How Do You Say Hello to Inner Peace?
Good question. To say hello to inner peace you must rid yourself of the inner deafening noise. How? Through the twin powers of Gratitude and Being Present.
Gratitude as a Way to Inner Peace
First, let’s take on gratitude. There is one person you are almost never grateful to. You have ignored her efforts, minimized her triumphs and magnified her failures. Plus, you have criticized and mentally attacked her relentlessly, destroying her inner peace. And finally, you have overlooked and banished her most pressing questions and issues, and second-guessed her decisions.
That person is you.
You would never talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself. Doubting, questioning, critiquing, minimizing. I could go on and on about what you do to yourself. Wallowing in self-pity, resentment, and bitterness from the past while harboring fears for the future. We all have an inner critic who has perfected negative self-talk, a dark way of thinking that turns on us.
Yet, we all say that what we want most of all is to be happy and have inner peace. And to be free from that inner critic. But at times the state of inner peace seems impossible to achieve for longer than a few fleeting moments.
But I’ve Tried a lot of Methods…
Yes you have. We try yoga, prayer, meditation, self-help workshops and yet the gains we get in terms of our inner peace and serenity seem fleeting. As if on a looped tape, regrets about the past and fears for the future come back to run us ragged. Our minds can get hopelessly stuck on a negative groove that causes suffering. Great suffering.
In the face of all the sewage of ain’t-it-awful self-talk with its resultant stress and anxiety, we need a big-time force to help us on a daily basis. Something powerful enough to allow us to handle the sharp thorns of life with acceptance, right action, and yes inner peace. We need something powerful enough to help us to enjoy the many (yes, many!) roses strewn our way.
The Spiritual Path to Inner Peace
Yet, there is “something” that has worked to alleviate suffering and create inner peace for thousands of years. It is the willingness to be open to the spiritual dimension. Or put another way you have to recognize that:
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The attitude that I try to take daily is that although I am housed in a body I am really made of spirit. And that spirit is part of a Higher Power (HP), the God of my understanding. My spiritual practice therefore is to remember this simple reality and with it I believe comes being enveloped by greater serenity.
That inner peace is available to us even when we turn to an HP that we can’t or don’t understand. If you are simply willing to try such an approach in a steady day-by-day way you will experience relief from your resentments, pain, and upset; a balm for your spirit; and a renewed faith in life and love.
Does the idea of God turn you off?
Maybe the idea of “God” turns you off. You may think of yourself as an agnostic, atheist, or rationalist. If so, the only thing I want you to to do for a moment is to have a little willingness. Willingness to consider that more is going on that your senses and even science can identify.
Let’s look at a few examples. Perhaps you’ve heard certain music that sent you to another dimension of bliss. Or quasi-mystical experiences with wildlife or places in Nature that bring you soaring spiritual feelings. Or you have noticed synchronicities. You get a gut feeling that a particular event, like bumping into an old best friend, is going to happen, and there she is right in the middle of the street in a bustling city. These experiences suggest that there are many things happening that are beyond our awareness and understanding. And just maybe a power or force underlies all there is to which we are all connected as One.
Practice Being Present as a Way to Inner Peace
Here is an easy way to plug into Something beyond yourself and the inner peace and joy that it brings.
Find a quiet and beautiful place outside in nature where you can sit or lie down. Focus your attention on a flower, a tree, or any other plant that attracts you. If you can arrange it, lie down underneath a tree or large plant and look up at it. This will give you an open, innocent, and childlike perspective. If you can’t lie down, simply sit in silence to do this exercise.
Breathe in and out to the count of three, imagining that you are inhaling the essence of that flower or plant and exhaling good will or love toward it. Continue breathing and being mindful for a few minutes until you feel a shift in your consciousness towards calmness and inner peace. You will be amazed at the results.
Then you will feel the gratitude of which the great poet E.E. Cummings wrote:
“I thank you God[dess] for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” ~
And if you want to practice another quick way to be in the present moment sign up for a Daily Love Affirmation.