I am on a quest to be in the moment more and more. I want to be as present as possible as much as possible. Today in yoga class, my instructor said ‘Peace is not the destination, peace is the path. I realized that finding my own peace, being present, isn’t something that I will finish and check off of my to do list. This isn’t a task that I can simply complete. I will never be finished with it, or done. It will be a lifelong journey, part of my every day.
My greatest passion, cycling, has taken me on many occasions to a place where my physical, mental and spiritual beings were all completely present. Climbing a mountain on my bike, embarking on such a physical challenge while surrounded by natural beauty and silence, all of my beings come to a still place. They work together in union to move me up the mountain, one pedal stroke at a time. Of course, when I reach the top, I am relieved to be finished and proud of my accomplishment. However, I soon find myself longing for the next climb, and the next time that I will feel that delicious stillness and peace once again. It would be so simple if I could just climb a mountain every day.
In daily life, when I am not climbing a mountain every day, my quest for inner peace is a little more challenging. This quest is a little difficult to describe at times, except when I am talking to people who get it. I know what I want is to be at peace with myself, my life, and the current state of things. I want to feel calm. I want to be filled with happiness and love. I want to be warm and inviting. I want to emit the type of energy that I gravitate towards.
I know when I am ‘there’, when I am at peace and completely within a moment. Sometimes I can get there consciously. Sometimes I simply realize that somehow I got there. I have identified ways that I get there, and ways that enable me to stay there. Being there as a way of living is a little harder to put my finger on. In fact, I am not really sure that is something that can be figured out. I don’t think it is something that you can necessarily consciously achieve.
I used to think that I am not naturally a calm, peaceful person. It appeared that my nature tended to be more stressed, agitated, and aggressive. At least this is what I used to think. As time goes on and I enter and depart different stages of my life, I have come to realize that I have different sides to me. I have very different places that my nature will gravitate towards depending on what I surround myself with. In essence, I can create the inner being that I want.
I think that all of us have our own individual ways of finding a calm and an inner peace. For me, there are certain people that glow a certain energy, and when I am around them my inner being naturally finds a calm state. For me, there are also certain activities that will get me there. Certain music elicits feelings inside of me which melt my inner being into a state of peace. Intense outdoor activities both burn off any negative or stressful energy that might be blocking my inner peace from flourishing and connect me to natural surroundings. This also results in inner peace and calm. There are many things that I can do to facilitate a path for inner peace. Once I am there, I can stay for a short or a long time. It depends on what I choose, and what I continue, or do not continue, to facilitate.
I know what actions I can take to take me to this place that I want to be. Rather than simply reaching my final destination of ‘peace’, I believe it is more of journey of continuous redirection of my behaviour. When I feel myself moving away from inner peace, I can recognize it and I can choose a different path. When I need help getting back to a peaceful place, I can physically go to a place that helps me to be there, I can spend time with someone who helps me to feel it, or I can choose an activity that will rid myself of the energy I do not want and replace it with the energy that I do want. These may be conscious actions, but over time, by redirecting my behaviour to take these actions, they become natural. Eventually, I find myself simply doing these things without my consciousness intervening.
We can explicitly facilitate the movement that we want. We can be our own stimulus that facilitates that movement we are seeking.
I think that the only path to fulfill my quest is to fully accept it as a lifelong journey. To redirect myself everyday in the direction that will keep me on this path. Little behavioural redirections, changing of my thoughts, and opening up the space that I need to be in.
So, as I embark on a two week journey of riding my bike and unplugging from our connected world, what will you do to find the inner peace that you are seeking?