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Creating an Inner Peace That Endures

“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 were 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, negative stuff mostly, 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.

Then there were the stories closer to home—my friend’s husband being diagnosed with cancer and dying three months later, my father suffering from dementia, my best friend’s marriage falling apart—all tearing at my heart and leaving me hurt and grieving.

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—I cannot pinpoint exactly when it happened—when I finally felt a peace inside that did not come and go along with my emotions or the drama in my life. I know it was the culmination of making a lot of changes, including…

Believing I am Loved

Understanding that negative childhood imprinting leads to feeling unloved and having low self-esteem, I looked for and found the truth about myself. It was not what I had been led to believe was true!

Believing we are loved comes with knowing who we are, not judging ourselves or others for mistakes we make, and from daily meditation in which we feel the unconditional love of something greater than ourselves.

Monitoring and Changing My Thoughts

I once believed I had no control over what I was thinking, because I never considered the idea that thoughts can be changed. Then I started focusing on my thoughts and realized much of what I was thinking did not reflect the way I truly felt.

Just paying by attention to them, we see that many thoughts are primarily fear-based and judgmental.

And, because they come and go unchallenged, most of us struggle through life unconsciously accepting that we are our thoughts. We simply do not look at or challenge them as they appear and disappear. By accepting them, we give them permission to shape our beliefs about ourselves and our lives.

Once you start recognizing them, you can go about changing your thoughts. Through observing how your thoughts differ from the way you really feel, you can choose to place a different thought in your mind, which more accurately reflects the way you feel.

Coming from Loving-Kindness and Living from My Higher Self

By noticing and appreciating other people’s kindness, we become aware how much it really matters in daily living. In dealing with difficult telephone calls, perhaps an angry person on the other end of the line, we can choose to be kind.

When a friend asks us to help with something, we can decide on the kindest thing to say or do.

If someone asks for a donation for the umpteenth time, we can deal with the request kindly. Obviously, there are times we cannot give whatever is being asked of us; when we do not have the means or desire to agree to a certain request. In these circumstances, saying no with kindness is the best choice.

Sometimes kindly refusing to provide assistance is important in helping promote personal growth in others and allows them to learn some important life lessons.

If someone is gossiping about someone we know, we can be silently kind, refusing to be drawn into the conversation. By choosing kindness, we allow positive energy to flow from us to others and prevent negative energy from reaching us or infusing situations. In this way, we create and maintain a connection to our higher selves. And, realize just how good it feels to be kind.

Bringing the Practice of Acceptance into Daily Life

Perhaps the key to feeling real peace is being able to accept what is. Acceptance simply means recognizing your ego’s voice and rejecting it. Knowing that the only person we can change is ourselves enables us to do this.

As soon as we start to think there is something not right, not the way it should be, or we become judgmental about a situation or a person—their words or behavior—we know we have moved away from accepting what is, by wanting to control what is outside of us.

There is a lot of negative energy and craziness in this world, but we can all learn to live with inner peace.

If your intention is strong and comes from the deepest part of you, it will happen. Outwardly, nothing changes; peace comes from making changes inside you.

It begins and continues through becoming more aware of you really are, knowing you are loved, making changes in the way you think, practicing loving-kindness, and accepting what is.

As serenity and unconditional love fill your heart, you will accept that you cannot go back, and will not relinquish what you have now found, that peace that you seem to have been searching for your whole life.

Finally, you will come to this—deep inner peace inside you that endures, regardless of what challenges life brings.

Photo by martinak15

Avatar of Marilyn Briant

About Marilyn Briant

Marilyn Briant is a mother and grandma. She intends to promote spiritual awareness through her writing on her website: marilynpeaceseekers.com. She has recently written & published her first children's book: The Leopard and The Mouse http://www.squidoo.com/the-leopard-and-the-mouse.

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  • http://Mazzastick.com/ Justin Mazza

    Hi Marilyn,
    Peace like many other states of being are a choice that we make. It’s easy to get caught up in negativity and that for sure will create our reality unless we choose something else.

