“Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.” ~Unknown
Like many people, I lived my life for a lot of years failing to understand inner peace is a choice. I am not sure what I thought. Perhaps I didn’t believe anyone could feel a lasting peace inside. I did know that my own feelings of peace have been always transitory.
There were many ups and downs in my life, too many claims on my time and too many difficult situations to be dealt with. I think I actually believed inner peace could only be achieved by monks and saints, or anyone living a reclusive life who didn’t have to deal with everyday struggles.
I was stuck in a world of confusion, wondering how peace could be mine when there was always something, some drama going on in my own life or the lives of those I loved.
In fact, it seemed to me that the whole world was filled with stuff, mostly negative stuff, which I read about in the newspaper, saw on the television, or heard from someone I knew.
It was the kind of stuff that pulls at your emotions—the breaking news story of a missing woman being found murdered, the tragedy of a child being killed by a hit and run driver, the numbers of homeless people tripling, and a devastating Tsunami killing thousands and paralyzing a country.
In my own personal life too, my emotions dipped and peaked along with how much control I felt I had over my own happiness. I literally felt like a puppet on a string, and asked myself over and over again, “How can I feel a constant inner peace in my heart and life when my emotions see-saw up and down according to what is happening in and around me?”
Looking back, I know I believed that my emotions were important. After all, wasn’t being emotional an essential part of being alive? Emotions made me feel real and allowed me to extend empathy to everyone else.
But in the deepest part of myself, I did not feel good most of the time. I longed to not be so emotional. I wanted to be released from all the conflict in my life—to not react to other people’s words and anger, to feel serenity in my heart.
It was an almost desperate need to alter or to stop the negative cycle of events which seemed to dominate my relationships and my life.
I believe it was that intention which kept on surfacing in my mind and in my heart that fueled my spiritual search and led me to discover a more peaceful way to live, despite the conflict in my life. I know that as the months and years went on I became more determined to change the way I was living.
It was a few years ago now—when I finally felt a peace inside that did not come and go along with my emotions or the drama in my life.