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Inner Peace

December 7, 2010

In a talk with my dad, we discussed the difference between mere peace (the absence of mental stress or anxiety) and “inner peace” (the state of being mentally and spiritually at peace), and I came to some interesting conclusions: whereas ordinary peace refers to the absence of environmental factors that would cause stress or anxiety, inner peace refers to the ability to be at peace despite such factors existing.

One of the greatest biblical examples of this was given by Paul the Apostle, while he was in prison: “I am…in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” So then, what was Paul’s secret to inner-peace despite these hardships? He explains in Philippians 4:4-9: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

So then, if inner-peace is the ability to clear one’s mind and be free of anxiety or stress, even in the face of hardship, torture, or death itself, such a peace must surely be a lifelong pursuit, and a worthy one at that. To even face yourself and be at peace, such an achievement would be Buddha-status to say the least, for achieving nirvana would be far easier to accomplish than such a feat.

When I explained to my dad what inner-peace really was (as supported by the Bible, which he adheres to), he agreed that he was far from achieving such a peace, and likely never world. It’s not simply feeling completely at-peace– anyone could do that with the right environment, and if you think about it, the environment is what caused such a peace, not you. To truly be at peace, you must possess the ability to force peace upon your environment– the maturity to be at peace even when your environment says you should be anxious, upset, scared, angry, and desperate. Inner peace is the ability to emanate peace from your inner being,  and of your own volition irregardless of your environment; it is to become peace yourself.

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