Technology innovation have enriched the lives of everyone. Today, we can find anything out in seconds, communicate across the globe instantly, and make money without even leaving the comfort of our homes. As wonderful as these things are, as more information than any one person can ever learn becomes accessible and there becomes more to do than any single person can ever accomplish, many people find they are struggling to be satisfied and happy with their lives. This begs the question: how is it possible to be grateful for what you have when the whole of the world seems to constantly strive to go faster and get more?
There is no one right answer for this; no two people are identical, therefore must undergo different journeys to reach a state of inner tranquility. The basic principle of it is similar for people from all walks of life, however. Rooted in Taoist beliefs and Confucian principles, the concept of inner peace teaches that happiness is not based on external stimuli or achievements, but is instead obtained via self-acceptance, gratitude, and being aware of your own feelings and emotions.
Best-selling author Barrie Davenport discussed one her role models in regards to inner peace, the legendary character Atticus Finch, in her article “How to Find Inner Peace.” Mr. Finch, from the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has gone down as a legend of American literature, even being mentioned by President Obama in his Jan. 10, 2017, Farewell Address in Chicago. The former President quoted Atticus Finch, saying, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Atticus Finch is such a respected fiction character because of the way he carries himself in the novel and movie. He is slow to anger, has nothing to prove, and is diplomatic and reserved even in the most menacing of situations. After being cursed out by a drunken farmer and spat on, the lawyer manages to choose his words carefully, wipe his face, and walk away. Not many of us could be so calm.
This calmness in the face of an ugly situation is something that can only be exhibited by an individual who possesses total inner peace and a keen ability to recognize what truly matters and what does not. Obtaining inner peace is a personal journey one must embark upon alone, but there is plenty of wisdom and teaching to aid you in your quest.
The first important personal step is to take a moral inventory of your life. Ask yourself – “What is unresolved in my life? What stressors do I have?” Whether these stressors be relationships, guilt or resentment you have been harboring, unrealized ambitions, or anything else, take stock of the things in your life that are causing you turmoil. This concept is best summarized in the first verse of the Serenity Prayer, which reads “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Recovering addicts in practicing 12-step programs are made to do much the same thing in regards to how their addictions have impacted their lives. They take a personal inventory of every relationship, opportunity, and object that has been affected by their addiction, and, except when to do so would cause unnecessary harm (i.e. a drunk driver attempting to visit the family of the person he killed once he is released from prison), to make amends wherever possible.
Self-awareness is a huge piece of finding tranquility. Recognizing how you react to certain situations; realizing what you have the power to do and what you cannot do, and accepting this; and striving to be true to yourself and others are all incredibly important in the search for peace and true happiness.
Written by Sean Cashen
Davenport, Barrie. “How to Find Inner Peace.” Live Bold and Bloom. N.p., Sept. 2012. Web. 21 Jan. 2017. <http://liveboldandbloom.com/09/lifestyle/how-to-find-inner-peace>.
Obama, Barack, President. “Read the Full Transcript of President Obama’s Farewell Speech.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2017. Web. 25 Jan. 2017. <http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-obama-farewell-speech-transcript-20170110-story.html>.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960. Print.