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5 simple ways to cultivate inner peace

 

Today, for those of you who don't already know this, is the International Day of Peace. I know this, of course, because it was printed in faint grey writing in the corner of my day planner. (Yeah, I know, a little less impressive than knowing this because I am a peace activist or something like that...) A few days ago I noticed the small letters nearly scrawled all over by my "to do" lists, and I thought, "Wow! International Day of Peace! I've never even heard of that!" According to the International Day of Peace website: 

"The International Day of Peace ('Peace Day') provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982...Since its inception, Peace Day has marked our personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people in all parts of the world, and each year events are organized to commemorate and celebrate this day. Events range in scale from private gatherings to public concerts and forums where hundreds of thousands of people participate...Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, or just sitting in silent meditation. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. The impact if millions of people in all parts of the world, coming together for one day of peace, is immense. International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Ceasefire would mean to humankind."

I'd love to sit here and write that I'm the most peaceful person in the world and that I strive for peace with all my heart, but I can't say that's entirely true. You know, there are those people who you look at or speak to and later think, "That person is really peaceful"? Well, that wouldn't be me. You might walk away from a conversation with me thinking a lot of things, but I'm pretty sure the idea of "peace" wouldn't come to your mind. The thing is, I want to be peaceful. Like a lot of people, I want there to be peace in the world and I've pretty much summed up the reason why there's not world peace: 

 

We don't have world peace because too many people lack inner peace. There isn't peace in the world because many people aren't at peace with themselves. 

 

 

Yes, I firmly believe that's true. If everyone in the world (me included!) was at peace with him/herself, there would be no need for hatred and jealousy and spite and wars. There would be happiness and love and, of course, peace. I know this is completely over-simplifying a concept that, let's be honest, I don't know all that much about. I'm not an expert on politics or history or even relationships or psychology, so I can't say that the above statement is based on anything more than my own opinion. I don't have facts to support it or statistics to say why it would be true. Instead, I just believe it. I know deep down in my heart that this is the truth. 

Ideally, at this point in the post I'd offer up some grand idea of how we can change the world and create peace everywhere, but I don't have a grand idea. I only have a small idea, but an idea that I believe could impact the world if we all took it to heart. Here it is: We need to create peace within ourselves. Yes, it's as simple as that. It would be easy to say that going to peace rallies or making donations or getting involved with politics is the solution, but I believe it's much more complicated -- much more personal -- than that. What we need is not more talk of peace; what we need is the creation of peace within ourselves. 

Personally, what I love about this idea is that I can start doing it right now. Right this second I can start working on my own inner peace, on cultivating an sense of contentment and happiness that I can pass on to those around me. As I've written before, positive thinking and emotions (as well as negative ones) can have a ripple effect. Ever notice how you feel after spending time with someone who is very calm and peaceful? You feel more peaceful. It's amazing how that works, isn't it? And we can have a part in creating world peace if we just take some time to work on our own inner peace. We can create a ripple effect of peace just by cultivating peace within us. 

Growing up, I was a big fan of wishing. (Okay, I still am, though I certainly don't put the emphasis on it that I once did...) Whenever I used to wish for something personal, I would feel guilty. I would realize that I was wishing for me, when I should be wishing for something big and universal, like world peace. Now I realize that world peace starts with one person. And it's not even necessarily an act or a word; it's a state of being. Though this is an area I absolutely need more work in (as does anyone -- like me -- who has been at one point joked about as being as "high strung as a yapping chihuahua"), I do have some ideas on how to get started on cultivating inner peace. Check 'em out below... 

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Cultivate Inner Peace

 

  1. Focus on the present. A lot of inner conflict is a result of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past so a great way to cultivate peace within yourself is to focus on the now. 
  2. Simplify your life. You've heard it a million times before, but less really is more. The more you simplify your life, the less anxiety and stress you'll have counteracting your peacefulness. 
  3. Learn to accept what is. Whenever you choose not to accept what is reality, you're causing turmoil within yourself. Accept what is and you'll be a lot more at peace with yourself and the world. 
  4. Avoid most negativity. While some negativity does have a purpose (such as to alert of us danger), most of it brings you down and if you want to have peace in your life, you have to do what you can to avoid it. 
  5. Make positive choices. Choose to spend time with positive people in positive situations or you will have a very difficult time having peace in your life. It's your life -- choose your surroundings carefully! 

