Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
July 14, 2014
Today is the perfect day for me to write my list, as I go back to school in two days, and the students return in seven. It is the time of year when I most need to be at peace with myself. Having either been a student and/or a teacher most of my life, the end of summer has almost always had a calming effect on me. I am more grounded, more centered, more positive. And until recently, my inner peace would creep inside my soul without so much as a clue as to how and when it arrived. Now however, I am beginning to recognize and understand the characteristics of my inner peace so that I may practice letting it spill over into my everyday self.
In the past two years, I have been able to identify five essential elements of inner peace. These pieces of the puzzle have often been within my personality, two or three at a time. I recognize however, that I must be able to manifest all five of the traits in order to fulfill my inner peace. Nothing can bring me peace but myself,thus, I am responsible for making sure that all of the pieces fall into place.
Five Essential Elements of Inner Peace
1. Live in the Present. This is the most difficult of all the elements to accomplish, for myself and I suspect for most people. We look back fondly, we wax nostalgic, and we hold tight to our memories. We also regret. Looking back and remembering is fine, as long as we do not live in the past. Living in the past only serves to magnify our errors, our missteps. Then, we begin to regret and our lives in the present become a series of, “How can I make-up to (blank) for my mistakes?” You can fill in the blank with my spouse, my children, my family, myself. Regret robs us of our present. More importantly, it robs us of our inner peace.
Similarly, putting too much focus on the future robs us as well. Planning for your future is a good thing. However, if you find yourself constantly putting off until tomorrow what you can do today, your focus is not in the present. When you lead your life according to what-if’s, “What if I get in an accident?”, “What if my husband leaves me?”, “What if I don’t get that job?”, you become paralyzed, afraid to let life happen. Live in the present, that is the only place you will find inner peace.
2. Embrace Change. Change is inevitable. In fact, the only thing we can count on is change and we cannot control that. Having no control over changes in life is frustrating for many of us. Change after change after change, with no control, is likely to have our lives spinning out of control. When we resist change, we become stuck in the past and inner peace remains elusive. Do not resist change, embrace it. Growth is never possible without change. Besides, if you are not happy with today’s change, just wait, it is likely to change tomorrow.
3. Be Still. In today’s hustle and bustle, we oftentimes forget to stop and smell the roses, we forget to be still. Being constantly on the move affords us no time, no space to re-connect with our higher being. God, the Creator, Allah, the Supreme Being, whatever your choice, if you believe in something or someone greater than yourself, you must make time to honor that connection. To pray, to meditate, to be silent, to be still. If we keep a constant dialogue going on in our head, we are not doing enough listening. We have our epiphanies, our moments of clarity when we are still. It is also where we begin to find our inner peace.
4. Simplify your life. The more simple your life, the happier you are likely to be and the more likely you are to find your inner peace. I will use mathematical equations for my analogy. There are two types of mathematical equations, simple and complex. A simple equation, for example 1+1=2, requires little to no energy to solve. We do not have to put forth much effort or use up much of our time to get our answer. However, a complex equation, for example , requires a lot more of our thought, our energy, and our time. Simple equation, simple solution. Complex equation, complex solution. The same is true in life. When our lives become too complex, it requires more of our thought, more of our energy, and more of our time. We become drained and are less likely to put much effort into seeking inner peace because we are too busy looking for a little peace and quiet.
5. Forgive. Not an easy thing to do for some of us. As with everything else in our quest for inner peace, what we have in our heart, will show in our lives. If you harbor resentment, hold a grudge, refuse to forgive, it will manifest a negative energy within you. Think about it, we hold our resentments and our grudges in the same place we hold our souls, within ourselves. Living so close together, our resentment is bound to seep into our soul. Our soul becomes that which surrounds it. Surround your soul with forgiveness and your soul will be filled with mercy. And when your soul is filled with mercy, you are more likely to find the inner peace you are seeking.
These five elements are just the beginning. Our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle. We each have all of the pieces that we need in order to complete the beautiful picture that is on the front of the box. Once we fit all of the pieces together, we can begin to live the life we were meant to live. We will begin to live a peaceful existence once the pieces of peace are in place. Peace, ~v.