What Is Inner Peace
And What Keeps Us From Having It?
by Ralph Hubbard
In some ways inner peace is in the eyes of the beholder. You know it when you have it. People describe it in numerous ways. One person said they have inner peace when they are fully confident in their own lovability. Another said they believe inner peace is achieved when they are living in a state of gratitude for everything life has offered them. Another definition might be those rare moments when we let go of all anger, are not being resentful of others or judging them or holding that we are somehow better than another person or group. Another might say they have inner peace when the inner commentary or chatter going on in our head, with all its accusations and demands, slows to a crawl. Inner peace is any and all of these thoughts. However you define it, you will know when you are at peace.
All this is making the assumption that at some time in your life you have been at peace within yourself. Perhaps you never have. At Living in Peace our belief is that when people have their own inner peace they are also at peace with their world. We would like to help make those moments of inner peace not be so rare. We would like to see inner peace become the rule rather than the exception in most people’s lives.
If you asked most people if they would like more inner peace, they will probably say," Sure I would like to have more inner peace”. So what keeps us from having more inner peace and all the benefits that go along with it? One of the major contributors to our lack of inner peace is when we are resentful and angry with anyone or anything. It is our resentment and anger that helps to rob us of our inner peace and joy. We might be able to rationalize our anger and resentment and perhaps get a lot of people in agreement about why we are that way, but we all know how we feel when we are angry and resentful, and its not inner peace.
Resentment is probably the single most insidious force in our world. It brings about enormous personal suffering, although we often don't see it at the time, and many believe it gives us justification to do almost anything to those we are resenting. It is at the very root of the most horrendous atrocities that humankind has inflicted on other humans. On a small scale some people believe resentment toward an employer can give them permission to steal time or supplies or worse, after all look at how badly they have treat you. Or resentment toward a spouse can give you permission to cheat on them. On a larger scale resentment toward another ethnic or religious group appears to give permission for discrimination or even genocide. I doubt that many people reading this have participated in genocide, but I'll bet you can think of some small thing your own resentment has "allowed" you to do.
Why would anyone want to hang onto a resentment when it seems to cause so much suffering? Think about some little resentment you have held on someone. The juicy little secret is that we believe we get something for holding the resentment. At the very least, we believe we get to be better than the other person or group and it seems to make it O.K. for us to act anyway we want or do anything we want towards them. We believe we are justified in our actions or thoughts. Anytime I feel down, all I have to do is drag out some old resentment toward someone and I instantly get to be better than them. With a “prize” like that it is no wonder so many people harbor resentments for so many years. Try listing some of your resentments and count how long you have held them. It will probably surprise you how the years add up.
The problem is that the “prize” is an illusion, it’s not real and the number of years you have held the resentments is how long you have had to suffer a loss to your inner peace. We don’t really get to be better than those we resent. We don’t really get permission to treat them in any despicable way we want. If we really tell the truth to ourselves, holding our resentment doesn’t hurt the other person it only hurts us. There is a huge cost to our holding onto resentments and at the very least, it cost us our inner peace. There is almost no area in our lives that resentment doesn’t cost us.
If people got the huge cost to themselves and our world for holding resentment, they would run to the nearest church, counselor, coach, or personal growth training facility and beg to learn how to let go of their resentments if they didn’t already know how.
Letting go of resentments is not the only path to inner peace, but it is a great start. Look for further discussions on this and other ways to gain inner peace in future newsletters. The newsletters are a way Living in Peace can do its part to help people have more inner peace and become a link in the chain of world peace.
Ralph Hubbard has been on a path of self discovery, enlightenment, and personal growth most of his life. The last 25+ years he has learned much through the Kairos More To Life Foundation’s More To Life program. (www.MoreToLife.org) He has seen radical change in himself and other people through this program and has seen many people loose their anger, resentments, prejudices, and intolerances and become at peace with themselves and their world. His desire to pass this knowledge on to others, so we can have a more peaceful world, is what prompted him to start the Living in Peace organization.