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Inner peace is not a lofty pursuit

There is a scene in the Hollywood movie Kung Fu Panda, where Master Shifu—in a state of complete agitation—asks Master Oogway for advice on how to ward off the demon Tai Lung, who is about to attack their settlement. Oogway, in response, prods the surface of the pond they are standing next to and says, “Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But when you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.” Inner peace, therefore, is something every warrior must possess, he tells Shifu. And this is the lesson that Shifu goes on to teach the Dragon Warrior Po later in the story.

Even for those of us who aren’t Kung Fu warriors, the pursuit of inner peace is an important one. After all, we all go through ups and downs in life. We crib, complain, and anguish under the weight of life’s difficulties. We wish, we knew the secret to a calm, centred mind. Most of us spend our entire lives trying to find this elusive inner peace. A few of us do manage to find it, perhaps, after years of meditation or through intense suffering and introspection.

What if there were a simpler way to achieve inner peace? In this feature, Soulveda explores daily habits that can help us maintain emotional hygiene, and in turn, achieve inner peace.

Be kind, tell the truth

Honesty and integrity are among the highest virtues a human being must possess. Always speaking the truth and making sure our thoughts, words, and actions are in line can help us be true to ourselves and those around. When we are honest with those around us, we can solidify true friendships and bid goodbye to unhealthy ones. When we are honest with ourselves, we can make peace with our strengths, weaknesses and the truth about our lives.

Taking some time off every day to relax and reconnect with ourselves is highly crucial if we wish to find inner peace. For some, quiet introspection alone works, while others prefer to engage in an exercise routine, meditation or a hobby.

This can help us dissipate our defence mechanisms and become comfortable in our own skin. In the company of true friends and our true selves, we can lead peaceful lives. As writer and poet Khalil Gibran once said: “Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness.”

Don’t suppress your feelings

Thinking positive when faced with hardships is great. It helps us focus on the good as we struggle to deal with the bad. But this habit shouldn’t force us to deny our negative feelings. It’s natural for human beings to experience emotions like dejection, loneliness, disappointment, anger, etc. It is important for us to feel these emotions, vent them out and address them. Sweeping them under the rug or suppressing them may lead to severe psychological issues over time. Moreover, when pent-up feelings come bursting out—as they often do—they can break our façade of positivity and adversely affect our relationships.

When we treat negative emotions as signals from our brain drawing our attention to certain aspects of our lives, we can use them as tools that help us solve problems and live our lives better.

Go with the flow

“Someone said to Voltaire, “Life is hard.” Voltaire replied, “Compared to what?”, writes Julian L Simon in The State of Humanity.

Everyone has struggles in life. The key to getting through the struggles is to stop resisting. When we make peace with the fact that life is supposed to be hard; that it is supposed to push us to fight, learn and be better versions of ourselves, we begin to change. We stop brooding and start thinking of ways to address them. We learn to go with the flow and take life one day at a time. This attitude aids in eliminating anxiety and helps us live in the moment. It also teaches us gratitude: when things go right, we are thankful.

Make peace a priority

In today’s fast-paced world, everyone is constantly on an adrenaline rush. The pursuit of deadlines at work, dealing with family crisis one after, and coping with the pressure of fulfilling our personal goals keeps us on our toes all day, every day. While none of these responsibilities can be compromised on, we need to remember that constantly staying in the ‘fight or flight’ mode is extremely harmful to the body and the mind. Taking some time off every day to relax and reconnect with ourselves is highly crucial if we wish to find inner peace. For some, quiet introspection alone works, while others prefer to engage in an exercise routine, meditation or a hobby. Irrespective of how we might choose to do it, we must make time to look within so we are able to see our lives clearly.

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