 

Inner peace is a difficult thing to master, but it's something I truly believe is worth working on. So let's all try to work on perfecting that ripple effect, spreading peace by embracing it first within ourselves. As always, I'd love to hear about your thoughts on this topic. What do you think about peace and how it relates to inner peace? Any thoughts on how you will be celebrating peace in your own life today? 

Comments

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Hi Dani,
One nasty habit that destroys my inner peace is worry!

I realize that worry doesn’t do anyone any good. Keep telling myself..

it won't help you live a better life. It won’t make you feel better and more energized. Instead, it will make you less happy and less productive.

On this note I love your point 3- Learn to accept what is.

Easier said than done though :-0)

Shamelle

I have the same problem as Shamelle. Also, I guess I had the same thing as you when I didn't want to wish things for myself. But I too have realised that you MUST start with yourself. The same goes for loving yourself then loving other people. It's so hard, but I do feel I make steps towards it all the time.

Peace from the inside out is the way to go.

I remember that John Wooden founds his peace of mind by knowing he did his best. It sounds so simple, but it was effective.

Shamelle - I'm with you on that one! Worry is one of the greatest causes of stress and worrying is one of the best ways to ruin your inner peace. That's why living in the present moment is so important. When you're living in the now, you are focused on what's happening and not worrying. I also agree with your comment about accepting what is and how it's easier said than done. That's absolutely true! I'd recommend reading Byron Katie's "Loving What Is" -- it really helped me with this concept a lot!

Penny - It's essential that we start with ourselves. It often seems selfish, but it's not. Starting with you is the best way to bring about change in the world. And, as you said, same goes for love. If you don't love yourself, you can't really love someone else. It all starts with you! This is one of those easier-said-than-done things, but, like you, I feel like I'm making steps in the right direction.

J.D. - Absolutely! Thanks for sharing that bit about John Wooden. That's a great point... As you noted, it's simple, but it's one of those things that has a big impact.

The most powerful of all is learning to accept what is. The truth is, this is the most difficult thing a person can do. We always want to be according to our expectations and when thing go curve we resists. The result is inner turmoil.

Unless we master our mind, we can never have inner peace.

I agree 100%. Peace has to start from the inside out. If everyone would work on their own inner peace, we'd live in a wonderful world. But what about those that will never try to work on their own inner peace? Even for those of us that have a good sense of inner peace, it's constantly being challenged by a minority in this world who think they own it, people who have no regard or respect for others. It's really crazy that a small percentage of people can cause so much grief and chaos.

One thing that has always gotten me riled is rudeness. I always feel my blood pressure going up when a customer gives a worker a hard time behind a counter for nothing that worker can control. Too often I've said to that customer--as another customer in the establishment--what the worker wants to say, but can't, and then tell them to talk to a manager who can do something about it. The customers are usually shocked. Some stop badgering the workers, and get very quiet, while some throw a fit and storm out. What I can never reconcile is, am I making things better in the word from a peace perspective or worse? I don't know. It doesn't feel peaceful when the people throw a fit, but my guess is they think twice before doing that same thing again. I guess my question is, do we stand up against the rude people in this world, the ones that cause so much disruption of the peace, even though that doesn't feel like a peaceful act, or do we stand there practicing our own inner peace and let that person leave unchallenged so they can keep doing it over and over?

Whatever the answer, the world definitely will be a better place if those of us that care, do work on our own inner peace.

Dani,

The largest Buddhist organization in the world, SGI, has this wonderful saying, "The way to world peace is through one individual at a time."

Enjoy your journey ;-)

Peggy

These are all great. I like the realistic way you phrase no. four. Number three can be a real process, depending on the severity of what we may be called on to accept.

