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How to Attain Peace: Part 1

In an episode about dying in the wonderful 80's sitcom, The Golden Girls, Sophia the matriarch says, "We're not in this life for peace." As shocking as it might sound, most people still don't understand this. They spend their entire lives trying to re-frame reality, trying to convince themselves that life is about constancy, not tumultuous change.

So, peace as we're trying to achieve it is not attainable. Accruing more and more wealth to buy more and more for comfort so we have to think and do less and less is not the way to achieve peace. Trying to forgo suffering and death are not successful ways either. So what to do? How do we maximize the attainment of peace in our lives? Here are three organic ways to promote more internal peace in your life, if you find that you are not where you want to be yet:

1. Letting go of the need to control. We all know exactly which outcome we want, which house, which job, which marriage, which death. Which we rarely get. Or not in the way we intended. Think about all of the things we plan for, and even in our best planning, they never quite happen as we envisioned them to happen - the devil is indeed in the details. We get cocky, thinking that what we plan must inevitably happen because planning is the sensible, correct thing to do. But life often goes very differently than what we've conjured up, and such alone should serve as a reminder that we are often fundamentally planning against the grain, counter to a larger plan on divine timing. It's okay to plan - we need to give ourselves purpose for accomplishment to distract and liberate us as much as possible from our basic primalness - but planning itself doesn't give us peace. It's actually the loosening up of our desire for control through planning which gives us peace. When you don’t worry as much about everything going your exact way, you become much more at peace with the natural flow to life.

2. Focusing on the right values. The right values might not seem readily apparent. After all, the values of the accrual of status and wealth appear to bring us what we want. But these attributes, while bringing us to a certain point, are limited in being able to offer us peace. Other values, a humble sense of self, a desire to be transparent, a desire to remain materially minimalistic, a desire to be still, a desire to not carry baggage forward and into everything we do, and a desire to be kind to all creatures and to our planet, will help orient us towards peace. In practicing these types of values, we stand a better chance of emancipating ourselves from the folly of the societal train of self-aggrandizement, and forging our own path toward greater tranquility.

3. Seeking out peace. As simple as it sounds, in order to find peace within, we need to seek it without. It's important to seek out things which promote accord and calm. It is important to shy away from people, situations, substances, and technology which over-stimulate us, in favor of things which bring out our connection to the universe. It's important to seek out a connection to nature, to promote our natural world, and to cultivate a faith in the universe without rigid religiosity. If you actively search for peacefulness, in your practice and your encounters, you will find it more and more.


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