The mere mention of inner peace brings me visions of rolling-meadows with wildflowers and meditating monks. But what exactly is inner peace? How can we possibly achieve it during these interesting (some would say turbulent) times? Is inner peace a far-off fantasy or something we can attain in this lifetime?
For me, inner peace is the holy grail of spiritual and psychological health and can be experienced by most of us, at least for short periods of time. Realistically, I don't expect to experience it 24/7. I discovered many years ago that I have an inner wound that says, "I'm not good enough." I've also discovered that this inner message is almost universal, at least among those of us raised in the Western world. It is hard for me to experience peace when my inner voice sometimes whispers and sometimes shouts out all my shortcomings. By working on this psychological shadow — the parts of me I want to hide, repress or deny — I have been able to experience longer periods of inner peace.
I find it hard to feel peaceful when my body is agitated or my mind is fatigued or depressed. By supporting my health and resilience at all levels, I have boosted my happiness tremendously. I consider authentic happiness to be the other holy grail of psychological and spiritual health.
Another big piece of peace for me is feeling fulfilled and living my life on purpose. For me, passion and purpose go together. Spending time developing my life mission has helped immensely to give my life meaning. In my quest for truth and to be of service in the world, I have come to realize that asking and answering the question, "Why bother?" is crucial. Why bother to get out of bed in the morning and do what I need to do stay healthy and happy? Why bother to exercise, eat right, deal with my inner conflicts, and connect with other people? As I've gotten an inkling of why I'm here and where I want to go, my journey has become much more peaceful.
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Jesus promised "peace that passes understanding" when we follow him and accept the good news of our sonship with God under the Fatherhood of God...when we experience the spiritual growth necessary for successful religious living.
100:4.3 But the great problem of religious living consists in the task of unifying the soul powers of the personality by the dominance of LOVE. Health, mental efficiency, and happiness arise from the unification of physical systems, mind systems, and spirit systems. Of health and sanity man understands much, but of happiness he has truly realized very little. The highest happiness is indissolubly linked with spiritual progress. Spiritual growth yields lasting joy, peace which passes all understanding.