Inner Peace: By Catherine J. Larkin — Inner peace is wed to acceptance.

Inner peace is wed to acceptance. This can be a hard lesson to embrace. Yet resist as we do, surrender to "what is" offers the completely reliable doorway to peace in any circumstance. To our amazement, it can also provide the next step to whatever needs to unfold. This is a truth that has to be discovered over and over again.

It's so easy to have an image of what peace looks like and then try to achieve that. This is a formula for failure. Peace requires no image. Peace cannot be achieved. The "peace that passeth all understanding" is a gift of God. Or to use non-theistic language, peace is an expression of our essential nature. So it's when our personal minds and wills give way to a deeper reality that we know peace.

Looking for peace in the mind and emotions is like going to a carnival and looking for a sanctuary. Trying to control the mind and emotions or escape them is futile. Like a gerbil running in a wheel, the action is frantic and leads nowhere. Anyone who has meditated and tried to still the mind quickly learns just how little control we have on the endless stream of thinking. This voice in the head continually captures our awareness, holding us hostage to its endless commentary, robbing us of our birthright of simply Being. So we become human doings, driven by thoughts, emotions and bodily needs.

In truth, the main impediment to peace is not outer conditions, but inner conditioning. That is, our beliefs, interpretations, judgements, reactivity, and the tensions held in our bodies — these are what prevent us from Being in peace. As our attention becomes more centered on the divine presence, then the layers of worldly conditioning can begin to fall away. We begin to wake up and remember who we are in truth.

To return to the carnival analogy, riding a merry-go-round can be fun, but eventually we become tired and dizzy. We want the spinning to stop. We want to go home. Yet resisting the carnival only adds to our distress. Acceptance is the ticket to the stillness we now yearn for. The challenge is that our personalities are driven by resistance and trying to make things happen the way we want. Acceptance is not an action the personality can succeed at. Acceptance arises when we finally stop resisting and attempting to control. This surrender allows the feverish activity of our gerbil like ego to cease. Acceptance offers the magic portal to the center — where its partner, peace, resides.

The periphery of our life is endless motion. Even as that merry-go-round spins, we can move our awareness deeper, toward the unmoving center from which peace emerges. Our awareness naturally gets caught up in the noise and activity of the carnival — both the outer carnival of the world and the inner carnival of our minds. Yet we can practice allowing our awareness to become more sensitive to what always persists beneath the surface drama of our lives. Peace, like a great underground river, flows from the center. Even a little movement inward from the busyness at the surface creates more space for peace.

I love the mystical description of the divine reality: "God is as a circle whose circumference is nowhere, and whose center is everywhere." As we awaken to that divine center we can know peace in whatever circumstance life brings. I close with the traditional Christian greeting which expresses this simply and beautifully: "Peace be with you."

Catherine J. Larkin, M.A., facilitates the Hellinger Family Constellation work and Power of Presence support groups, which draw on her 22 years of experience with the Diamond Heart Teaching of A.H. Almaas. Contact her at www.healingthefamilytree.com, catherinejanelarkin@yahoo.com or 482-8291.See inner peace columns at www.dailytidings.com search box: inner peace. To submit a 650 to 700 word article on inner peace, e-mail your submission or questions to Sally McKirgan at innerpeace@q.com.