It’s quite a conundrum isn’t it. We all want peace, but the path that we choose in the process, can be anything but peaceful.
Let’s have a look at 4 misconceptions about the inner peace journey that might be keeping you stuck. Do any of these sound familiar to you? If yes, good that you realize them now rather than later. These are simply what I realized a few years ago, after going through a rather harrowing journey.
1: Cutting off the ego through denying oneself of anything that makes the heart sing is a good way to build real peace.
You know what, this actually can set you back and create more masks of who-you-are-not. Watch out for that armor of numbness that you take on to make you “stronger”, only to find you’ve lost that true sensitivity to how you’re really feeling inside, and makes it hard for you to really see what other people are feeling inside as well.
Nope. Doesn’t work that way. That’s what got me really lost, confused and in deep doo-doo in the past.
2. Doing more good (charity etc) doesn’t necessarily equate to having more inner peace
This depends on the root motive for wanting to contribute your services. I tried to do charity work to “fix” my self-esteem this way. I tried making donations amounting to thousands of dollars, to bring more peace to the world, thinking it would somehow “return” the peace to me too. But alas, it didn’t work for me then.
Why? Because the truth is, I was doing those things to feel good about myself, to give myself a valid, rational reason to my mind to approve of myself. But WHO is it that’s needing the approval? And more importantly, what if there’s no more need for approval?
You see, it’s different when we do it out of a pure place of compassion, instead of like 3/4 neediness + 1/4 compassion like I did. So in the latter case, what returned to me afterwards? A feeling of more neediness for approval! More neediness to prove myself.
When we help others out of our need for approval, we get tired and drained. And when they don’t approve of the work we’ve given, we get frustrated. So let’s be aware of where we’re really coming from in all of our actions, especially the virtuous-looking ones!
3. We have to talk out our whole life history and analyze everything that went wrong to make plans to do the opposite and make things better.
If you find yourself talking and complaining about the same things with the same intensity over and over again, you know it might bring temporary relief, but over the long-term, this only focuses us more on the past and keeps us even more stuck. And it’s not just the physical talking we do with others that keeps us more stuck in our hang-ups, it’s the mental merry-go-round talking we do in our heads that we may not even be aware of.
I’m not writing this to instill fear in you, but just to highlight, it’s really important to be aware of what’s going on in our own heads. And know that just the awareness itself, then gives us a CHOICE as to how we can re-direct our thoughts. Which then changes the way we feel. Which then changes the way we experience our physical reality.
You see, thoughts are powerful things. If I tell you to think of a BIG, RIPE, JUICY, YELLOW lemon right now and hold it in one hand, and imagine a small knife ready to slice the lemon with the other hand, what happens? You start salivating and maybe your tastebuds are responding NOW as if there’s a sour taste in your mouth, yes? So THAT physical response was REAL, it was CREATED, AS IF a lemon were REALLY present even though it’s not! It’s just a sample for you to witness in real-time right now, the power of YOUR own mind to create realities with thoughts.
4: Inner peace can only be strengthened by going to a faraway place
We’ve all tried to run and fly far away to escape drudgery. And we all need that from time to time, no doubt it can be extremely comforting. The question is, when you come back, do you feel all the drudgery return like it never really left?
For a moment, let’s be aware that for the inner peace journey, HERE and NOW is a good place to start. Even when we do go far away and get blissed out on a vacation or even say a retreat, we still need to come down to earth and face the mundane stuff of life right? So we might as well start from the mundaneness and make peace with it, and then when we do go far away, be it for retreats or for vacation, we’ll know how to make it even juicier.
If you can make peace with your NOW, chances are, your vacation will feel like a real break, such that when you come back from the holiday, you won’t dread going back to work to the extent you’d have experienced in the past.
In the next post, let me show you what you can do instead. 🙂