“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Evita Ochel on finding your inner peace. Evita is is the founder and editor of EvolvingBeings.com.
According to Wikipedia, inner peace, (or “peace of mind”), is “a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress.” What a wonderful place to be.
I asked Evita to share her best lessons learned on finding and living with inner peace. I know a lot of people that will greatly benefit from her wisdom on this topic, and I know Evita has plenty of precious insight to share.
Without further ado, here is Evita on finding and living with inner peace …
Many people today are feeling the great change on our planet. The conditions are ripe for awakening to a higher state of consciousness than we have previously known as humanity, on both a personal and collective level. In the midst of this, we have seen what seems like an exponential increase in self-help and personal development resources, especially over the past couple of decades.
As we aim for increased abundance, efficiency or success, we cannot dismiss that the foundation for the most meaningful life comes from something else. This something else cannot be taught or received in the typical sense of the word. It can be inspired or exemplified by others, but ultimately it has to come from within you as a state of being. This is the greatest aspect that differentiates it from the most common personal growth topics. It does not come from a state of doing, but rather from a state of being. What we are talking about here is living from a state of inner peace.
For some whose interests revolve around action and achievement, the thought of inner peace may quite frankly sound boring. It may appear as taking the docile approach or being inactive to what life offers. Ironically, inner peace is anything but docile or boring. Although I feel it is our natural state of being, it takes great courage, discipline and effort to foster, and live out at all times in our modern society. To help explain this further, I will share with you some tips of what I found has worked for me when it comes to making inner peace a state of being from which to live.
Tip #1. Realize You Have Nothing To Prove
Regardless of whether you had a tough childhood, a sibling rivalry, or you measure your worth based on the success of others, each of us tends to have experience in living like we need to prove something. What makes this worse, is that often this driving force can sabotage our life by being completely unconscious. Many of us are very good at convincing ourselves that motivation and ambition are the spice of life, and anything that seems opposite to that is lazy or lifeless. Some people go after a certain career to prove something to their family. Some acquire products to prove something to their friends. Some participate in a certain activity to prove something to themselves. Whatever the action may be, it tends to create a lot of turmoil, pressure and/or anxiety within us.
There is nothing inherently wrong with being motivated to do something. It simply all depends what is the driving force behind that motivation. This life, this race, this game or however you see it, is only and always with yourself. It is about your personal evolution, not anyone else’s. There is nothing to prove to anyone, not even yourself. We all reach the finish line and along the way we all create, express and experience ourselves. The sooner we realize that and make it real in our lives, the more inner peace we attain. Know that you are everything and you can do anything. Therefore, it would be more valuable to put your efforts into creating for the sake of expressing yourself as an infinite being, rather than creating for the sake of proving some final outcome. You are magnificent regardless of what you do, or do not do. Inner peace comes from finding the joy along the way no matter what you are doing, rather than suffering along the way in hopes of reaching some elusive, final happy place.
Tip #2. Learn To Be Still
I find that a big challenge of living from a space of inner peace is that many of us do not allow for the right environment to nurture it, due to the constant noise in our lives. Our minds are on, all the time. Most of us spend the majority of our days in physically noisy environments. To make matters worse, most of us are caught up in a perpetual state of doing. There is always something to do, and there is never enough time. This is the opposite of what inner peace is all about.
This is why learning to be still is one of the central tenets of achieving inner peace. Although it would seem like an easy task to be still or be in silence, the actuality is far from it. This is why as I stated in the introduction, attaining and living with inner peace is not some easy or boring task. It takes discipline and an active creation on one’s part to live beyond the norm of modern-day society. This can make life very exciting and rewarding.
To experience inner peace, we need to have stillness in our life to at least have the chance to consciously “be” with whatever turmoil may be going on within us. When we are running around and “busy” all the time, it is too easy to dismiss or ignore what our inner being is asking for, or trying to tell us. Therefore, the path to inner peace needs to include a balance of some stillness and silence. Reflect on, process and clear out what does not serve you consciously, so you are not living from it unconsciously.
Tip #3. Forgive For Your Peace of Mind
I will never forget when I had the great realization in my life that forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person, but is actually a gift we give ourselves. So many people still live with the notion that they will not, or cannot forgive another, for whatever the other may have said or done. In actuality all this means is that they are refusing to forgive themselves, thereby creating pain and tension in their own life.
