Inner peace. Is that possible? I mean, doesn't the word "peace" sort of conjure up the feeling of boredom? If we're at peace, then that means nothing bad is going on, right? Not necessarily, and I'll explain why in a bit. But inner peace is not an easy thing to have, let alone to have at every moment! However, it is imperative to have if you are to live your life to the fullest.

Part of your growth as a human being is to feel inner peace no matter what your outside circumstances are. I know - it's easier said than done. Believe me, I know. How, if your husband/wife just left you and you are on the verge of bankruptcy, how, I ask, is it possible to have inner peace? Well, if we define "peace" as "nothing going wrong," then, you are right, it's not possible. But, again, I want to challenge you to look at peace in a much different way.

I define "peace," or more specifically, "inner peace" as "letting go." Letting go? Letting go of what? Letting go of not needing things to turn out a certain way, or for people to react to you in a certain way. It means being open and letting go of the need to "be right." Instead, let the circumstances flow as they might and concentrate on controlling your reactions to your "outside circumstances." When you learn to monitor and control your emotions and reactions to every situation in a positive manner, then you are winning the game of life.

But how do we monitor and control our emotions? Aren't emotions, in a way, free of rationality? Yes, but remember, we do have the power and ability to rationally recognize, assess, and analyze any emotion. Emotions are usually not rational, so it is important to use the rational part of your brain to put them into perspective. Most of us can't do this very well, and that's why sometimes we are literally ruled by our emotions. And that is exactly when our inner peace is disturbed.

Inner peace is letting things flow past you without upsetting you or disturbing you. And you're saying to yourself now, "Boy, this person is more wacko that I even thought." Yes, it does sound wacko, but it can be done. No, I don't believe that you can, right now, make a mental choice to do this and then become a master at it tomorrow. That is literally absurd. However, I do think it is possible with practice - lots of practice. So much practice that we may not still be good at it by the time we die. But at least if we try, we will, bit by bit, day by day, become better and better at it, and thus, happier and more fulfilled as a result.

As I mentioned, inner peace means choosing to feel peaceful, calm, centered, and happy with yourself no matter what your outer life looks like. Haven't you ever known someone who should be the most bitter person on earth yet they are one of the nicest people you've ever met? I certainly have. I once had a quadrapalegic student. He was completely confined to a wheelchair and the only way he could make the chair move was to blow into a straw-like thing to make it move. He was completely helpless and at the mercy of any and every person. Now, if I was a quadrapalegic, I'd be cursing God every second of every day wondering "Why me? Why me, God? It's not fair!" But not him. He was, literally, one of the nicest people I have ever met.

Some of you may be saying to yourself, "Well, yeah, he has to be nice so people will take care of him." No he doesn't. I've also had other paralyzed students who were kind of bitter. They weren't nearly the kind of person this guy was. So, no, I truly believe it was his choice to have inner peace. I mean, look at Christopher Reeve. Haven't you seen him on TV recently or heard about what he and his wife are doing? They are heading the funding for research to cure paralysis. And they are sticking together. They have a goal. They have a purpose. They are at least trying to attain inner peace.

So, whenever I catch myself feeling sorry for myself or wallowing in self-pity for what ever mundane problem I may be having, I have to scold myself for doing so. How dare I think my life is anything but great! How dare I!!!! And no matter how bad you think your life is, I'm sure there is someone out there who has it a lot worse than you. There is somethging you can find good about your life.

What I'm trying to get across here is that inner peace comes from within, not from without. You cannot find inner peace from anywhere except inside yourself. Hence, the term "inner" peace. It is easy to find inner peace when things are going well and people are loving to you, but when things aren't going that way, it's an incredible challenge. I try to think of life as a game, and the challenge is what makes life interesting and fun!

So, let's say you've actually achieved inner peace, if only for a moment. When are the times where that peace is going to be susceptible? Well, let me put it this way: any concept or thing in your life where you have certain expectations in which you can do nothing about, that’s where you inner peace is susceptible. And disturbing your inner peace will only cause problems for your world.

One of the concepts people have a problem understanding and living with is the concept of "what is, is." This idea comes from a favorite metaphysical author of mine, Dick Sutphen. This is one of his big mottos. "WHAT IS, IS!" So, what the heck does that mean? It's very simple, actually. Have you ever heard the old religious saying, "God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the patience to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference?" Well, that's exactly what he means. As humans, we are guilty of thinking we can change anything. I agree, we can change a lot. But we also need to recognize and accept the fact that there are things we cannot change. And one of those "things" we usually cannot change is other people. If your job is not satisfying you, and you really don't like your co-workers or you boss, well, you need to think about what you can and cannot change in a situation such as this. Can you change your co-workers or your boss? No. Can you change your job description? Probably not. That's what is. So, you have one of two choices. You can either accept what is, or remove yourself from the situation. Again, I know, it's tougher than it sounds, but it is something that you need to be aware of.

The tricky part about inner peace is that in order to find and keep that inner peace, you must first know what it feels like. No one can really tell you what it feels like because you have to experience it for yourself. But I think you'll know it when you feel it. It feels like not being affected by the outer world, but instead, affecting the outer world with your inner peace. Inner peace means acting rather than reacting. If you find inner peace before you act or speak, you will find that reality will become a better place. And inner peace will assist you in letting go of fear.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Carol Morgan is a Professor in the Department of Communication at Wright State University. Her areas of expertise include interpersonal, gender, and spiritual communication. She is the author of numerous academic articles, and is currently working on a mainstream book about how to use spirituality to repair romantic relationships. In addition to teaching and writing, Carol also acts as a relationship advisor. If you are interested in participating in her research for the book, please contact her at Carol lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband, Ben, and sons, Colton and Chase.