I’ll admit, this week’s been a tough one for me. With friends and family facing unpredictable fires, I have felt concerned and helpless. This morning as I sought my own inner peace amidst these circumstances, I realized I have something to offer those suffering. This piece from my book came to mind. It is all about finding inner calm when facing outer chaos. May this help you manage the fears that come along with being human in a broken world. Peace to you.
Skill to Master #19: Seeking and sustaining inner peace
Our world is in a frenzy of fear. Stories splash across our screens of both global and local terrorist attacks. We witness our world at war. Tragedies, in the forms of accidents and health risks, plague us. We witness a continual stream of messages that scream why we are unsafe in this world.
While we cannot change the uncertainty of the future, our response to this reality will either help or hurt humanity.
When external chaos breeds internal turmoil, we humans can make destructive decisions rooted in our mismanaged fears. In the words of Kristen Neff, “Oftentimes our reactions to these feelings are the most harmful, not the feelings themselves.” Avoiding the escalation of hatred and violence in the world will necessitate the effective management of our fears. I believe this begins with our personal pursuit of peace.
A climactic scene from the movie Kung Fu Panda 2 reflects the power of finding peace in the midst of scary situations. Po the Panda found himself in a frightening situation, standing alone on a rock, surrounded by water, with a powerful cannon pointed directly at him. As his enemy prepared to finish him, Po prepared his heart. He grounded himself. Po tapped into something deeper, something greater. When Po finally found his inner peace, he was empowered to endure the impossible. When the cannon balls boomed, he stood in his strength. The metal spheres made impact. Yet, instead of meeting his end, Po skillfully sent them back to sender. Po’s surprising victory was rooted in the visceral calm he connected with. Similarly, when we experience internal peace, we too can stand our ground amidst the barrage of trials and temptations that torpedo toward us.
The pursuit of inner peace is particularly important for those of us recovering from addiction. We have a history of searching for peace in all the wrong places. We are skilled at calming ourselves by counterfeit means. We know how to numb. But in recovery, we learn to reach for what is real. We learn that peace that is packaged like pornography and decorated like drugs is illegitimate and illusory. Abandoning false paths to peace, we pursue authentic ones.
May all who long for peace in the midst of life’s terrors and temptations consider the following avenues: