First, you will need to understand what peace of mind is not... because if you go searching for something that doesn't exist, you will become angry. There are many, many, many people who are angry but have some sort of ambition for inner peace. These people will eventually get ill. So, let's begin with what it is not.
Peace of mind is not the lack of disturbance. The lack of disturbance comes with death. If you want a relationship or job with lack of disturbance you need to be a dictator or a criminal who shoots those who disagree. Conflict is included in your inner peace. But many mentally disturbed people seek to create a peaceful mind in order to eliminate the disturbances. That is not inner peace; it is insanity.
Peace of mind is not positive thinking. Positive thinking people are extremely entertaining, attractive, and seductive but they are dishonest both with themselves and others. However, if the person who is positive thinking knows that they are just acting positive for the benefit of making others feel good, then they will have some mental peace. On the other hand, if the individual is fighting against negativity, negative thinking or trying to only associate with positive people, they will have no peace and will have their whole life run by the mission to escape from challenges. This is a disappointing life and there is no inner calm or security in this way of living.
Peace of mind is not sitting cross legged with your eyes closed and listening to the Dalai Lama make profound insights on your iPod. That is a wonderful thing to do but it is not what we are looking for. In fact, this sort of thing leads to depression. Depression is as natural as taking a pee, but if you do not allow yourself to have moments or days of depression you will have no inner peace, always fighting what can't be fought. This is an important element, accepting what is Nature-Al rather than running around trying to fix what isn't broken.
Peace of mind is not "non violent." This world is a very diverse place. There are bullies, in all shapes and sizes. There are angry women who abuse men at work, angry men who abuse women at work, there are drunks and terrorists and mongrel people who murder and fight. If you fear this or expect to eliminate this in order to live "peacefully" you will not have a sense of tranquility. So, inner peace does not come from changing the world. Actually, the opposite is true.
Peace of mind does not come from love or relationships or families or success or wealth or religion. None of those things create comfort or calm. Maybe they do create places that are less confronting, but those places are confronting eventually. Even one billion dollars will buy you an island, idyllic space, love, friends, family and religious status - but eventually nature, your nature will get bored and make trouble for yourself. So, the answer to peace of mind, is not material.
That is enough about what peace of mind is not. Now let's talk about what peace of mind is.
Body at Peace
If you stick a pin in your arm your arm will pull away. That is automatic. You can control this to a certain degree but eventually, if you replace the pin with a red hot flame, you will lose control and your arm will pull away. So, your body has a mind of its own. This is obvious for those who are healing an illness of the body. Even if you think you can think your way out of a disease or illness you will probably need the help of interventions from outside. - drugs and surgery. So mind and body are connected but are also independent. This is the beginning of peace of mind. Health. Now, you must separate short term gratification (seeking to be happy by eating, not exercising, over exercising, drinking or whatever), and long term health. It is long term health that gives you a body that is day by day in decay (you do get older) but is relatively pain free. Pain - caused by too much of something or not enough of something - disturbs peace of mind at the very heart of it.
Mind at Peace
If someone tells you that you are stupid or dumb or wrong you will probably react. This is because your sense of self is made up from beliefs about yourself. Those beliefs about yourself are commonly called your Ego. Ego is really a bad word because it's an essential element of your nature but it's been given a bad wrap. Simply, it is better to think inspired. Inspired thinking means your ego becomes inclusive. In another way of speaking, the bigger your ego, the less you'll argue about being called stupid or dumb or a Christian or whatever. If your ego is too small, you will fight every insult, but if your ego is huge then there are no such things as insults, there are truths that don't matter. For example, if your ego is huge, like Jesus or Gandhi or Martin Luther King or some sports star, you'll find it hard to see another person on earth who has qualities, good or bad, that you don't have. So, you get what's called compassion and gratitude. Big Ego, Huge Identity is the second key to Peace of mind, because this eliminates the need for defensiveness, aggression and fear.
Spirit at Peace
Oh, if I had $1 for every corporate executive who has switched off their receptors when I've mentioned Spirit, or Heart, or Soul, I'd be a multi-millionaire today. But this is a key ingredient of peace of mind and let me tell you why. You have a body with a mind and a mind with a mind and they are often pulling each other in different directions. You might be physically attracted to someone and yet mentally disengaged from them, or visa versa. You might be in physical discomfort in an office but have your mind fully engaged in the money, result and achievement you are building. So, there can be no peace of mind while those two renegades are arguing with each other. Can there? This is where spirit comes in.
Spirit creates a binding force that aligns heart, mind and body. It's called your vision. Your real vision, inspiration and purpose is the binding force that aligns heart, mind and spine. Unless those three are aligned, which means focussed on a dream, vision, hope or purpose in life, you will be in internal conflict and that's where peace of mind goes out the window. No meditation, no isolation, no gratification can resolve the conflict that is internal when there is no vision. You will know the people in the world who have the most internal conflict and therefore the least vision because they will be ill or seeking peace in every situation they encounter.
Over the past 25 years I have been gifted to work with many thousands of people. Most have been seeking peace of mind. Most have done much in their lives to find it. Most were frustrated by the circumstances of their life because they still had turbulence, like divorce or health issues or business/career issues. Every year three or four people have pushed back at me saying they will find their answer elsewhere but within three years they are back to finish what they began. Peace of mind is not easy. It is the mission of every corporate culture to make sure you do not find peace of mind because they work to motivate you and motivation is replaced by inspiration when you find peace of mind. There are few companies in the world operating on Inspiration most are stuck in motivation, dealing with a fragmented understanding of the "total human" capacity. This will, no, must change eventually.
Peace of mind will not come from religion. Solace in the afterlife may encourage conformity in this life but this will never align heart, mind and spine even though it offers that promise. You will see the peace of mind in the faces of people leaving their place of worship and you will see it evaporate the minute they hit the cold real reality of their domestic or work life. Such splintered religious addiction serves to feed hope to the hopeless and as such has a role, but the greatest fear of your religious leaders is that you will find what we have called in this article, Peace of Mind, because on that discovery, you become independent and connected to the God and Nature and world that they promise is only available through their guidance.
Peace of mind is not peace. Peace of mind comes from health which takes discipline and sacrifices, it comes from continually expanding your ego to be inclusive and therefore to lose the separation between self and other, and it comes from alignment, aligning your heart, mind and spine to the divine - your vision, your inspirations and purpose in life.
Chris is an international change agent and keynote speaker on self leadership and personal change. He runs treks to the Nepal Himalayas each year leading groups and entrepreneurs on self-discovery journeys to the two highest trekking peaks in the world. Chris lives in Sydney Australia where you'll find him practising natural meditation techniques in Sydney Harbour on his racing ski or sea kayak. Chris Walker has also worked with the Indigenous communities in Canada.