How to Find Inner Peace: 5 Timeless Thoughts

by Henrik Edberg


Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/ / CC BY 2.0

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake.”
Paramahansa Yogananda

Finding peace within is a wonderful but also a difficult thing. It is easy to go looking for it in the wrong places.

So here are 5 timeless thoughts to help guide you to the places where you can actually find it.

1. Simplify.

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.”
Peace Pilgrim

Making thing simpler has certainly brought a lot of inner peace to my life. So, a few of my favorite suggestions on how to simplify your life:

  • Use a limited to-do list. Only 2 or 3 of the most important things.
  • Set limits. Set limits for daily checking of inboxes. I do it only once a day. Set time limits for small decisions and make them within seconds after you have thought about them to avoid procrastination and overthinking. Set time limits for tasks such as 15 minutes each day for answering emails or for using Twitter. Set a limit for commitments and say no to be able to feel less stress and produce better results.
  • Remember to “keep things extremely simple”. I have written down that sentence on my white board and it is a daily and constant reminder that helps me when I lose my way.

2. Accept.

“Acceptance of others, their looks, their behaviors, their beliefs, bring you an inner peace and tranquility – instead of anger and resentment.”
Unknown

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, somewhat counter intuitively, when you accept what is it loses much of its power. It just is.

And you feel stillness inside. Now, accepting what is doesn’t mean to give up. It just means that you put yourself in a better position 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.

3. Forgive.

“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.”
Gerald Jampolsky

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. The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and – as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.

When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too from all of that agony.

One thing to keep in mind is to not just forgive others but also yourself. By forgiving yourself – instead of resenting yourself for something you did a week or 10 years ago – you make the habit of forgiveness more and more of a natural part of you. And so forgiving others becomes easier too.

Also, what you think is a question of forgiving others you may sometimes – after some time and inner struggle – discover is just as much, if not more, about forgiving yourself rather than the other person.

4. Do what you enjoy.

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.”
Roger Caras

When you do what you enjoy there is a natural peace that arises within. You are in alignment with your outer world. This also leads to a lot more success than if you have a lot of inner turmoil and really don’t care that much for your work.

One of my favorite tips for finding things you enjoy or love doing is simply to explore life. To be curious and try things out and see what you think of them. This can bring many insights both about yourself and about how things really are when you do them rather than when they are just theories floating around in your head.

If you have read my ebook The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness then you know that there is a whole chapter in it about finding and doing what you love with exercises and tips for further reading. So if you haven’t checked out the book yet, go to this page for instructions on how to get you own free copy.

5. Be careful with your inner 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

By using the tips above and by living in the present moment you can find a lot more inner peace. Not only during days when things go as planned. But also on days when your world is upset and things aren’t so easy. On such days your inner peace will be very useful to help you make good decisions and to get things done. So be smart, stay calm and be careful with your inner peace.




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{ 27 comments }

Tony Teegarden February 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Amazing post Henrik.

I was just writing about this. I’ve found for me all of my life experiences that were prior to living consciously as a loving human being, I had acquired lots of life stuff as beliefs and fixed perceptions about the way life actually was. (Not at all true of course)

For me finding inner piece has been about peeling away those layers of beliefs while practicing much of what you outlined above. In the beginning stages of this work I found I was attempting to overlay peace on top of chaos. It didn’t work very well. However once I started working on the shadow beliefs I had acquired over the years and shedding light on them, I was able to find more of that inner peace.

This is a great post you’ve shared, I’d say for me at least and maybe some of the other readers looking further into competing commitments and shadow beliefs may assist in making the peace more accessible and applicable. It won’t be true for everyone but may be for someone. Just as your post was timely for me today.

Thank you my friend.

Kathleen Krucoff February 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Thanks so much for this post. Perfect timing for me this week! Great words of wisdom.

Positively Present February 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Great post on finding inner peace. This is just what I needed today!

Joy Johnson February 26, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Thank you! I so needed this right at this moment! Just had a total meltdown because a client asked us to email something they should have saved three years ago when we emailed it the first time – and have asked to have emailed to them about a hundred times since. I know I ought not let others “steal my joy” but sometimes I just can’t quite live up to that. Thank you for lifting me up and setting me back down on the right path.

Chris Akins February 26, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Great article! All of these really resonate with me. I particularly like “Accept.” Acceptance is one of the keys to happiness. I would add living in the present, or mindfulness. Acceptance and mindfulness are related. Adopting a mindfulness practice can do wonders for inner peace.

Chris

Prague February 27, 2010 at 1:38 am

Forgiveness helps you be free.

I found your comments on forgiveness very insightful, well worth repeating:

“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. The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and – as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.

When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too from all of that agony.”

And something to expand on another time, too.

Aaron Wong February 27, 2010 at 6:27 am

Henrik this was a great topic to write about. Everyone is always looking to achieve inner piece. Civilizations have been studying this for centuries.

Though I liked each one of your suggestions for achieving inner peace, I was particularly fond of forgiveness. When we think of inner peace often we think about the other things you mentioned. Feelings of hate, disgust, and regret are extremely powerful and inhibiting emotions. They imprison us for lengthy periods.

Breaking this chain can be liberating. This is especially because it’s easy to keep feeding hate and regret. When we do this they just keep growing. Cutting this string enables us to free ourselves of these underlying currents of negativity and to focus on what matters.

Great job.

Oscar - freestyle mind February 27, 2010 at 7:32 am

I love the first tip, simplify. Acceptance is tricky, you may accept something as it is, but still continue on your way. It’s hard to change something existing, especially people’s mind, but you can still continue in your path.

