I have found that most of my life has been in pursuit of happiness. By studying hard, working overtime, and going the extra mile, I hoped to obtain a higher level of happiness. However, I can not imagine a happy life without at least some level of peace involved.
Some of the happiest people I know all have a calmness to their living. Nothing seems to phase them, and they are appreciative of every moment in their lives.
I do not believe that a constant state of flourishing in our human experience exists. However, a combination of peace and happiness certainly brings us close to it.
A state of happiness tends to mean different things to different people. We all draw happiness from unique experiences and pursuits we embark on in our journey of life.
But a state of peace tends to have a similar meaning for many of us. It tends to be defined as a place where we are free of all stress and worry. It is a place that is quiet and allows us to hear our thoughts.
For most of our lives, we are surrounded by states of chaos. We are either on the way to work, rushing to a meeting or surrounding ourselves with companions. Chaos is not necessarily a bad thing. It is part of life, and we must live through it.
Nevertheless, I am sure we have all had a moment of peace in our lives. A time away from everything and to hear our thoughts. In these moments of tranquillity, we regain hope in ourselves and life.
Yet still, in my own life, I find myself rarely in a state of peace, and I am sure I am not the only one in this boat. So, how can we build peace into our regular lives?
The Importance of Being Separate
In some sense, peace is as much about being separate as it is about being present. Meditation is often promoted as the best way to obtain some peace in your everyday life. And it is a great way to remain present and zone in on the moment.
However, I have never known anyone to meditate in a noisy environment. Instead, they shut the door and block out all noise. They ensure to be completely separate from their normal operating environment to find the peace they seek.
Although the focus of meditation is to be present, it is the act of being separate that allows us to appreciate our present state. Deliberately switching off external events allows us to appreciate the peace we have in the present moment.
Upon looking closer, I have found that separating myself from situations in life has often led to greater peace. However, an internal separation from self has also allowed me to appreciate my own hardships and find peace in them.
For a long time, I was looking for peace by separating myself from my external surroundings. However, I have found greater peace through learning to separate myself from my internal suffering. And that drove me to be compassionate towards myself.
Compassion for Self
We are often compassionate to others. We see their suffering and try our best to emphasize it. Despite our compassion for others, we tend to be hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up for feeling low and being in a state of chaos.
However, our hardships are just as important as the hardships we emphasize with. I would argue that our struggles are even more vital because our health and wellbeing depend on them.
For most of us, we try to find peace in becoming separate from our own surroundings. We close the door to reality for a moment and experience peace separate from it. However, we must open the door to reality once more.
Unfortunately, we spend much of our lives in chaos. That may be trying to meet deadlines at work, building a company or trying to be a good parent. Although many of these things present themselves as external, much of our chaos comes from within.
We are constantly talking to ourselves about how we hope to deal with things. For the most part, we are always conscious of the chaos we possess within as our minds continuously remind us of it.
As a result, we tend to internalize this chaos as not being good enough or lacking in some sense. And although there may be some truth to us needing to do better, we will always be far from perfect.
Our human experience, both external and internal, is full of misfortune. We will go through times of struggle and experience times of heartache. It is part of life.
However, our ability to show compassion to ourselves is a way of acknowledging that life is difficult. We can tell ourselves that our suffering is severe and that life is tough. You should be allowed to express compassion towards your situation and seek comfort in yourself.
Self-Compassion as a Way to Peace
The most effective compassion comes when we are outside of someone’s suffering. When we listen to their experience and feel their pity, we can bring comfort and a sense of peace to that individual. And it is the same for ourselves.
For a long time, I tried to find peace by blocking out my external suffering. I closed the doors to my reality and tried to remain content. However, I was always hit with the wave of reality once I opened the doors again.
True peace is not found in our ability to escape our suffering, but it is found in our ability to embrace it. And self-compassion provides a way for us to embrace our suffering.
By separating ourselves from our suffering, we can begin to see life from a different angle. We can start to realize that not everything is our fault, and we do not have to pick up all the pieces. We can be at peace with our current situation because we have already come so far.
So, practice taking time out to be compassionate towards your experience. You are only human after all, and life is not perfect. We will make wrong choices, and bad things will happen.
Yet still, we can live a life of peace when we accept that our human experience is challenging. And that our ability to keep going is an act of bravery in itself.