What is inner peace and why are we searching for it? Whether we know it consciously or not, one of our deepest longings as human beings is to have inner peace.
What do I mean by that? This is a state of feeling well and at ease, no matter what our circumstances. Actually, inner peace is our default state of mind: it requires no special circumstance. We may think we want certain events to happen in our lives, but what we really want is the feelings we think those things would bring us Ė feelings of fulfillment and inner peace.
The truth is that we can have peace within, even if our lives appear to be in a state of turbulence. We may not always feel joyful in the midst of something difficult, but we can cultivate a habit of inner peace. Yes, inner peace is a habit, not just something that happens to you if youíre "lucky." It is actually the result of a series of choices that form habits that we cultivate on purpose.
Some of the habits that allow inner peace to grow in you are simply the basic tenets of self-care when you live in a human body. We learn through trial and error that we need a certain amount of sleep each night. We get enough to eat, but we donít intoxicate ourselves with food or drink. We spend a little time alone each day, and a little time reaching out to others. We find a form of exercise that feels like play, so we donít mind doing it every day. All of these habits cooperate with our physical body to lay the groundwork for the peaceful state of mind that is, deep within, our natural state of being.
There are also mental habits that allow us to enjoy inner peace. The most important of these is to pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Do you go around "awfulizing" over everything that happens? Or do you make the opposite mistake of "minimizing" challenges? When something is hard, don't tell yourself it's terrible, unless you want it to be terrible. And don't tell yourself it's nothing, because you don't get inner peace by avoiding your truth. Just tell yourself, "This is hard, but I have the power within me to deal with it, and besides, it will pass."
Another good mental habit is to teach yourself calming slogans. Relax. One thing at a time. One day at a time. I don't have to prove I'm innocent or right. Maybe I can't, but God can. These and other slogans may sound corny to you, at first. But when you get in a tight spot, it helps to have something short and sweet that's easy to remember.
Habits like these serve two functions. They keep you from creating waves at the surface of your life, and they help you navigate the waves that others create, so you can still get where you want to go. With daily practice of these physical and mental habits, you cultivate the inner peace that is your birthright as a spiritual being in a human body.
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