Martyna February 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

hi
I would add one more :
“think BIG or go home” D.Trump

meaning-explore your creative genius!

adios:) Martyna

Alex- Feeling Good February 27, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Sound advice- and, simple advice which is how it should be. One thing I do if there’s a task I feel unmotivated to do, such as cleaning- is do it for the duration of a favourate CD. Many of these ideas are also reflected in cognitive behavioral therapy, especially the acceptance paradox.

Colbycheeze February 28, 2010 at 2:04 am

There is a lot of truth to this post. I am currently trying to further simplify and set limits on my time. I find that things get much less chaotic and it is easier to stay in the moment when I do.

Jeremy Johnson February 28, 2010 at 4:27 am

Only 15 minutes on twitter, email, etc…? That’s actually good advice. I never thought about setting time limits for specific tasks, but that makes a lot sense, especially if you have a lot to accomplish.

I would add that another way to have inner peace is to reach out and assist others – and let others assist you. I think allowing guest posts on your blog would help with your inner peace ;)

P.S. Have you guest posted on anyone else’s blog? And if you did, what was your experience like with it?

Henrik Edberg March 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Hehe, yeah, I may allow guest posts again sometime in the future, but for now I prefer to keep it this way.

I guest posted once on a blog about two or three years ago, it brought quite a few new visitors. I think that is the only time I have done so, but I may guest post more in the future since that was a good experience.

Meg at Demanding Joy February 28, 2010 at 4:44 am

I too needed this today. Thanks so much for your wisdom.

Francesca February 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I’ve been writing on a similar topic myself. I was a huge worrier. I’ve found, like you’ve mentioned, the just by simplifying my priorities and living in the present moment, in a few short weeks I’ve become a much more serene being. Each morning I set a to-do list consisting of only 2 or 3 goals and anything that doesn’t need to be thought about until tomorrow can be on tomorrow’s list. It’s quite amazing how quickly you can find this inner peace. Great article. :)

Anne Samoilov February 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Adding to the list of people who really needed this today!

I’m so happy I discovered your blog. Thanks for sharing these powerful reminders on how to achieve inner peace.

Motivational Speaker - Craig Harper March 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Great post! I’d like to add. “Let go of the need to be liked.”

1. Don’t compromise yourself in order to be liked. You’ll be liked by others (perhaps) and loathed by yourself. Don’t work at being popular, work at being you. It’s a lot easier and requires a lot less energy and acting.

2. Identify your core values – the things that are most important to you – and live a life in alignment with those values. That way you are being your authentic self rather than trying to satisfy somebody else’s needs, expectations, values, demands and rules. When your decisions and behaviours are a reflection of your core life values, you will be living a life of synergy, harmony and contentment, the “need” to be liked will be a non-issue.

Henrik Edberg March 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Thank you for adding all your insights and experiences with finding inner peace! :)

Greg Blencoe March 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Henrik,

Outstanding article!

While I agree with all five, I am going to focus my comment on #1.

I have found so much peace over the past six months from simplifying my life. I basically applied the 80/20 rule to remove a lot of things from my life. It feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

For example, you mentioned setting time limits for using Twitter. I was experiencing a bit of social media overload last year. Therefore, I decided to close my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts in order to focus more on the blogosphere.

While I know I am missing out on some things, I do not regret the decision. I definitely feel much happier and more in control.

Dan @ Anxiety Support Network March 2, 2010 at 5:40 am

I like the point about keeping it simple. There is just so much that you can do in life that you can spend an infinite number of hours dedicated to any one task – including building a blog. That’s how I learned that I need to do only what is essential to make things function at an acceptable level. I’m glad that it was brought it and would recommend that approach to everyone

Lisa March 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm

“Be careful with your inner peace” really struck me. As I get older, I realize that protecting and valuing my inner peace really pays off (not that it’s always easy to do!). I try to make it a priority rather than just hope it magically occurs.

Michelle @ Following Your Joy March 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Thanks, Henrik. My favorite is “Do what you enjoy.” It’s funny how it can be easy to put off the ‘fun’ or the ‘good stuff’ until the work gets done. But it doesn’t need to be that way! I’ve been working these last several years on spending my energy on what I love, what brings me joy. The richness of life certainly lies there and is waiting to be discovered by us!

Christopher Foster March 2, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Forgive yourself. What great advice Henrik. I am finding that for this to happen takes a lot of attention. For instance there seems to be a program running all the time in the background of my consciousness that is just waiting for a chance to say “you are bad, you are wasting your time this morning, or whatever.” When that voice pipes up I need to be alert — be still — take a moment to forgive the ‘voice’ and FORGIVE myself.

Amanya Jacobs March 3, 2010 at 3:13 am

I really like your article, a straightforward approach to a goal that eludes most people. Your 5th recommendation to be careful with your inner peace is such an important one. Once you’ve achieved it, you must value and protect it so that you maintain. Thank you for this article.

Josten March 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Doing what we love to do makes a big difference in our lives. I made the mistake of staying in a job that i hated. So therefore i hated getting out of bed every morning. But any how great post.

Nea | Self Improvement Saga March 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm

You made some really wonderful points here Henrick. Thanks for the great article.

Lucky Balaraman March 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm

The methods in your article will certainly make one’s mind peaceful.

However, real, unshakable inner peace lies beyond the mind… it is Consciousness, which is aware of the mind… it is motionless and still, a silent witness… to get an idea of it, try and imagine what you’ll feel like when there are no thoughts in your mind… I hope you get the point :-)

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