  • urooj shahid

    Amazing post Marilyn! :)

  • Lv2terp

    Fantastic!!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, I really appreciated reading this! :)

  • http://www.suntra.ca inderpal wig

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I really connected with your thoughts as I continue on the path to find inner peace in the midst of challenges, and I do feel that practicing love, kindness, a shift in attitude – everything you’ve mentioned, inches me closer to it. The challenge I find is to stay there consistently despite all that goes on, especially the negativity of others. Anything you can share on what helped you deal with others negativity? I can see how kindness and love would help, but I’m having a really tough time right now specifically with someone, and feel challenged to move through it. 

    Thank you.

  • Onthepathom

    Marilyn, reading your post, I immediately noticed some of the steps/methods you describe are similar in Buddhist practice of the Eightfold Path and the Noble Truths.

  • Mebr537

    Thank you – I am so glad you liked it and I appreciate your comment. I hope you will visit me at my website:marilynpeaceseekers.com which I have been writing for weekly, for about 2 years now.

  • Mebr537

    Yes, Justin we are choosing the way we feel and what we have in our lives – there is so much drama going on around us to remind us of our choices. 

  • Mebr537

    You are right. And while I do not follow any particular religion or practice, I would say my beliefs are most closely aligned with Buddhism.

  • Mebr537

    I think what helped me most (and still helps me) in dealing with negativity is to understand that the way someone else feels has nothing to do with me. For a long time I believed I was responsible for another person’s feelings, now I am absolutely sure I am not. I am only responsible for my own.

    Another really good practice is to perceive someone else’s words and behavior differently. Their negativity comes from not knowing who they are and from feeling fearful and unloved. When this thought is foremost in your mind, it often helps stop you reacting to,or being pulled into their negativity.  

  • Mebr537

    I am so glad you enjoyed my writing. In sharing mine I am simply paying it forward – as a way of thanking all those other authors whose words of wisdom have lovingly guided me along my own spiritual path.

  • http://profiles.google.com/semayawi.toadcottage Beth Gallagher

    Thank you for this post! As usual, it’s very appropriate for my life right now and certainly gave me the slap I needed to make changes. Sometimes the challenge/difficulties inherent to this life is a bit hard to swallow, so all of the changes you describe are just right. Thank you!

  • Pravin

    Nicely written, Marilyn . The emotional see-saw is very much my story also. Your phrase ”
    Through observing how your thoughts differ from the way you really feel, you can choose to place a different thought in your mind”  should be in BOLD.  This might be key to escaping the random horror that is (my) mind.

    On an irrelevant & irreverent side-note it continually surprises me to learn that westerners have emotional problems also. As a south-Asian male, I often get the impression that westerners have little emotion. No offense.

  • Mebr537

    You are so welcome. Isn’t it wonderful Beth, that we seem to get exactly what we need when we need it!

  • Mebr537

    Thank you, bold would have provided the correct emphasis… I agree that observing what we are thinking and selecting alternative thoughts has a huge impact on the craziness which comes from allowing our ego’s thoughts a free rein!  

        

  • Su

    Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing this :-)…

  • Therenzis

    These 4 steps to achieve inner peace are simple yet not easily acquired. I appreciate your bringing this to us. I am on a path toward where you are. Your words have inspired a renewed belief that I can get there. Thank you!

  • Worksofivy

    I found tinybuddha.com a couple years back and since then, I cannot go a day without catching up on the latest post. Somehow, I just knew I couldn’t miss today’s post. I read just the first paragraph and burst into tears. All day today, I sat and wondered how is it, that no matter how good things may be going, the minute something negative occurred, it entered my mind that I’m just meant to NEVER be happy, and wondered if there was anyone else in the world that felt that way. Negative childhood, low self-esteem, feeling unloved no matter how much it’s said or shown to me, always seem to be the main things I struggle with. I feel like this post was meant ESPECIALLY for me. I smile on the outside, and i’ve been told that I’m just the sweetest person, but somehow, that inner peace continues to elude me, because of the negative thoughts. I know that real change starts with our thoughts, but sometimes it’s just extremely difficult to see through that thick cloud of doubt and fear. And those control issues…. Oh boy, this post DEFINITELY hit home.