As Michael used to sing:
¨If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change¨
Acceptance and tolerance are very important things we need to be more at peace with ourselves.
I loved your tips, I totally agree :)
Peace!

Walter - I agree. When you can accept what is and be at peace with that, then you can be at peace with yourself and with the world. We must master our minds and cultivate acceptance of the world around us to find lasting peace.

Christopher - You've brought up a great point. What do we do when we're working on our own inner peace but are challenged by those who are not interested in peace? This can be very difficult to handle at times (especially when it comes to rudeness!). Though I'm not an expert on the subject, I do know that it's pretty hard to change others, no matter how hard you try. For that reason, I think it's important to lead by example and to work on your own peace. Hard as it might be to ignore/avoid at times, trying to change others usually isn't effective and probably conflicts with your internal search for peacefulness.

Peggy - Great quote! That is so true and so perfectly fitting for this post. Thanks for sharing it here.

Paul - Thanks! As much as I dislike negativity and think it's best avoided, it's not ALWAYS bad so I wanted to emphasize that in #4. #3 is definitely a hard one, but it's so, so important that we work on it.

Rosa - Ooh, good quote! MJ was on to something with that line. I agree that acceptance and tolerance are two very important elements for creating inner (and outer!) peace. I'm really glad you brought those up because they are very important!

Dani,
Kudos to you for this powerful (and practical!) post. You have hit the nail on the head, as they say, and summarized the primary reason we do not have peace in the world: because we are at war within ourselves. Inner peace became my passion years ago due to the fact that I was so not at peace within myself and had the poor health to prove it. In time, I turned my life around and now I do what I do. (My blog will tell you, website too.) Until I was truly passionate about being more calm, clear, and wise, stress, worry and anxiety would continue to predominate. simply put, inner peace is a choice...

The 5 practices you outline are potent and they DO work. I hope everyone who reads this will give them a try--maybe even stick with them long enough to create a new peace-filled lifestyle for themselves! Takes at least 90 days, by the way...

May I add a #6? Find and engage in spiritual practices that bring you peace, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. A breath practice is wonderful, meditation, yoga, prayer, chant, whatever....Making sure that we stay faithful to such practices opens a wider door to peace within....In time, we will be the peace we've desired. Trust me on this one. (LOL)

May we all write the word PEACE on our hearts then breathe it out into the world. Blessings to you!

I loved this post. I, too just realized it was peace day from the calender. Your list was superb. #3 +4 are my faves. I am learning #3 in a painful process with my father and I am getting to the acceptance part slowly but surely. At least I can see some progress.
Inner peace is less talked about than personal happiness, yet how can you have one without the other?
I have found that with negative people, you have to either stay away, which isn't always possible or you have to have the strength to tell your "energy vampires" that you just can't deal with their issues right now. Try it sometime -you be pleasantly suprised at the reaction you get. I was.
I have subscribed and as soon as I finish my college assignment due tonight(:( ) I will be back to read more of your great stuff.
Thanks for visiting my site as well BTW.
Stephanie

Awesome post Dani. There's no doubt that inner peace is essential to so many aspects of our lives. I think once you can achieve inner peace, you can achieve anything. I wrote a post that echoes some of this that should be on DLM in the next week or two.

Jan - Thank you! :) I'm so glad you found the post useful. I certainly found your comment useful so thanks! I agree that, like happiness, inner peace is a choice and it's something that we really have to work on. I love the #6 that you added. That's such an important one and I'm glad you brought it up. Thank you!

Stephanie - Thanks! #3 can definitely be extremely difficult, depending on your situations in life, but it's so important to keep this one in mind because fighting against what is creates the opposite of peace. I agree that inner peace and happiness go hand in hand and happiness is usually focused on more frequently (probably because many people believe they can get happiness from things outside of themselves, making it appeare more attainable and like a "quick fix"...) You've made a great point about speaking up and letting others know that you cannot deal with their issues; it's important to focus on your own inner peace and not let others interfere with that. So glad you liked this post!

