I believe many of us have been searching for and interested in finding peace our whole lives--I know I have.
Funny thing is, I really think I've sabotaged (although not consciously) my own search for peace with my behaviors, my relationship patterns, and by what I mistakenly thought peace would look like and feel like. One of my biggest misunderstandings is that I thought peace was somehow "out there" in my surroundings or in my relationships, instead of within me. Peace was someplace to arrive, rather than a quiet place that was already within me that I just needed to find---an inner knowing that I had to discover and deeply inhabit.
I've learned that no matter what is happening around me, regardless of my circumstances or my current story, I can still choose and inhabit this place of inner peace. This inner knowing is often referred to as The Watcher, The Witness, or The Observer. From this viewpoint, we can begin to understand that our true nature--Love--is much larger than our ego or our humanity. We can seat ourselves in this place of knowing, and be okay--no matter what is happening to us. We can detach and know that all is unfolding in a perfect way for us to learn the lessons before us.
The other day I was reading a excerpt from an Eckhart Tolle interview on Oprah.com, and he was describing some common things that get in our way of being at peace:
- We mistake peace for unconsciousness.
- We mistake peace for happiness.
- We keep looking ahead (or looking back).
- We strain away from the present moment.
- We don't fully trust . . . yet.
Yesterday I wrote a bit about the first bullet, and today I'd like to consider the second: We mistake peace for happiness.
Much like peace, I've often thought of happiness as a landing spot that began something like this:
"When ________________ happens, then I can finally be happy."
While it's true that things may be better when _____ happens, the truth is, _____ may also never happen--but we can choose happiness nonetheless.
The same goes with peace, except that peace is a deeper, quieter, more seated spot--where we can go even when things aren't necessarily going our way. Our minds may not comprehend this, but this peace is a heart place. As the Bible states in Philippians 4:7, the peace of God (or whatever spiritual guide resonates with us) passeth all understanding, and it is in those challenging times when this peaceful resting spot can be of utmost comfort. Go(o)d news: we carry it with us wherever we go.
During some of the most painful and challenging negotiations of my life in recent years, I have been able to reach deep into my heart and soul into this place of peace for comfort and courage. And in those moments, something revolutionary ensued: In the face of being shamed, accused, and humiliated--I was able to speak my truth for the first time, without being defensive. This truth came from a place of calm strength, and of determined, deep knowing. I had not known this was in me. And, thankfully, these challenges gave me the gift and the opportunity to rediscover this dormant knowing voice that I have always possessed.
Thanks, Universe. Peace to all.