Inner peace is something that I have come to expect of and for myself. I do not function very well without it. It has become part and parcel of who I am, which means that I find healthier ways to meet my needs and cope - to follow my intuition.
As a spiritual being I feel I have achieved some inner peace. This means I have taken certain steps to let go of the things that aren't working for me anymore (behaviors, thoughts and patterns) and cultivate behaviors that do. It means that I take responsibility for my actions being proactive rather reactive. It means sublimating ego and reaching for those places within myself to manifest the greater good.
I'm not saying it has been an easy journey. I have to work on a daily basis to keep it. And I don't always achieve it.
Inner peace is a process. A process of allowing myself to be human, but at the same time embracing a higher consciousness.
I try and start each day with an affirmation, meditation or a prayer. This sets the tone for my day. It reminds me that as I go about the business of doing, I am still a sentient being with a great purpose: It is to work for the greater good of myself and others.
This involves the practice of mindfulness, reminding myself to be present in the moment. And it isn't always easy because life has many distractions.
I have to pull myself back and redirect my thoughts many times in a day. But it is the awareness that I need to do this that helps me stay centered and at peace. I try and take some time during the middle of the day to be quiet and disengage myself from all the background noise.
There is a sacred place, a garden where I work, where I can go and jettison some of the energy I have absorbed from people and situations and just be.
I often visit parks in the afternoon. I go to feel a cool afternoon breeze, to be awakened to the deeper person within me. I meet myself there in that place.
I can start the day over if I need to. I can reset my intentions. I can look at decisions I’ve made out of fear or anger and make some course corrections. I can also acknowledge the things that are working and celebrate those things. That way I don’t feel as though fate is tilted in one direction and I am at the mercy of everything outside me.
I ask questions of myself daily, such as: "Is it really important for me to get involved in this situation? Can I be the better person? If I express my anger, will this person hear what I have to say?"
I look for the solution rather than stay in the problem. It is a practice. The more you question your motives, the more you will begin to opt for the more peaceful solution. Why? It feels good. And who doesn't want to feel good? I think most of us do.
I have a little game I play with myself. It is called “Notice the Sunset.” I take a few minutes around dinnertime to watch the sun fade away on the horizon. I say “thank you for the gift of today.” It helps me remain grateful for all of them, good and bad.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not just human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
That resonates and ups the ante for me, raising the bar. It gives me something to reach for as a spiritual person. I try to "walk the walk and talk the talk." Yes, I have a ways to go, but at least I can say I've achieved a modicum of inner peace.
Lucie Scheuer has worked in the recovery field for 20 years and is executive director of Phoenix Counseling Center, providing alcohol, drug and mental health services to adults, adolescents and families in the Rogue Valley. Send 600 to 700 word Inner Peace articles to Sally McKirgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.