Srinivas - Inner peace is so essential and, despite all of my focus on happiness, this isn't something I dedicate nearly enough time to. I 100% agree that once you are at peace within yourself you can do anything. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this on DLM soon!

I love this article, I feel 3+4 are very important to understand that the faster we accept things the better. Too many try to place blame or over think a situation.That is just a waste of time and energy to me.

This of course is a learning process it comes when you figure out there is nothing you can change except opening a new door to new opportunity's.

PP, I couldn't agree more with your comment;

We don't have world peace because too many people lack inner peace. There isn't peace in the world because many people aren't at peace with themselves.

I think you've hit the nail on the head. If we're feeling peaceful there's no need for conflict of any sort. The more of us that can feel inner peace, the less conflict there will be. Hmm, time for me to stop procrastinating about meditating and actually DO it (or should I say just BE). Thanks Dani, great post.

Number 4 has been the main gun in my arsenal. It makes like SO MUCH EASIER if you just drive around the potholes in the first place!

great post--i love #5 and it hits close to home. my sister just told me that she wants to spend more time with me because i'm so upbeat that i make HER feel more positive.

it really is true that your attitude can rub off on others. thanks for the reminder!!!

THANKS, Dani~

your number 3 really hits home for me. EVERY time i'm wishing 'things' were different, my Peace bottoms out. now i'm going to be an IS Girl. yay!

Dani, this is a great post. You nailed so much of what inner peace is. I am finally at peace with myself.

Dani, I thought I was going to read an article on politics! I admit I skimmed the U.N. stuff :- but that was OK because then I got to the good stuff! Those 5 simple ways are 5 simple ways to do a lot of things including inner peace. If we could all just do those 5 things the world would be so much better off in any number of ways. Thanks for a great article (minus the world peace stuff of course) :-)

happy international day of peace (I didn't know that either).

great suggestions.

Bunny - Glad you like it! I agree that the faster we are able to accept things for what they are, the better off (and more at peace!) we'll be. As you said, placing blame or over-thinking are two ways to really make things worse for yourself... Instead, it's much better to accept things for what they are and move forward.

Sami - Exactly! If everyone everywhere were at peace with his/herself, there would be no need for conflicts or wars or hurting others. I'm with you on the procrastination about meditation... I always say I'm going to do it, but I never do. I need to get started!

Hayden - It's definitely ideal to avoid the negativity in the first place so that you don't have to "deal" with difficulties. Love the imagery you used in your comment!

Nat - That's awesome that your sister told you that. Attitude really does rub off on other people so it's important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people. You should be really happy that you're the kind of person others want to be around.

Lisa - Wishing for things to be different is the opposite of accepting things for what they are. The more we can work on accepting the present moment, the more we can be at peace with ourselves and the world.

Syd - Thank you for your compliments about the post! That's wonderful that you're finally at peace with yourself. I don't think I'm there yet, but I'm working on it...

Stephen - Haha, well, I guess in a way, it's about how we can influence politics by cultivating inner peace. I agree that if we could all do those things, the world would be a LOT better off. If only those things were easy!

Brandi - Thank you! Happy Peace Day to you too! Glad you liked my suggestions for creating inner peace.

absolutely!! so, so true. i loved this post. you truly inspire me.

Dani, I don't think you could have simplified those 5 steps any further, those are perfect! Right now, I'm focusing daily on doing a bit of meditation and also focusing on walking mindfulness. By this I mean staying mindful as I walk through my day. It's amazing the kind of "fog" our brains are in all the time.

Thanks for the awesome post!

Cheers,

Dayne
http://www.TheHappySelf.com

I have a friend with a business, and his goal is world peace. When I first heard that I thought, "Good luck!" But then he explained that world peace starts with inner peace, and since I do wholeheartedly believe in the interconnectedness of all, it made sense. So I fully embrace the idea that when I'm peaceful, I'm adding to the peace of the world. What's more I can influence others to be peaceful, simply by living that way day-in and day-out.

Great post, Dani!
Peace & love to you!

Melita - It makes me so happy to know that I inspire you! :) Inner peace is so important and writing this post has helped me to inspire myself to work on it more often.

