Inner Peace

Inner Peace

Peace is found, not through repressing experience, but through acceptance of whatever comes up. (Thomas Bien in his book Mindful Therapy).

Most of us struggle with this concept. You might be thinking, “why would I want to accept the negative and painful feelings that come up?” Accepting and validating our own internal experience is the only way for its power and intensity to lessen. Everything else is just a strategy you will have to continue implementing to keep those feelings at bay, never really dealing with them.

The opposite of peace, and the opposite of accepting negative feelings, is more of a wrestling match. You might believe you already feel those feelings enough, but if you are still stuck in them it is because your relationship is more of a wrestling match then a conversation. Trying to rid yourself of those feelings is only going to make it worse. It is amazing how often we dislike our own experience. What if you began to think about and respond to, your internal experience (i.e. feelings, thoughts, sensations) differently? What if you tried for a week to stop fighting your own self and approach your internal world with more acceptance, curiosity and compassion? Try to pay attention this week to all the ways you wrestle your self to the ground.

The next step here is to accept that your emotions are just that – emotions. When we over-identify with how we are feeling we lose perspective and only see our world the way our current emotional state sees the world. The goal is to stop the wrestling match, feel the sadness, anger, or hurt, and see all of those as your way of experiencing the world and not your full reality. It is a fine balance between accepting and experiencing your inner world and letting a lot of that go.