By the end of this article, you will be able to identify 5 reasons why You Cannot Find Inner Peace, and some hints and tips on what you can do today to help improve your chances.
A tale about our search for inner peace
A guy is searching for his keys. Somebody comes to help and asks him what he’s looking for – “My keys” he replies. They both continue to look around the lit area beneath a streetlight. A few minutes pass and the helper asks, “Where did you lose them?”
“In my house!” the man replies.
The moral to this short story is that we very often fruitlessly look for something in the wrong place, and looking for inner peace and happiness is no exception.
Where does inner peace originate?
You have experienced this state of peace before, otherwise you would not be here wanting to find it. You have the sense to know that it isn’t really found anywhere other than from within.
Despite this, you and I continually try to create a world in which our inner peace can flourish.
Let’s clear one thing up before we continue.
There is no drawer full of little glowing orbs in my office or below my meditation cushion that you qualify to receive after a training course.
I learned this the hard way. I spent many years clinging onto friends, teachers, and gurus. I would cling onto opinions and beliefs, and anything that would feel true to me in the hopes I would find enough comfort that inner peace would naturally appear.
Yes, I had moments of nice calmness. I experienced inner peace on the rare occasion when everything aligned for a few fleeting moments. Then the noise of emotions, thoughts, and attachments crept in and hid it away once again.
I had no control over when inner peace would be available to me. I knew what it was like, I had experienced it. I just wanted much more of it. It wasn’t until I stopped chasing and needing this elusive inner peace that I realised it was there all along, just hidden. It’s like looking for your glasses when they are on your head.
For the next 30 seconds.
Place your hand on your heart and take a deep breath. What do you feel?
With each feeling and thought that arises, allow it to come and go without focusing on it, letting it float past like a cloud.
In a few seconds you will start to feel inner peace, a calmness and relaxed state that is always there, buried beneath the noise.
Here Are the Five Common Reasons You Cannot Find Inner Peace
1 – You are either living in the past or the future
Imagine you take the dog out for a walk; it’s a nice crisp day and the sun is shining. For the next 20 minutes you have nothing to do except be mindful of other dogs, and when yours may need your attention.
Then your mind wanders…
- What should I cook for my evening meal?
- Why doesn’t anybody message me back?
- I must get my niece a birthday present.
- I wish I could have my partner back.
- I need to put my phone on charge when I get home.
- How am I going to pay the bills this month?
- I cannot believe how my dad spoke to me last night!
- Why can’t I love myself like others do?
- Why I cannot find inner peace?
- I cannot believe she posted that image on Facebook.
- This relationship is going to be over in a few months, I know it.
- I miss my mum; I can’t believe she’s been gone a few years.
And the constant mind chatter. You unwillingly follow storyline after storyline. Your brain, the neurotic narrator! Most of what it is thinking is completely irrelevant to the current situation. But here’s the thing, your body and the subconscious side of your mind do not know that what you’re thinking isn’t real. They think every one of those thoughts is happening right now, and you feel the stress accordingly.
So, as we found with our breathing exercise above, inner peace is there below all the noise – therefore, when you tune into these thoughts and away from just walking the dog, you are tuning out of your own inner peace!
2 – Trying to please everybody else
This is me.
I always feel uncomfortable upsetting people. I tend to go with the decision that I think others want. In some ways that does give me some peace, because it stops me feeling guilty or fearful that I might upset someone. The irony is that I upset more people doing this, and ultimately always end up making things worse for myself.
Everyone likes to know where they stand. Whether it is ourselves or others, if we don’t know our place and how we are supposed to show up, then we will always be guessing while trying to please people.
I realised anybody that cares, and matters to me, wants me to be happy too. So, for this reason I have stopped trying to please everybody. When I decide what I am comfortable with, I can offer options and others can do the same, allowing us to come to a mutual decision that suits us all – and then, importantly, I don’t feel I’m acting to please others at my own expense.
It is not selfish to put yourself first. Without you being happy, whether as a parent, friend, or boss, you will never be able to empower and help others have inner peace.
If you’re like me and you struggle with being a people-pleaser, there are practical steps you can take. Decide what is acceptable for you, and let others know so they can pick the best options for themselves that still fall within your boundaries. Have healthy boundaries, and only compromise if you absolutely have to. Remember, you are important too.
