The topic of inner peace brought to my mind a dearly loved movie franchise - Kung Fu Panda. They delve into inner peace and how one can experience it to bring about the most magnificent of results.
Our cuddly and heroic protagonist Po finds inner peace even after he had lived a traumatic past. He lost his home, he lost his family, but still, he found inner peace…
It’s something that confused the one who had indeed caused that tragedy for him. How did Po find inner peace? How do we find inner peace?
We all have asked this question, right? It’s so intriguing. Are we all looking for the same things from countless origins?
So, as I was preparing to write now and understand it myself too, I watched this video of Gaur Gopal Das narrating a story that signifies the meaning of inner peace.
The story is of a king who starts a contest. The contest is to paint a picture that truly illustrates what inner peace is. There are very many submissions, but at the very end, only two remain.
The first painting is of a silent lake with magnificent mountains in the distance, a clear sky at the top, and lush forests around it. It’s the most peaceful place one can imagine.
The second painting however is a stark contrast. It shows bare and muddy mountains, a raging dark sky, crazed storms, furious lightning, a thunderous waterfall, and unsettling rain.
But, when the king takes his eyes closer to the canvas, he spots behind the waterfall a bird feeding her children with utter serenity and fondness. The mother was as undeterred by the world around her as if it wasn’t there.
I’m sure you can guess which painting took the prize. This story grew a warm feeling in my heart. Inner peace, as it says, is independent. It is not about what is happening around us, where we are, or who we’re with.
Inner peace is the experience of focus and calmness regardless of external situations. Something so powerful certainly requires us to work for it.
In this post, let’s learn about the ways that I think can help us come closer to inner peace. Here’s what we will cover:
- Life Values
- Slow Down
7 Ways to Inner Peace
Gratitude is not just a few words of appreciation, it’s not only about a joyful moment. Gratitude is a shift, it is a choice about what we are going to see. And, it is deeply connected with inner peace.
Gratefulness is the ultimate act of saying, “Yes, I can be unintentional and succumb to negativity bias that reduces most people’s long-term happiness in the long run, but I’m not going to. It might be uncomfortable at first, but I’m going to persevere because this effort will reward me beyond expectations.”
People have transformed their lives with gratitude. As they made the simple yet supreme shift of looking and appreciating what is good already instead of what went wrong and what more there should be, their health and state of mind soared lovingly.
To really excel at living gratefully, we made a tool that helps millions of people practice gratitude journaling. We also have guided challenges to help you begin your journey.
2. Life Values
Here’s a quote from Kung Fu Panda:
“You don’t need to meditate for hours and hours to attain inner peace and enlightenment. You need only see, feel, and act from the heart. Let the heart guide you to your peaceful enlightenment.”
What are the values in your life and are you living in alignment with them? Are you connecting with them more deeply or detaching?
For example: If family is a value in your life, but your current lifestyle deprioritizes it because of your job, there will be unsettlement. Or, if it is self-respect but due to people-pleasing or insecurity or lack of boundaries, you are unaligned from it.
Reconnect to the life values you hold dear and let them guide you. Here is a list of core values that you can refer to.
Remember the good old saying, “Change what you can (and need to), accept what you can’t.” I want you to introspect now, and I will do the same. What or who have you not accepted yet?
Bear in mind, that acceptance doesn’t mean appreciation. It means that as something is totally out of my control, I will not let it control my emotions anymore, I don’t give space to it in my mind.
Is it a person that you don’t respect and so resent? Is it someone else’s choices that you don’t agree with? Is it the shape of your nose? As you go through your day, notice your thoughts. When are your thoughts wasting energy on current truth out of your control?
Use your energy wisely. Work on making a difference where you can, where it matters, and where it’s useful. And, where it isn’t, bring acceptance.
4. Slow Down
The world is dominated by the growth-above-all-else, quick-results expectations. It is what makes us determine our life’s success by boxes we’ve checked by a certain age. To measure happiness by achievements.
But, even more than that, do we slow down in moments, seconds, or minutes? When we’re walking or driving to the grocery store, are we looking around to see where we are? Are we taking a look at the sky, smiling as someone laughs? Is our forehead scrunched? Are we aware of our breath?
What is the rush? Right now, are you taking deep, calming breaths? Our breath is a blessing, every single one of it. The testament to our life. Let’s slow down. Let’s honor lives. Let’s live.
Right off the bat, I want to state that independence doesn’t mean that we don’t ask for help when we need it - that’s arrogance. Independence is to take responsibility for ourselves and the days of our lives.
It’s about not waiting for someone else to take the first step or show up for us, we do that on our own. Yes, our lives are connected with others and they always will be, but we must become conscious of when they become dependent.
Making choices so that they will please or be adored by someone else while taxing ourselves is not fair. This is our life and we make the best of it.
This one requires a lot of courage but is one of the most important steps to inner peace. Quoting another line from Kung Fu Panda here,
“Don’t push past memories deeper inside of yourself. Let those memories breathe and let old wounds heal.”
When there are deep wounds that we’ve never let surface so they could heal, there is a dark heaviness that prevails.
Not all of us had happy childhoods, loving parents, supportive friends, fun school days, and good mental health. So many of us carry unhealed trauma, and all of us deserve to heal. How we choose to do it differs.
Is it by self-healing methods like meditation, journaling, affirmations, etc? Or, is it by therapy? If accessing therapy is possible for you, I would really encourage you to go forward. Taking care of ourselves is not only healthy but intelligent too. Let’s face what we need to safely and with the best intentions.
And, the last branch of inner peace that I want to talk about is service. As we see the world in its overwhelming and countless struggles, we feel helpless and forlorn.
And, many of us resort to complaining only, making wishes into the clouds, or not recognizing the power of our contribution. Each of us has the capability to help the world in distinct magnitudes, and all of them together bring about remarkable results.
I strongly believe that all of us have a responsibility to our home, our Earth. Which problem hurts you significantly? Think of the ways that you can begin your commitment to solving it.
Remember that no right action is inconsequential. It is the nature of it that counts, not its impact. Do what you can, and know that that’s more than your estimation. There is might in the act of giving, and a deep feeling of inner peace.
And, that’s it! I quite enjoyed writing this post and hope that you found it helpful. Share it with people you care about. I wish you a day of joy!
Take care :)