I’ve been toying with the idea of whether or not I have inner peace. It’s elusive when I concentrate on practicing it, and I’m beginning to think that pursuit of it isn’t the goal…HAVING it is. There are steps I can take to prepare my mind to accept and embrace it though.
Here’s what I thought it was:
Nice house; nice things, outwardly happy family; my needs—more than met, wants—either satisfied or within reach. Nice picture, isn’t it? Looks complete. But why, in the face of all these things, was I still searching for it. The happy image was complete, but instead of inner peace, I was living with a tortured mind.
The financial security didn’t cure my restless heart. My husband’s importance at work was impressive to many, but it wasn’t the key to contentment.
My attempt at possessing exquisite external beauty (physical or environmental) didn’t counter the ugliness of internal unrest. Nothing in the outside world could stabilize my turmoil. Not even drinking or the substance abuse I used as a means of grabbing hold of that elusive anesthetized synthetic peace.
I think I’ve figured out three things that are starting to unburden and subsequently strengthen my inner realm. I think they’re essential and I’m trying to cultivate them: solitude, attitude and gratitude.
SOLITUDE—Of late, the solitude I’ve experienced, due to of a number of factors, has brought me peace. If I’m afraid to just be…with just me, it might mean I have a lot of emotional turbulence to navigate.
I have dedicated a timespace for solitude because I’m finding it’s one of the most important routes to inner peace. If I can sift through distractions, self-deception, noise of the outer world before finding stillness, I just might encounter the perfect place to converse with God. It’s hard, but I am fine-tuning myself to get past the static caused by the right side of the pole.
Even five minutes alone could send some people into a tailspin. When they can’t find the company of others, they try to throw themselves into some other activity. I am learning to appreciate the stillness of occasional seclusion, but I have to be vigilant that it doesn’t become an emerging symptom of the left side of my disorder.
Surpassing chaos allows majesty of the Spirit to be released. My intuition sharpens. My creativity increases. Harmony resounds.
ATTITUDE—I find that two people who endure similar hardships have dissimilar outcomes. One person, whether or not he or she comes out on top, is not devastated by the experience. The other is. The difference is in how the hardships are perceived.
Much of what happens to me is neutral in nature. I’m the one attaching personal meaning to events. Undoubtedly, some of my situations are intensely difficult, but I have the choice to either gain wisdom from them or wallow in the pain.
GRATITUDE—It is half of the conversation I have with God. If I’m not involved in the dialogue…it means I either have a sense of entitlement or a sense of insignificance – both of which are characteristics of ego, and I’m constantly battling that.
I want spiritual equilibrium. I know these essentials influence my experience of the world and its inhabitants. Without them…all outward action is futile. Without them…my disorder would have me in its grasp. With them…I allow God to be in control. I allow his Son to intercede on my behalf. I can easier decree healing.