Finding Peace Over Happiness
I have nearly finished "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle and I know it will be a manual for many life situations, tough days and inspired times in the future. It's absolutely terrific, but something that takes a little while to get into and cannot be fully absorbed in its first reading. With one chapter to go, I am madly underlining and highlighting key-parts as they jump out at me, and wishing I did this for the whole way through, as opposed to only starting recently. I guess I'll just have to re-read it, oh what a pity :)
The second last chapter truly stuck out at me, so I knew I would just have to share. Basically Eckhart (such a common name to type hehe) talks about finding inner peace and finding inner happiness. While happiness is something that comes from within, it cannot arise if one does not find inner peace. Inner peace can be felt and realised through everything. When you are receiving a complement, with your lover or travelling the world, while also when you are grieving the loss of a close friend, or washing dishes as a kitchen hand.
He writes, "happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not".
I guess this made me have an Oprah 'ah-ha' moment, if that is what she calls it (I don't watch the show). My constant desire to find happiness in everyday is clearly not so much unachievable but irrelevant and unnecessary. It's missing the point. To find inner peace you are allowing yourself to find a balance that can ride out all the cycles in your life. The good the bad and the relatively mundane cycles.
This year I was paranoid that I was not happy in everything I was doing. I was not receiving joy from every minute of every day. I thought I had to seek out activities and jobs that only fitted certain requirements (being happiness provoking) and while this is important, it is not the full picture. Also the stark change in pace, priorities and agendas since a couple of months ago made me feel guilty and uncertain but as I read about yesterday, there are many cycles. As old ones end, new ones begin.
Eckhart speaks of cycles being "in constant flux". "There will be periods when you are highly active and creative, but there may also be times when everything seems stagnant, when it seems that you are not getting anywhere, not achieving anything. A cycle can last for anything from a few hours to a few years. There are large cycles and small cycles within the large ones."
Realising that everything is as it should be and that one thing is never constant is inner peace. Surrendering to the present is inner peace and loving your enemies is inner peace. Also forgiveness of yourself is crucial for inner peace.
We are always caught up in words and their meanings. Aka happiness and peace, but never-the-less they can be helpful in realising the faults in our behaviour and patterns. I had a big realisation yesterday reading these pages and some of you may have had the same experience reading this books contents. But if this appeals to you and you are wondering how to make this concept click, I'll leave you with this...
"Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender."