The greatest obstacle to finding inner peace is the belief that there is something wrong with you, that your life is wrong. That's pretty obvious. As long as we are focused on what is wrong rather than what is right we will never be content in this moment. if only we were thinner, richer, younger, smarter...if only I did this or that....if only I could win the lottery then I could experience more peace.
The belief you have is that with your current set of circumstances finding inner peace is not possible. The thoughts are that peace is dependent on something changing, on something being different. So, people just try to fix themselves in different ways. Most people focus solely on the negative and this is the trap that prevents inner peace. By focusing on what is wrong, we are reinforcing the idea that we are in some way broken and incapable of experiencing fulfillment now.
By focusing on and trying to push away the bad stuff or change it into better stuff, we are forever judging this moment as not good enough and therefore postponing our happiness. Whenever there is judgement or negativity we cannot be at peace with ourselves. If we focus on finding things to fix we will endlessly discover more things to fix. And when is the point reached when you think "OK, I'm perfect done... now I can be happy?" It won't happen.
Finding inner peace involves giving up searching and just accepting the who, where, what and why of this very moment. Contrary to what some may tell you, inner peace is not found through self-improvement, it comes from self-acceptance.
We are programmed with so many beliefs that we never stop to question. For example "Feeling sad is a bad thing." or "There is something wrong with being angry." Where did these ideas come from? Who says so? It's natural to feel emotions, it is healthy to be sad at a loss, or angry when wronged. When we learn to embrace the emotions we find peace. It is not the sadness that robs you of your peace...it is the little commentator in your head that tells you something is wrong. Guess what, the commentator is wrong! The amazing thing is that you can experience sadness, anger, fear AND be completely at peace.
Instead of judging our feelings accept them, live them. Judgment is more the thief of peace than sadness or fear. Life comes with good and bad, we have to experience life and all it brings us, accepting life as it is is a key to inner peace.
Peace is experienced when we allow everything to be as it is without resistance, when we learn to embrace every experience, the good and the bad. Of course, life will bring us heartache and loss, it's a natural part of life. When we are at peace we can accept our sadness, our grief and our anger instead of fighting it.
Say you are feeling down for example. First you are aware of the feeling and then comes the commentary "This is bad", "Will I never be free of this", "Everybody seems to be OK except me", "What on earth is wrong with me" and so forth. The feeling in itself isn't that bad. It is the 'story' around the feeling that robs us of our peace.
Finding inner peace is not about changing our thoughts, feelings or emotions (that would be an endless task), but rather about changing our relationship with the mind. What we understand, we become free of. Through understanding how suffering is created, we become free of it.
When you accept what is you stop feeding energy into resisting what is. You don’t make a problem more powerful and sticky in your mind. Instead, when you accept what is it loses much of its power. It just is. Now, accepting what is doesn’t mean to give up. It just means that you put yourself in a better position to take action if necessary. Because now you can see more clearly, you can focus your energy towards what you want and take the appropriate action to change your situation.
By accepting what is it is much easier to let go of things and to forgive what has happened. Forgiveness is important because as long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too, from all of that agony. Forgiveness of ourselves and forgiveness of others combined with the acceptance of this moment in life will bring peace.
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” -St. Francis de Sales
Ref: Richard Paterson