How to Find Inner Peace

How to Find Inner Peace

What does inner peace mean to you?

Is it the reserve for those who have reached all their goals and can now relax? Or is it a state of calm only achievable by monks and life-long meditators?  Is inner peace only available for those without kids, marriages, financial worries and a soul-sucking job?

Let me suggest that inner peace is our natural state. 

Let me suggest that, contrary to how we may feel on a daily basis, inner peace is our default. It’s our home, our baseline, our starting point. 

Let me suggest that, despite what the wellbeing zeitgeist of the internet says with their prescriptions of meditations, forest-bathing and healing childhood traumas, there is nothing we need to do to ‘get’ inner peace.

And let me finally suggest (then I’ll quit suggesting stuff) that if this immediately makes you feel squirmy and sounds like new-age hippy bullshit,  then stick around a bit longer. When I was first pointed toward peace, clarity and tranquility being my natural state by a mentor at the time, I was desperately anxious, still wrestling with a 20 -year-old eating disorder and was always hungover. How the fuck could peace be my natural state?

If inner peace is our default, why aren’t we feeling it a lot more?

We aren’t feeling our natural state of peace on the regular because we are thinking over it. 

Many of us feel peaceful more often than we may realise. But we innocently brush it aside, mistaking a feeling of peace for a slip in our tightly-held vigilance of life’s problems. 

We are so used to worrying, fretting, stressing, planning for unknown futures and ruminating over unchangeable pasts that when we notice a momentary nice warm feeling, we are like: “ARGH!! What have I forgotten? What was I worrying about again?” 

Us humans are so darn obsessed with our thoughts. We think they are personal, prognostic and important. We think we need to pay attention to them, heed their warnings and take action on their arbitrary instructions. 

“I really need to do X today”

“I wonder if the company will be making redundancies”

“What will we do if the test is positive?”

“There’s no way I can get all this done”

“I’m not smart enough to do that”

“What do the other mums think of me?”

“ I need to tone my upper arms. And the rest of my body, come to think of it”

“What if dad gets ill?”

“What am I even doing with my life?”

“I want a glass of wine. Is it too early? Why do I want wine so much? What’s wrong with me?”

(all of the above collected from a few humans I know in just two days)

All of this thought covers up our natural peace… and that’s ok. We all think. A lot. And we will, until we die. It’s part of our Being Human package. 

Inner peace is not at the end of a to-do list 

Many of us think we’ll feel more peace if we sort out our lives. So we pay attention to the content of our thinking. If we just get a better job and if we just save a bit more money and if we just had more sex in our marriage and if we just lost a bit of weight and if we just get the kids off to college and if we just find our life purpose and if we just give up dairy and if we just call our mother more often and if we just ….[repeat forever]

Gosh I’m exhausted – and far from peaceful – just writing that, never mind thinking it all day, or even doing any of it!

What takes us away from our innate peace is engaging with this thought and thinking we have to do something with the contents of it – pay attention, take action. 

We can’t think our way to inner peace 

Maybe we have seen that our thoughts are making us feel bad. We notice that when we think anxious thoughts, we feel anxious thinking. We notice that if we think thoughts about loss, grief and sadness, we feel that. 

So then we innocently try to change our thoughts. 

We examine them, question them, swap them, re-frame them, do affirmations, or try and stop them altogether with elaborate meditation routines, micro-dosing, flotation tanks, ice baths or any other method which is currently trending.

(And some of those sound fun so go ahead and do what you like, it won’t affect your innate inner peace)

Uncovering your inner peace

As peace is our natural state, all we need to do is let our thinking – the thing that covers up all that peace – settle

That can be hard to do when our thoughts look important, scary and meaningful. 

But when we can come to see our thoughts as arbitrary, impersonal, unreliable, fleeting, untrustworthy and laughably unrealistic, it’s easier to just drop them. 

And there’s your inner peace, right there. 

If you are like “WTF? Just drop my thoughts? Thoughts are ‘laughably unrealistic’? What is all this nonsense?” then give me a shout and let me point you in the right direction.