From the archives:
A few years ago, I was asked 3 little questions about inner peace by a spiritual friend. I thought I'd share my answers here with you today. Despite the passage of time, my answers remain the same.
"Do you have a practice to cultivate inner peace in your life?"
Out of absolute necessity, I have many practices I use each day to stay as serene as possible. I was a nervous child. I kiddingly say that inherited worry genes from my dad’s side of the family and anxiety genes from my mother’s side. I tend to “feel” everything. So in 1994, when I’d maxed out my health due to stress (worry and anxiety too), I discovered mindfulness and the work of Thich Nhat Hanh. That was a turning point for me and since then I have had a deep passion for living as peacefully as possible.
My favorite inner peace practice is connecting with nature. Nature, for me, is my “God” connection. All of nature is sacred and all I need to do to feel relaxed and at ease in my life is to step outside, lift my face to the sky, breathe, and heighten my senses to get plugged into feelings of peace, gratitude and joy. Works every time!
"And, in what ways is that inner peace amplified/enriched by external?"
Mindfulness practice (which I have engaged in for over 20 years now) invites me to let everything in and use it as spiritual practice. If the world hands me a difficult situation, I can actually use this is a prompt to go within and access my innate peace. Peace is always there, ready for the taking. If the world offers up a delight, mindfulness allows me to stop, take notice, and indulge that experience. There are many exterior things that amplify peace for me. Nature, acts of kindness, art, music, the essence of people, animals. Simple things. The sound of leaves moving with the breeze, the touch of my husband’s hand, the sweet taste of ripe strawberries. Anything can touch our essence (our core) and amplify peace if we have the eyes to perceive it and the open heart to receive.
"Do you have a favorite quote about peace and if so, how do you apply it within your life?"
"No matter what is happening in our lives, peace is possible."
This phrase comes via one of my mentors, Sylvia Boorstein. No matter what is happening in the world, no matter how difficult things are, we have the capability to change our mind about how we respond to life. We can live elegantly, creating beauty, love and kindness everywhere we go. Or, we can perpetuate small-mindedness, live in fear or anger, creating dissension or harm—even to ourselves—by holding onto certain mindsets and behaviors. The choice is ever ours to embody our essence, which is peace. Anyone can do this. It simply takes the awareness and will to do so.
You might enjoy and glean great benefits from my book, Portable Peace: A Weekly Guidebook. If you want to feel more at ease within yourself and bring a blessing of peace to the world by being more calm, clear and wise, this book can take you there.
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Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.