“A tree that reaches past your embrace grows from one small seed.
A structure over nine stories high begins with a handful of earth.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”
(Dao Te Ching 64)
What inner peace does it mean to you? How did you start searching for your inner peace?
My journey started with an understanding of my place in the world. Inner peace is not based on me changing the world but on me changing myself. When you try to change others or changing the world, you feel exhausted and disillusioned.
The search starts with who you are. Do not look to become someone else. Many people search for enlightenment or wish to become monks by purchasing programs and books and getting certified into different fields they do not understand. They still feel an inner conflict. However, finally, they realize they still cannot find inner peace.
For many, daily life is about competition, confrontation, doing more, fear of not being good enough at work, home, parents, and lovers. The work-life is stressful. The marriage is stressful. The kids’ needs are not met; therefore, more stress. The life we live is uncertain, and the economy is in trouble. The future is uncertain. There is a constant struggle between the life we wish to live and the life we are living. We live in a conflict between what we want and what we need.
All these are hard to control and predict. On the other hand, we can control ourselves. We can control what enters our minds, hearts, and mouth—taking responsibility for our own lives, having goals and a plan of action.
A shift in our attitude can lead to inner peace in the present moment. We can take effective action by seeing the larger patterns, moving beyond competition to cooperation, harmonizing with the natural principles underlying all existence from the smallest cell to the most significant social organism.
How can you take responsibility for your life right now? Self-assess all the areas of your life where you struggle.
Think about the following statements:
- My body breaks down. It’s full of tension. I cannot sleep at night. I often have pains and aches. I get easily injured, I crave sugar, alcohol, drugs, I feel ugly, I am fat, I’m too old, I’m too weak, I have no strength or power.
- I do not have enough time. I’m stressed at work, too much tension, I am insecure, I’m in a rat race, I cannot give up my work because I have to pay the bills, I’m anxious, I’m bored and uninspired, my boss manipulates me, nobody understands and respects me.
- I’m not confident in my relationship. I feel angry. I am not understood, I am taken for granted, I’m jealous, I am fearful.
- In my family, I do not have enough time. I’m overworked. I am not appreciated. It’s too much work, and nobody helps me.
- I have no money, too many bills. I have no money left for the holidays. I’m guilty if I spend something for myself. I have too many obligations.
- I’m confused. I do not have enough time to do what I love. I tried million times, and nothing worked. I am trapped. I rather please others than myself. I am not good enough. I’m depressed. I procrastinate. If I do something for myself, I feel guilty. I’m worried about tomorrow. I worry about political issues and health issues. The pollution is too much—too many killings. I cannot do anything right. I have no power to change anything.
All the statements above can make everyone go insane. However, it is not a peaceful place to live. The statements above turn people into powerless, defensive, and blaming others. No matter what conflict you have right now, shift your attitude or change the glasses you see the world through. It’s not about the situation you are in but the way you look at it.
Humans are an integral part of nature and can only function properly when in balance. No matter our religious background, nationality, or race, we learn to think holistically by respecting nature and the life cycles. Learning that change is natural, you will learn to live through the cycles of change. Change and conflict are natural parts of life cycles. Life has many options. Flow with change, get creative and resourceful. Focus on solutions as a development rather than problems. Solving problems is the path to enlightenment.
“Wise people seek solutions;
The ignorant, only cast blame.”
(Dao Te Ching 79)
In far too many interpersonal and international conflicts, people become so busy blaming others and defending their egos that they forget to solve the problem.