The quest for inner peace

by on 週四, 23 十二月 2010 評論
Inner peace is the presence of calm and harmony within ourselves even when all hell is breaking loose around us. This supposes that we are comfortable with ourselves and true to ourselves and that we have a purpose in life that we believe in. Preserving this peace is a lifetime task.

Such an inner peace does not depend upon other people or external circumstances. The only ones who can take it away from us are we ourselves and the only ones who can restore our lost inner peace are we ourselves.

The inner peace that we are looking for is a state of mind and emotional stability that can co-exist with decline and loss and pain and conflict and failure. Inner peace, peace within ourselves, is the calmness and contentment we experience when we know we are doing the right thing,    even when not succeeding.

Inner peace comes from:

accepting our limitations and living within them;

acknowledging limitations and reaching beyond them when we can; admitting our mistakes and correcting them when we can;

believing in ourselves no matter what others think or say;

heeding our conscience when it warns us of danger;

laughing at the funny things that happen to us;

working hard to meet our responsibilities,

with taking time for rest and play.

Inner peace comes:

when we know we are doing the right thing, even when not  succeeding;

when the value of our lives is not measured by health, wealth or power;

when we stand up for our principles in the face of opposition;

when we are surrounded by pain and distress and know we are not alone;

when our world breaks up, but doesn’t break our resolve to keep going on;

when the world is falling apart, but we are not;

when we are hurting but the pain doesn't make us quit;

when we do something right when everything is going wrong;

when we can blow off steam without blowing up.

Inner peace is preserved:

when we have to slow down but refuse to stop;

when we have something to do and give it all we got;

when we have nothing to do but enjoy ourselves anyway;

when we can enjoy what we can do without regret for what we cannot do.

Inner peace comes from:

trying to do well what we would rather not do, but have to;

having the courage to admit and amend what we have done wrong;

being able to start again tomorrow regardless of what happened today; communing quietly with our inner selves;

not being afraid to say no when we would rather say yes;

dealing honestly and generously with others;

sharing time with another;

clearing the tears from our eyes by wiping the tears in the eyes of others;

having someone to rely on when we can no longer rely on ourselves; giving generously when we would rather be taking

and receiving graciously when we would rather be giving.

Peace only comes when the parties to it finally accept their differences and agree to live with them. You can only make peace with yourself by admitting your limitations, adjusting to the things you cannot change and trying to improve the things you can change.

For me, peace with my disability means: First, I have decided to face the reality squarely and to go on living even with my limitations, however unpleasant or painful they may sometimes be. And secondly, I am determined not to let my limitations stand in the way of doing all I can to realize my abilities, interests and aspirations.

I accept the challenge of living with my limitations, but I refuse to allow myself to be defined by them or to let my life be circumscribed by them. Acceptance of disability, conceived so positively, is really a reaffirmation of life and a dynamic commitment to living as fully as possible.

The remembrance of all I have lost fills me with regret sometimes, but I counter that with gratitude for the time I had it and eagerness to find new things to be grateful for in facing the challenges my limitations present.

Whether or not one believes in a personal God, it is impossible for anyone to face the difficulties of life with dignity and constancy without having a strong philosophy of life, a rule of conduct, a valued purpose of some kind.

The real value of your lives is not measured by how many pounds we can lift or how many things we can buy or how much power you have over others. It is not defined by the success or by the failure of our efforts. It does not depend upon what others think of us.

There is only one set of standards that counts:

how true we are to ourselves;

how closely we adhere to the principles of right and wrong;

how hard we try to do what we should;

how well we make amends for what we should;

how well we treat your enemies as well as our friends;

how much we resist inclinations to give up, to hate, to harm, or to take what is not ours;

how well we stay true to the principles of right and wrong implanted in our hearts.

Sometimes we can be at peace with ourselves only by standing up for what is right even if it means fighting.

It is hard to be at peace with someone who refuses to be at peace with you. But peace is worth the effort. Peace with others is: finding a way to agree with someone who doesn’t agree with you; a kind word to someone unkind to you; shaking hands with someone you’d rather sock; remaining kind when others aren’t; holding on even when others let go; not dominating over those who are weaker than you are, but bending down to raise them up.

Once we have seen what there is to see, we need to close our eyes and reflect or meditate or pray, whatever we want to call it. Once that we see the realities of our positions, we have to discern what we really want. We have choices to make, priorities to set. Perhaps, we have to choose a new lifestyle or change some of the ways we do things. Perhaps we have to reach out to others for direction or assistance.

In a way, we are like heavy smokers. At some point they realize that if they do not quit smoking they may face terrible consequences for their health. Some smokers will decide not to stop smoking. Others will ignore the dangers or dismiss them.  It is their choice.

We too have to make decisions. Every day we should close our eyes, as it were, and reflect upon where we are, where we want to go, and what we have to do or not do to get there.

Image by B.V.

Robert Ronald

Bob was among the most prolific writers of eRenlai. He passed away peacefully on January 2 2009 in Taipei. A tribute to his life and his work can be found here on eRenlai: http://www.erenlai.com/index.php/en/focus/2011-focus/bob-ronald-challenged-but-not-disabled

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