January 24, 2012

Seeking Inner Peace

We live in a world of whim. What we think we desperately need to get us through the day will change in a matter of minutes. The things we desire to purchase will bring us only momentary satisfaction.

What we really need is inner peace, and that can be hard to find. I wish it were as simple as a shopping trip to a nearby store. But it’s not. It takes work. It takes focusing our thoughts away from our troubles and putting our eyes on the One who can truly offer us peace.


The pathway to finding peace is different for each one of us. There are many meditative arts that calm the mind and soothe the spirit. From my own experience, I find yoga to be very relaxing and invigorating. My focus is on my breath, breathing in and out, being conscious of how my body responds to that breath, the rise and fall of the abdomen, the fresh oxygen coursing through my bloodstream. Just breathe. There, now don’t you feel better already?

Walks in nature make me feel lighthearted. No matter how cold it is, I find myself walking along with a silly smile on my face. All is forgotten except for the next step, one foot placed in front of the next, watching, observing, and enjoying my surroundings.

Perhaps what both of these activities have in common is concentration. During yoga, while I focus on form and balance, the emphasis is on my breath. No outside thoughts are allowed to interfere. It’s just me and my body, and the concentration of energy within myself.

When I am hiking in nature, the world of buildings and roads is left far behind. My focus is on the natural world and the beauty to be found in all seasons. When I am in nature, my alertness to my surroundings focuses my concentration. I am observant of the surface on which I walk as well as the nearby terrain and surroundings landscape. Perhaps this focus takes my mind off of everyday problems, because I seldom worry when I am out in nature. And if a concern comes to mind for someone, I simply pray and give that concern to the powers of the universe.

Each of us needs to find our source of peace and contentment. We need to shut off the video screens of our electronics and reconnect with the natural world outside of and within ourselves. The true inner peace we seek begins with knowing ourselves intimately, and learning to trust our judgment in the choices we make.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27

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