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Searching for Peace of Mind

Peace of mind is right under our nose

Many people are searching right now. You may be one of them. Some people are searching for a job, financial stability, or a way forward amidst economic turmoil. Others are searching for meaning, wondering if anything in life really matters, or even if they matter.

You'll find people searching for a sense of identity, an inner knowledge of who they are. Some search for purpose. Others for a relationship with God, or a deepening sense of spiritual connection in whatever forms that might take.

Many are searching for connection with other human beings, whether that is friendship, deepened intimacy, or someone with whom to grow old with. And, many more are searching for a way out -- a way out of pain in all its forms, a way out of disappointment, regret, shame, anger, sadness, loss, anxiety and fear, what have you. And, we search in the mundane too. I lost my keys the other day, and spent three hours trying to find them.

And, we search for other things that are really nothings at all, like more time, more relaxation, more confidence, less stimulation, more beauty, more happiness, information, knowledge, or skills. We search to understand, to make sense, to fix, to figure out, to achieve insight. It's always about something other than what is.

All this searching takes enormous effort too. And, sometimes it pays off, but often it doesn't and we are right back at it again. Worse, it pulls us out of our lives. Searching for peace of mind can be like that. Most people want it, but few of us can find it and keep it around long enough to convince ourselves, let alone anyone else, that we've got it. Maybe that's the problem here. Maybe peace of mind isn’t something we have or find, but something we do, nurture, and cultivate in ourselves. Maybe it's right under our nose.

A friend of mine found me in the searching rut the other day. He sensed that I was grasping for something just out of my reach, while pushing away that which I didn't like all that much. If you can envision that, one hand grasping and the other pushing away, it might make you smile. It was an odd dance for sure, and it wasn't pleasant either. It took my friend to bring me back, and make me aware that I was desperate to be anywhere else but where I was.

He shared few words. No advice. No quick fixes. All he did was offer a quote he stumbled upon. It stopped me in my tracks, and brought life back into alignment for me. Not sure if it will have the same impact on you, but I thought to share it just the same. Linger a bit with the words and what they might mean for you.

“The secret to achieving inner peace lies in understanding our inner core values – those things in our lives that are most important to us-and then seeing that they are reflected in the daily events of our lives.” -- Hyrum W. Smith

Searching to have or be something other than I am is not a core value of mine. And, I know few people that would list that on their tombstones either. But understanding our core values is different. Living our lives in alignment with what truly matters to us isn’t about searching, trying to be something other than we are. It is living with ourselves, our histories, and going forward to create a life worthy of our time on this planet. That kind of peace is durable. It can’t be bought, lost, or stolen. It’s hard, yes. And, it can be sweet too.

But first, you'll need to know what you are living for. I’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks. Now, where did I put my keys?

With a Kind Heart

John P. Forsyth

Author of The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety, ACT on Life, Not on Anger, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders. Watch for his new book, Your Life on Purpose, due out in November 2010 (New Harbinger, Inc).

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