to focus on the tiny screw on the light fixture, and breathe through the discomfort and panic.
When I’m sitting down to start work at home, and the pile driver on the construction site next door begins sending metronomic shudders through my body, I choose to focus on the tiny jade plant in front of me, and breathe through the irritation.
When I’m told that my sister’s PET scan results came back and they’re not good, I choose to focus on having life, right now, and breathe through the anticipation of loss.
I realise it’s early days. I know there will be much forgetting and remembering. I do wonder if I’m not engaging with my feelings, but I know that will come and when it does then I’ll be okay with it.
But, right now, a little peace.