Most people seek happiness. Yet there comes a time when you want to transcend happiness and seek inner peace.
Happiness is like ice cream. It comes in many flavors — joy, contentment, euphoria are a few that come to mind.
And while happiness is great, what you truly seek is peace.
You want peace at home, at work, on the road, in life. Don’t you? So, how do you get there? Where is the road to peace?
While the journey ahead is long, you need never leave your home to take it.
Happiness comes and goes. The presence of something may bring you happiness and its absence robs you of the feeling.
Peace, on the other hand, doesn’t need anything external. You can never find peace outside of you.
Peace is 100% an inside affair. The only way to find inner peace is for you to embark on a personal journey. The inward journey will help you find and sustain inner peace.
What is self-discovery?
It’s a process of going through and beyond the ideas of "me-mine-myself."
It sounds easier than it really is — and it can be simple for the brave of heart. You might wonder, "How hard could this really be? It’s just myself, and I am a good person and I love myself."
True, but what "self" do you mean?
Spiritually speaking, there are three aspects of you.
The first is the "me," which is your conscious self. Everything you think is you — "I am a doctor, a mother, a teacher, a friend." That is the "you."
Next comes the "mine" part, which is composed of your possessions. Your relations — my partner, my child, my house, my car, my profession, my community. This is composed of both your conscious and your subconscious identifications.
You may take for granted your career or community, but once you lose it, you miss it.
Then comes the "myself" part. This is your self-identification — "I am 56 years old. I am a woman. I am a homemaker. I am an Indian. I am a brown woman."
When all these identifications are taken away from you, what are you left with? "This is my social security number. This is my driver’s license number. This is my date of birth."
What would you think if tomorrow, someone comes along and says, "All that you identify with is no longer true and you will be given a new identity?"
When you embark on a self-discovery journey, you revisit all your past identifications — your past possessions, all stored safely in your subconscious.
All your memories have emotions attached to them, and each emotion distorts your memory depending on your level of attachment and how long you have housed it.
A self-discovery journey takes you through a cleanup of the home that you call your life. Everything you encounter on this journey that you have either given up with gratitude or painfully.
The quicker you give up the attachment to these things, the easier it gets for you to move on and find inner peace.
Here are 5 steps to find inner peace during your self-journey:
1. Personal care through movement meditation.
You live in your body and if you take the time to listen to it, you can hear what it’s trying to tell.
You can try out all four of the options listed below, and whatever pulls you in most forcefully, stick with it and do it as often as you can throughout the week.
Each of them when done for 60-90 minutes will take you to the place of exaltation and inner peace.
- Yoga: An ancient science from India of physical, mental, and spiritual practices to yoke the mind to the body to find stillness within, which is inner peace.Related: How To Find Pain Relief With Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali
- Tai-Chi: It's known as the gentle way to fight stress, though it is so much more than that. Slow graceful movements help you flow from one posture to the next in a flow. Your body stays in constant motion and feels like a meditation promotes serenity and keeps the mind and body connected. Tai-chi is also called shadow boxing, where you fight your shadows. As you master this art, you might find you are haunted by fewer shadows in your life.
- Qi-gong: A combination of body posture, slow-flowing movement, rhythmic breathing, and meditation, which help you with your physical, emotional, and mental health and your spirituality. The practice of qi-gong helps you find balance, self-healing, and inner peace.
- Dance of the Dervishes: Also known as the Sufi whirling (turning) is a practice of the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It's an art form of active meditation still practiced in Eurasia. The practitioner listens to the sacred sounds and turns around himself in a worship ceremony, aiming to abandon ego and desires and be like the planets turning on their axes and around the sun.
Today, there are non-Islamic dancers worldwide who perform this dance. Though it is entertaining to the viewers, the dancer themselves can attain inner peace through the whirling. It is also quite calming to observe.https://youtu.be/28lWyVV5f_4
2. Chant sacred verses.
This is one of my favorites. I can sit and chant for hours, every day, morning and evening. It takes me to a place of incredible inner peace and power.
When you chant you tap into the potency of each syllable. Sacred verses are comprised of a string of sound frequencies that heal you, strengthen you and carry you closer to peace.
Chanting is more powerful than singing or reciting the same verse. To get started you could listen to sacred verses being chanted, and learn to chant them on your own. The pronunciation has to be exact for you to benefit from chanting.
3. Journaling as a contemplative meditation.
When you journal, focus on what you have learned from your experiences and what are you grateful for. When you reflect on your day, or the past, notice what hurt you and what made you happy.
Things that made you happy, note them in your journal with gratitude. Things that you remember with pain, focus on what is the lesson behind that loss. Write down the lesson and express gratitude for it.
4. Mindfulness meditation.
When you sit still in silence, you have three options, and each of them will help find inner peace.
If you're a beginner, begin by watching your breath. Notice your breath flow in and out of your nostrils. Slowly you can graduate to noticing your body expanding and contracting with each breath.
After you have been doing this regularly for a while now, you can move on to scanning your body from top to bottom and bottom to top. You learn to notice your body as it is sitting, stating, moving, or lying down.
This is called mindfulness meditation of the body.
The third mindfulness meditation is for experienced meditators. You learn to notice your mind which is made up of your thoughts and emotions. Learning to notice each of them and not getting carried away is an art that takes a lot of focused practice.
5. Peace as a way of life.
When you have been practicing all of the above for a while, peace becomes a way of life. You don’t look for it anymore, you carry it within you wherever you go.
What can you expect when you begin your journey of self-discovery toward inner peace?
The journey of self-discovery leads to increased feelings of inner peace. The more you continue on this inward journey, the more you let go of attachments to what you considered real, and the more inner peace you find.
The journey begins with a desire. You have to commit to it. An honest disclaimer would be that you are alone on this journey and it follows a one-way road.
You can pause this journey at any time, and the road will wait for you to return to it after you are done distracting yourself with your me-mine-myself associations.
Unless you're 100% a recluse, living on your own in the wilderness, there will be plenty of time to exist in the outer world of pleasure and pain and then there's time to get to work on the path of peace.
Keya Murthy, M.S. works as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Spiritual Life Coach, and Energy Medicine Practitioner at the Ventura Healing Center. She’s a #1 International Bestselling author and her book The Book On Happiness: How To Have Peace And Stability As A Working Mom is a must for all care providers.