3 – You are too much of an empath
Learning the skill of empathy is a good thing. The ability to feel somebody else’s emotions in a genuine authentic way is a skill that not many have.
It should be embraced and built upon. You can and be an empath, feel things deeply and find inner peace.
Nobody is born with a caring heart that has empathy built in. It really is a skill that has learnt over time, normally through experiencing pain. You cannot truly give someone else the complete experience of anything, they have to have experienced it themselves. Deep emotional feelings are of the same nature. You have to feel these emotions in order to be able to have empathy for somebody else going through something similar.
There are different levels of empathy. The first level is to feel someone else’s emotions when they are present, or when you hear of a situation. You can quite happily forget it later that day, and unless you are reminded of the event, it is gone.
The next level is feeling someone else’s emotions so deeply that you become affected by them you no longer have inner peace. Being deeply and personally affected by these emotions on a day to day basis would, unsurprisingly, stop you finding inner peace.
Strong empathy is something to be proud of, and embrace. But it is not something to be at the mercy of – to be negatively influenced and pushed around by.
So, the third level is to be able to feel deeply somebody else’s experience, to be able to understand and empathise, but not be influenced by it. To feel it and then let it go, and not allow it to influence your life by blinding you to the many other feelings that are there to embrace.
If you find that you are “stuck” being too strongly affected by your empathy for the emotions of others, try to practice letting go.
4 – You believe you are your thoughts and feelings
Do any of these phrases seem familiar to you?
- I’m so tired.
- I’m depressed.
- I’m frightened.
- I’m hungry.
- I’m a thinker.
- I’m anxious.
If you have said any of those at any point in your life, congratulations, you are being honest with yourself. You’re just like me, and virtually everybody else out there – and certainly everybody reading this article.
You are not alone.
You are perfectly unique, although not when it comes to this kind of thinking.
What all these phrases have in common is the ‘I’ in different terms followed by a thought or an emotion. By thinking, saying or believing these phrases you are effectively saying you are them.
Let’s take the first one only. This example will work for them all. If ‘you are tired’, then there’s nothing you can do about it. You have become the object. If you say ‘you are feeling tired’ then you can do something about it. And the feeling of tiredness can come and go.
If your language changes, your understanding of your experience changes, and that gives you the ability to do something about it.
- ‘I’m so tired’ becomes ‘I’m feeling tired’.
- ‘I’m depressed’ becomes ‘I’m feeling depressed’.
- ‘I’m anxious’ becomes ‘I’m feeling hungry’.
You see, when you separate yourself from your emotion, you then have the ability to do something about it. Your feeling or thought becomes a visitor, and a temporary condition rather than a permanent part of who you are.
If you think you are depressed, you will have no other option than to try to live with it and manage it. With this thinking your ability to find inner peace becomes a whole lot harder.
If you’re feeling depressed, you recognise that it is temporary and that it has not always been there and it will not always be there in the future, thereby lifting the burden of having to deal with it for the rest of your life.
By changing your language slightly, you become less attached to these temporary conditions and you will feel a freedom and empowerment over them, rather than them having power over you.
5 – You are not accepting the present moment
In the spiritual world, you often hear ‘the present moment is perfect’.
I cannot shout that loudly enough: when there are children dying, animals burning to death, rivers being polluted and politicians denying climate change, the world right now is not perfect.
Can you change the present moment?
Most of our inability to feel inner peace is because we want the present moment to be different than it is. I do as well. It’s natural.
I would rather the present moment was free from any pain for all living things. I would rather death did not exist, and we were all the happiest we ever have been.
However, no amount of wishing, jumping up and down and feeling fed up or depressed is going to magically make the present moment into my ideal perfect world. But I can accept this moment for what it is, because I am unable to change it.
So, removing that attachment to how things should be means we can allow in acceptance of everything right here and right now. Sit with the feeling that everything is just fine, and that everything is unfolding as it should and that you do not know the bigger plan.
There you have it – 5 reasons you might be struggling to find your inner peace. There are many guided meditations I have recorded to help us to overcome and free ourselves we Cannot Find Inner Peace and you can access all of them now for a massive discount as I have not long opened the guided meditation membership.