    Sorry to run on, but I’m SO VERY GLAD to read this today, and I THANK YOU SO VERY, VERY MUCH for sharing. Will keep putting these changes into effect and hopefully, soon, I will be able to make such a post and inspire others as you have inspired me today.

    God bless you.

  • Nat06001

    This describes exactly what ive been struggeling with. Ive been trying to find peace in the middle of a lot of negative around me. It is not easy, but this was very inspiring and informative. Thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/deborah.s.boettcher Deborah Sue DeShong Boettcher

    Marilyn – this was awesome :-)  When I find myself struggling against what is…where what is rattling around in my thoughts are complaints about “what is” and how I want it to be different, I say this little mantra to myself…”Look at what is there and not at what isn’t”…this helps to me to embrace acceptance.
    Thanks so much for this post.

  • Mebr537

    Yes, I agree simple but perhaps not easy…I believe we get all the help we need to move in the “right” direction.  

  • Mebr537

    I love that you “ran on” and I am glad you understand you are not alone. Please know your strong intention will guide you to true peace…know you are loved.

  • Mebr537

    How wonderful Deborah, your mantra is just perfect…

  • Mebr537

    You are so welcome, Su…

  • sooz

     So how good is it to know that we are all alike under the skin?  I used to think that people from the other side of town from me could not possibly think like I did!  No really! I just love the fact that we are so similar and connected, and your post is just another lovely confirmation that whatever nationality we are,  we are the same.

  • mnsifuentes

    You aren’t the only one that feels that way! I too sat here thinking, “Did she write this for me?” I wanted to let you know that you are not alone, and I wish you the best on finding and keeping your inner peace! 

  • Rosebud

    A very, very beautiful message

  • jason

    In America people are rude and think of others kindness as weakness.

  • sonia

    I had lost my inner peace because of the tensions of finding a good income source just for a few days but this post really helped to get back to my roots and be centered.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • trevor

    I really like this post. I’m new to the inner peace thing but this helps a lot and hope I can find it soon!

  • Josh

    I just found this post and I wanted to say thank you. I am just started out on my spiritual awakening after 44 years in the wilderness, I find i am drifting somewhat lacking direction and I find my ego really does not want to let go, and is causing me fears and depressive thoughts. I understand i have to observe with compassion, but it is hard not to run to the arms of some medications or other. Posts such as this really help me understand i am not alone when it gets hard. I am reading through Marilyn’s blog now which is proving to be a further sourse of inspiration. thank you all you Tiny Buddha’s

  • Nikki

    This was beautiful message. I’m 25 and I’ve been feel that my soul has not been satisfied. Though my job pays well and I can do the work with quality.The money hype ends quickly and there’s still a void I cannot quite grasp. My Purpose feels blank to me. After listening to Wayne Dyer and his talk about our ego and higher self. I searched for inner peace and this article gave me a great direction to follow. I will do my best to love my self more and accept life how it is and flow through it. I know my purpose will come and my soul will soar.

  • Wouter Verhagen

    If anybody has self-esteem issues I would really recommend looking for books that use cognitive behavioral therapy for low self-esteem issues. I can’t explain in detail how it works, but if you feel like you need something – try that (please!). I’d say “Overcoming Low Self-Esteem” by Dr. Melanie Fennell is a good book, but I can’t be certain since I’ve never read it. The reason is I live in the Netherlands and I read a book called Denk je Sterk (Think Yourself Strong), but it probably applies the same principles. The exercises are extremely simple and you can begin to empower yourself again. I had trouble with self-esteem issues myself, having a mental illness that sort of keeps me from being a productive person in society. It will definetly help. The problem with the internet is all the misinformation. I’m not saying this site is misinforming anybody, but most sites are and if people are desperate for help they will try anything because they don’t know where to find the truth.

    I know this post is a bit late but I felt like responding. If anybody reads this later on looking for ways to deal with self-esteem – search for an up-to-date book that uses cognitive behavioral therapy for low self-esteem. It’s the easiest and most succesful method I know.

  • Dancing Violinist

    Nice article, but the many typos were getting in my way of achieving inner peace… (ahem, editors!!!)