When groups of people are asked what they most want out of life, one of the highest ranking goals stated is inner peace. Since so many are seeking it, it is not surprising that there are many methods that have been attempted to achieve it. Attaining inner peace is a topic of great discussion and many men and women seem to struggle to attain or even understand if it can be achieved. With so many different methods promising peace and the various techniques that are associated with the approach it can be challenging to determine what would work best. Some may even wonder if the search for peace is even possible to attain in our busy, modern society.
Is Meditation the Answer to Peace?
Perhaps one of the most well-known paths to inner peace that many individuals hear about and strive to work with is meditation. The particular definition of meditation often depends on the individual or group defining the activity.
Meditation in a variety of formats is found in every cultures and the particular origin depends on the group suggesting the activity. While it might seem rooted in Buddhist or Hindu cultures essentially all cultures and religions have forms of meditation and have practiced them, in some cases, for thousands of years. Meditation is also found in indigenous cultures, as well as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. As a result, the specific approach to meditation depends on the cultural and religious background of the group.
In general, meditation is a method of quieting and clearing the mind so that the problems, stresses, and other issues are set aside for a short period of time, but there are also more active forms of meditation. Regardless of the particular method of meditating, the fact is that it can and does help diminish stress, anxiety, and negative reactions. While this may sound contradictory to what meditation is, the term can be broadened to include methods of getting in touch with issues and then employing techniques of letting them go so that the mind is able to break free of the problems preventing inner peace. In this case, the meditation process becomes a means to an end which is a peaceful and quiet state. That state itself is said to be a meditative state.
Instead of completely ignoring the thoughts, the goal is to let them fall away so that they do not encumber the mind or have a negative effect on the mind and body. One way to do this is to identify the distraction, apply a label to it such as thinking, judging, story, drama, etc., and then let it go. You will discover that this method seems to set the mind at rest. You will find more ideas on dealing with distracting thoughts in my free article titled “The Quiet Mind“.
Meditation is more easily practiced in our modern society than you might imagine because it can take as little as ten minutes at a time. Common methods of meditating vary, but can include repeating a sacred word or phrase, looking at a candle flame, closing the eyes and focusing on the breath, or even looking at a flower to notice all of the detail while feeling the beauty of the flower embrace you. The goal is allowing the stress and thoughts to fall away while the mind focuses on something else.
Spiritual Pathways to Peace
Inner peace is not only attained through meditation, but also through spirituality. Taking the spiritual path is a form of gaining peace by handing the reins of the mind over to a higher power of some kind. Whether that authority is the universe, God or even several different gods, the path toward inner peace is similar. This approach surrenders the mind and thoughts and opens to deeper spiritual realizations.
The spiritual path is more than just giving up the stress and anxiety that leads to negative thinking and health problems. It is about belief in a higher power and allowing the mind and soul to follow the guide of that divine Source.
Turning to spirituality means recognizing the higher power and then striving to get in touch with the inner soul that is able to connect to the divine. It also can include giving up control and personal will in order to embrace inner guidance and inspiration. You will find much more on this subject in my free article titled “The Ego, The True Self, and Surrender“.
Depending on the particular spiritual group, the path often includes prayers and faith-based trust that the divine power will help remove the obstacles that are causing stress. By holding a spirit of continual prayer it acts in a similar way to meditation by focusing the mind on the higher power rather than on the problems or stresses, which allow them to fall away. The added belief or faith in a deity allows the stress and anxiety to remain low and keeps the mind from focusing on negativity when it enters the mind.
The spiritual path to reach inner peace requires dedication and often also requires spending time with a religious authority or teacher who can guide one in refining the process. In modern society, it can be a challenge to sustain, but it is possible when the habit is established for setting aside a few minutes for prayer and meditation on a regular basis.
Attaining Mature Emotional Balance
Meditation and spirituality are only two of the most popular schools of thought in regards to inner peace. Reaching emotional balance is another option that puts less emphasis on spirituality and puts a larger focus on managing the emotions. Since emotions are a key part of stress, anxiety, and even health problems, it is a useful way to reach for peach in the mind and body.
Working toward emotional balance starts with recognizing the emotions and determining elements that contribute to ever changing emotional states. By learning how emotions form, it is possible to work out the negative emotions and stress before they get out of control.
Behind every negative emotion is an inner belief that things should be different from the way they are. Many times these beliefs are at a subconscious level and therefore a person may not immediately recognize what the underlying belief pattern is that is causing the reaction. This subject is covered extensively in my program “Live Stress Free“.
Emotional balance in life is about recognizing the emotional state, acknowledging the factors causing the emotion and then letting the negative emotions fall away.
Peace takes time, effort, and that application of methods that work for each individual. Whether it is about focusing the mind on something through meditation, giving over responsibility to a higher power, or managing the emotions, attaining peace will take commitment, but worth every minute of time spent to attain peace of mind. I have a three hour program titled “In Search of Peace” I hope you’ll find helpful.