If I asked each of you to name the thing you want most in life, your answers would surely vary, but the underlying desire in each answer would be the same. It is the one thing all humans crave: to feel inner peace. You may want a new car, a new or improved relationship, a different job, or a nice home. These things alone will never bring you sustainable inner peace because they are transitory. It doesn’t matter what material thing you name, the point is that they are all outside of you. You want these things because they are place markers for the feelings accompanying them. Your actual desire is not for the things but for the feelings you have about the things.
We grew up believing that a good education will lead to a good job and eventually a nice home and a family. If we attain x, y, and z then society says we can be happy. This is incredibly disempowering. Happiness and joy cannot be found, given, nor taken away. They are states of being. Just like anger or frustration. They are the outer indicators of your inner well-being. So how do we find and sustain inner peace?
You start by keeping your heart open. Always. Life provides endless opportunities to practice this opening. All you need to do is pay attention the next time you begin to feel inner discord, such as impatience, indignation, or disappointment. Realize that this feeling is being generated by YOU, not the circumstance or even the person. It is your inner response to the experience that is causing you distress. Instead, take a moment and remind yourself that it is possible to allow life to unfold without giving any attention to your preferences for things beyond your control.
Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time arranging stuff in our outer world so that we feel good in our inner world. The problem is, we simply cannot control what happens outside ourselves. We are, however, completely in control of what goes on inside of us. Instead of wasting all that time trying to control what you can’t and being frustrated because things are not going ‘your way’, it is far more efficacious to work on your reactions to these events. It takes awareness, lots of practice, and a willingness to change. I’ve found that the more open my heart is, the easier it is to act from a calm, centered place, especially in difficult times.
And these are most certainly difficult times. Everyone on this earth is experiencing the spread of a virus that is beyond our control. So the question is: How will you react to these changes in your life? Will you claim your power and create your own inner peace or allow yourself to be a victim of circumstances?