Monday, January 28, 2013

The elusive inner peace

Inner Peace
Could there be a more lofty goal?  Could there be a more worthwhile one?

A true cultivator of the Tao has unparallelled inner peace.  Today I have been contemplating what it will take for me to obtain inner peace.  Obviously this is a long and intensive process, as I'm not feeling very peaceful at the moment.  I think striving for this kind of peace during turbulent times in my life is quite valuable.  If I can keep some semblance of it now, then I can have confidence that I can find inner peace any time in my life.

Here are the steps I'm currently working on:

~ Embrace Change
     It is a very difficult thing to do, as we humans are hard wired to resist change.  Remaining flexible (flowing like a river) allows inner peace to flourish because the struggle to resist change is let go.

~ Detach from Outcomes
    Not being attached to outcomes is something the Tao talks of often.  My actions should come from within, not based on the potential outcomes I see.  I should be motivated by simplicity, compassion, and humility in all that I do.  By letting go of perceived "correct reactions" to my actions, I can keep inner peace regardless of the outcome of any situation.

~ See Truth
     This is perhaps the one that I struggle with the most.  I recently asked a Taoist master how I could work on my confidence.  He answered simply, "See the authentic truth."  This means looking at myself in a truly honest and objective manner.  I tend to be quite hard on myself in all aspects, boarding on self-loathing.  My husband often points out that I think everyone is better than me, even people I've never met.  If I look at myself from an authentic truth, however, I know that I am no more or less worthy of anything than someone else is.  Seeing truth erases judgements and allows me to accept everyone and everything as it is, even myself. 

I decided that these three things will be the first steps of my thousand mile journey to inner peace.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I recently got started attending temple again, and boy am I glad.  It seems that I get pulled away from my path more easily than I would like to admit.  I've been going through some tough times, and sometimes it's easier to feel sorry for myself instead of work through it.  Undoubtedly, every time I log into temple (its a physical group in California that also broadcasts online) the topic is something that hits home. 

Here are a few things that have really gotten me thinking recently. 

The yin/yang partner of love is not hate, but fear.
This is something that really speaks to me, as someone who has battled anxiety for some time, fear is a very real emotion that is felt every day.  The point was made that hate almost always comes from fear in some way, which I find mostly true as well.  It really got me thinking because if I am fearing something, I am doing the opposite of loving it.  I try to walk a path of love, so this is jarring, thinking that I am perpetuating the opposite.

The Tao Te Ching can be interpreted in a personal manner.
On the surface, this is something I already knew, but hadn't thought of in this specific context.  They took the first verse of the Tao Te Ching and applied it directly to you as an individual.  This is possible because the book is about the Tao, and the Tao is part of all of us, therefore each statement is about us.  Pretty deep, I know, so it got me thinking.

You are responsible for everything that happens to you.
This one is really hard for me to swallow, mainly because of the tough times I am experiencing with starting a family.  I feel so incredibly helpless in this area, it seems preposterous to say I am responsible for what is happening to me.  They explained that it is not so much that I am always in control, because some things are out of my control.  The thing I can control is my reaction to what happens, therefore I am responsible for that.

So these are the things I'm thinking about at the moment.  Feeling very contemplative.