The key ingredient for peace-filled relationships is forgiveness. When I speak about forgiveness, I am not talking about it from any religious perspective, but from a look beyond and let go of perspective. This becomes easier when we understand that no one ever does anything wrong given their model of the world, and that most people live from a habitual place of unconscious words and actions. From that perspective, how can we find fault or blame in someone who does not realize what they are doing? This is where seeing beyond the word or action helps. One person in the relationship must have more clarity, or more emotional maturity, or simply more consciousness to see beyond what may have been said or done. Deep down, we are love and we want love. Inner peace comes from recognizing that and not holding onto any word or deed expressed by another.
Tip #4. Master the Art of Allowing
Various authors and teachers talk about the art of allowing. Some people have heard about it, some get it, while others yet may find the concept completely foreign. Mastering allowing means letting each person be as they are. Naturally, this is very difficult for us to do as it seems our nature is rooted in wanting to change and control people. We learn this firsthand from our parents, who seem to think they always know what is best for us, and how or what we should be. Very few people grow up fortunate enough to have had parents who allowed for freedom of expression, while being supportive guides along the way, rather than entities who seem to think they own us. As we get into relationships, we then model this behavior on our loved ones. Although it can spill onto our friends, our family members seem to get the worst of the brunt.
What confuses many people about allowing is making it synonymous with tolerating. Mastering the art of allowing means that we respect each person’s right to self expression, but it may include us not being part of that expression. For example, if I had a partner who smoked and I did not want smoking to be a part of my life, there are numerous ways I could approach the situation to maintain a level of inner peace. Starting from clear, honest communication about how and why I feel a certain way, which may be enough for the person to realize that this is not actually a habit they are consciously choosing, or re-evaluating why I feel as I do and whether I want to sacrifice the quality of the relationship over it, to temporary or permanent removal of myself from the situation. Bottom line we have choices in every moment to act from a place of inner peace, or cause ourselves and others turmoil, pain and suffering. The choice is always ours.
Tip #5. Know That Everything is Perfect
I find this last tip the most challenging to explain, and for people to put into practice. When we look around at our world today, very few would exclaim that everything is perfect. I mean look at us. Regardless of where we live, wars, turbulent economies, job losses, illness, famine, poverty and weather cataclysms, paint the backdrop for life on our planet today.
Despite all this, there is something so sacred about the state of the world and our lives. Some people get a glimpse of it at times, and know the deep value of the phrase, “everything happens for a reason”. In the midst of what society calls a crisis or disaster, naturally this is hard to see. And yet, the more we live in a state of true inner peace, the more we look at the world through the eyes of perfection. Normally, none of us know the bigger reason for why something has happened to someone, a group of people or geographical area. This makes a lot of people want to be activists and stand up or fight for some group or cause. It may seem noble, but often all we are doing is identifying ourselves with some future outcome which we believe is better than the now. This does not mean that we should just sit back and do nothing, for clearly a lot of people are hurting and can benefit from our help. Yes, go out and do what you feel your heart calling you to do by all means, but make sure you do not attempt to impose your will on another or think you know what is best for them. Act from a space of personal expression, rather than personal identification. Attachment to, or a strong identification with something brings inner turmoil, anxiety or pain, for we live from a state of fear for self or others. In the end, you are not technically saving anyone, but evolving yourself through choices of personal expression.
What makes this more challenging is that we need to have a certain amount of inner peace to see the world and all that takes place as a perfect state of things. Inner peace drives external perfection, and external perfection drives more inner peace. The two are intricately linked together, where normally as we attain one, we attain the other.
I know in my life, nothing tastes or feels as good, as living with inner peace. It immediately changes your perspective on everything, giving your life a different pace and meaning. Therefore knowing how good it feels, it is my intention to inspire others to create the same in their life. As I mentioned above, no one can teach you inner peace, or give it to you. Yes, you can read about it and hear about it, but ultimately it has to be your choice and come from within you in all that you are, and all that you do.
Inner peace is a lifelong choice. It is a choice we have the opportunity to make over and over again. This is the other thing that I find so exciting about it. Life is always giving us many opportunities to practice it, in every possible context. You are constantly evolving your mastery of living with inner peace.
In the end, it may sound cliché, but we really need to be the change we wish to see. Instead of changing the external to get what we desire, look within yourself and be the joy, happiness and peace you may be seeking.
Evita Ochel, B.Sc., B.Ed., CHN – is the founder and editor of EvolvingBeings.com – an online publication to awaken and inspire people to grow in consciousness and connect with a heart-centered way of life. She is also a nutritional science expert, and the author of the newly released book Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition, as well as the editor of EvolvingWellness.com – an online publication featuring numerous resources to help people attain optimal health and wellness.