For many years I have journeyed toward personal peace. Along the way I have known many others who have said they too were on the same journey. I take them at their word, whether or not their actions attest to their sincerity.
I suspect, however, that many of my fellow travelers have yet to define their destination. Hence the journey is all that matters to them, not the goal.
My way to personal peace begins with the simple premise that I am ignorant. I know that wisdom does not come to those who believe themselves wise. So the first step toward attaining any degree of wisdom must be to embrace and accept ones ignorance. This opens the way to knowledge; one cannot begin to know until one understands one does not know.
Wisdom is not necessary to attain personal peace. However, like consciousness, it is necessary if one is to first define, and then ultimately experience personal peace.
Many define peace as freedom from war, or in a more personal sense, a state of mental calm and serenity. To them, peace would be the opposite of anxiety. More, it might also be freedom from conflict or argument or disagreement; a non violent condition of passivity. I am sure that contentment would also figure into this equation as well.
All this sounds good, but for me, these things may only result from peace, they are not the actual state of personal peace. Just like the sun is not light, but a source of light.
In my opinion, each person eventually reaches a point, during his or her Earthly existence, when a nagging dissatisfaction becomes apparent. They find themselves yearning for something more; something that is lacking and needs finding. This something, in my view, is personal peace.
The blessed are those who have gained the wisdom to recognize this need or void for what it is and not confuse it for what it is not. The inner urge to find personal peace can come at any time of life. The damned are those who mistake this inner urging as some sort of spiritual crisis signaling the need for a dramatic change in their personal relationships, careers and/or professions.
It is true that embarking upon the path of personal peace can certainly call for changes regarding many aspects of ones life. However, those who impulsively bolt and run, will often find their new found rebellious freedom short lived indeed.
The way to personal peace begins, as I said, with embracing ones own ignorance. It is from this humble, yet wonderful state, that one may safely begin the journey. In doing so, it is necessary to question everything; more importantly, one must question everything about ones own personal life. Perhaps the first question should be, "Who am I, really?".
All great sages have found wisdom is the words, "Know Thyself".
The attainment of personal peace is impossible for many people because they have scarcely ever stepped outside themselves long enough to even realize they are alive. Get to know yourself. Take a long hard look at who you are and what is important to you. Most of all take an even closer look at your behavior; your behavior toward yourself, your behavior toward your family and loved ones and your behavior toward all others with whom you come into daily contact.
A good way to do this is to visualize your daily actions as if you are watching a video of yourself. Once you get good at doing this, you might be shocked at the person you are; various aspects of your behavior might be especially worrisome and enlighting.
Cherish the good things about yourself and work to improve those things that you find disappointing. Once you embark on the path to attaining personal peace . . . the Earth, in fact the entire Universe will rise up to aid you. The help will not always be easy to take or enjoyable, but it will be exactly what you need when you need it.
In the process you will discover the best diet for you, the supplements and herbs you need, the correct over-all health regime, the perfect exercise plan for you and so on. Everywhere you turn, the Cosmic will dump the information you need virtually in your lap! Keep your eyes and ears open and heed the still, silent voice within that whispers constantly in your mind, that sage some of us call our "conscience".
As you move toward a state of personal peace, you will find your old friends and acquaintances to be either more wonderful than ever or lacking. You will find yourself drawn deeper into your current interests or driven away from them and attracted toward new and more exciting ones.
Ultimately, you will either find your work to be more fulfilling than ever before or you will come to the deep inner realization that you have really always wanted to follow another line or work or a different profession or master a new skill or trade. Perhaps you should!
Walking question mark that you have become, every part of your life will be looked at anew, including all things material. As you explore your real self and your true needs, chances are you will be surprised to learn how few possessions you actually in fact need or want. The fewer things one has, the fewer problems and potential problems one will experience.
Really, we never actually "own" anything, do we? We are merely granted the use of what is here while we are here. All these things that oftentimes clutter our lives will remain when we have passed on.
The path to personal peace is the road to wonder, to never-ending learning and to total personal fulfillment. It is of paramount importance, however, to always remember that "bad" things happen to all of us in this world, as well as good things. The pathway to personal peace has nothing whatsoever to do with a peaceful life.
Personal peace is what you have when you are living the perfect life for you. Those who are not living that perfect life always known it on one level or another. Yet they also have the power to change everything about themselves and their situations.
Each of us has a true inner nature that is good and in harmony will all the best that exists in this world and in this universe. When our lives and our outer selves truly reflect this inner nature we find deep and abiding personal peace.
Yet I have known severely obese people who wink at themselves and say they have finally accepted their "fatness" and hence are now at personal peace.
I have known people who have developed all kinds of questionable habits such as substance abuse; addictions to drugs, excessive alcohol, tobacco and so on. Some of these persons believe personal peace can only come when they surrender to their cravings, rather than endlessly fighting them.
What about those who suffer from illnesses that are the direct result of improper life styles? How many feel that personal peace comes from learning to endure such infirmities as best and as siltently as they may.
Still others tell me their personal peace comes from watching interesting people do incredible things on television and in movies. In some ways they are like those who dream of a fit, athletic body. Too bad they direct their creative energy toward merely dreaming when they could just as easily realize those dreams with a little personal discipline and action; regular exercise and simple proper nutrition results in physical fitness.
Those who accept their weaknesses and claim contentment because of this acceptance are confusing contentment with something else entirely. Such people have chosen to accept their conditions rather than overcome them.
The only real freedom we have in this life is our freedom to choose between merely enduring or overcoming.
Erosion is the way of rocks and people who are content to but endure. Overcoming and ever becoming greater for having done so is the way of personal peace. May you choose wisely.
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