Dayne - Thanks! I'm so glad you felt like these points addressed the grand issue that is inner peace. I really do think that meditation and mindfulness are SO important for creating inner peace. I really need to focus on these two things more. Thanks for the reminder!

Megan - That's awesome that you friend has a world peace business. It sounds like he understand that peace is something that should come first from within before it will ever be able to affect the outside world. We really can influence others by being peaceful beings.

You have a knack for knowing what I'm thinking about! I've been feeling so bogged down and pressured by the usual things that get me down, and it's really mostly about inner peace. I need to be at peace with who I am and the life I lead, without the guilt of not being the way others wish for me to be - and really, they wouldn't wish for me to be anything if they were at peace with themselves! It is a vicious cycle - and so true that if we all just focus on creating inner peace, outer peace will fall into place. Thank you for this post!

Heya Dani! :)
I've noticed a few people writing about world peace day. Interesting!

I hear what you say and agree that everyone needs to find peace, but unfortunately there will always be one rotten apple who will spoil it for everyone. I do not think that there is a way to prevent it.

Even if you yourself are at peace, if someone attacks you, you have to defend or even strike back.

Thanks for sharing!
Cheers
Diggy

When it is all said and done it is about each person being at peace, knowing and being the love that they are. Great post.

Simplifying always works. One of my mantras is "streamline."

-meream

Making positive choices is the best way to create happiness. We must all keep our choices positive instead of pessimistic.

Ia - Guess we're on the same page! ;) The best way to find true and lasting happiness is to be at peace with yourself and with with world around you (which is where the accepting what is part comes in). Of course this is easier said than done but I hope these tips are helpful!

Diggy - You're right about their being people who will not seek peace and, for that reason, there will always be conflict in the world. However, the more people make an effort to be peaceful, the more peace there will be in the world. One small step in the right direction can have a major impact on the world. (And you definitely don't have to strike back if you are attacked...Hard as it might be, you can fight back with peace and love towards that person).

Mark - Absolutely. Being at peace with one's self is one of the most important (and hardest!) things we can do, but mastering that one thing will affect all aspects of our lives.

Meream - Great point! Love the use of the word "streamline" in relation to simplification. It's a perfect word and perfect way to create a more peaceful environment around you.

Jonathan - I agree. We don't have the power to control everything in our lives, but we DO have the power to control our choices. We can choose positive thoughts, actions, people, activities, and places and all of these things will bring peace and happiness into our lives.

This post was a great one. It's a great topic to be talked about.

Finding inner peace can lead to a happy state of mind. You'll achieve not just happiness, but true happiness.

That's what matters and is an incredible feeling.

BeTrulyHappy - Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I agree completely... if we strive for peace, we're not just achieving happiness, but TRUE and LASTING happiness, which is what we really want anyway, isn't it? Great comment!

Nazim - Thanks so much for commenting! I really appreciate your support of the blog -- silent or not. :) I haven't yet experimented with meditation yet, but it's something I absolutely need to work on. I've heard nothing but good things about it!

Hi Dani .. I didn't know it was World Peace Day - but then I'm slightly out of the day to day loop at the moment - I just noticed it on my calendar .. not say I normally would have looked.

It seems a good post to write about - lots of interest - of those five at the moment .. simplify my life is something I need to do .. and then I know I'll be more peaceful and able to cope - less to worry about. The other four are good points as well.

Thanks - Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Hilary - I wouldn't have known either if I hadn't seen it on my calendar. I used to ignore all of those little words in tiny print, but now I'm always looking for inspiration for blog posts and that's why I noticed it. Simplifying your life is so important. It really does help us become more at peace with outselves and the world.

My inner peace gets blown when the insecurities start to take over. I find that those days are much fewer than before but nonetheless I have to work at chasing away the fears that I have.

Syd - Oh, yes, insecurities are definitely peace killers. I find that happens to me too but, like you, it's happening less often to me now. I'm still working on them, but I completely agree that indulging in insecurity is one of the quickest ways to dissolve inner peace.

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