Inner peace is one of the greatest treasures, but also one of the most elusive. When we reach a state of inner peace, it is as if the planets suddenly align, we feel that everything is where it should be because we are free of expectations and feel comfortable with ourselves. It’s a state of balance and well-being in which we have the control of our emotions and thoughts.
Unfortunately, in a society that exalts constant action, which makes us addicted to worry and hyperstimulates us, it’s difficult to find moments of introspection that allow us develop serenity. Therefore, it isn’t strange that we end up frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, although we don’t always know very well why. These quotes about inner peace of writers, philosophers, psychologists and Buddhist Masters turn on the light on what could be the way to find the state of serenity and tranquility that we all need.
Reflections of inner peace to reach serenity
- “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we feel angry or frustrated, we are so full of those emotions that we don’t realize the damage they are doing to us. Thinking that every time we feed those “negative” emotions we’re letting go an opportunity to feel good, it’ll help us recover the perspective, minimize its impact and get back the mental balance.
- “Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness rather than judge” – Gerald Jampolsky
We can’t feel at peace if we drag the ghost of hatred and resentment. Nor can we be at peace if we judge and criticize continuously, becoming almighty judges to whom nothing seems right. Changing that attitude, being more tolerant and flexible, without feeling the need to criticize each step, will help us find a new serenity.
- “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be” – Wayne Dyer
This quote about inner peace focuses on acceptance, an essential step to achieve serenity. Instead of denying reality, we must learn to replace frustration with appreciation when things don’t go as we would like, rethink the path we have chosen, readjust our expectations and move on. Accepting that things don’t always follow the course we want is essential to be at peace.
- “Inner peace comes from the satisfaction of knowing that you have done everything you can to become the best person you can be” – John Wooden
A fundamental ingredient of inner peace is feeling well with yourself, feeling satisfied with what you achieved and the path you traveled. It doesn’t mean gloating in complacency but doing everything possible every day to grow a little more, so you can become your best version.
- “Do not let the behaviors of others destroy your inner peace” – Dalai Lama
Inner peace is a conquest that must be protected. We must remember that no one can make us feel bad without our consent. Therefore, the Dalai Lama encourages us to face with equanimity the potentially annoying behaviors and attitudes of the others. When we have in our hands the reins of our emotions, we’re the ones who decide how to act, we don’t let people manipulate our emotions.
- “Inner peace beings the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions” – Pema Chodron
Inner peace is not a state reached by a stroke of luck, it’s a conscious decision to protect our mental balance. That means learning to respond instead of just reacting. Knowing how to stop the first impulses in time to prevent the circumstances or the people around us from dictating our state of mind.
- “Learning to ignore things what is one of the great paths to inner peace” – Robert J. Sawyer
Sometimes, to protect our inner peace, we must learn to ignore, which doesn’t mean submitting or enduring humiliation or abuse but being smart enough to know which wars are worth fighting and which are better to give up, because in that apparent defeat lies our gain. Learning to ignore what is not worth it means to stop getting angry for all those inconsequential things that only make our mood worse.
- “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A good sailor doesn’t train in a calm sea. The same goes for inner peace. Serenity doesn’t come from outside, it isn’t found in the circumstances but it’s an inner state cultivated through habits that help us live in a more balanced way.
- “If you can’t find peace in yourself-you’ll never find it anywhere else” – Marvin Gaye
Those who can’t forgive themselves, criticize themselves continuously or don’t feel comfortable with themselves, can’t find the necessary balance to feel at peace. A sine qua non condition of serenity is to make peace with oneself, with our past, defects, mistakes and bad decisions.
- “If you feel depressed, you are living in the past, if you feel anxious, you are living in the future. If you are , you are living in the present”- Lao Tzu
The Buddhist philosophy considers that the faults of the past and the worries of the future take away our serenity. On the contrary, living in the “eternal moment” with a mindfulness attitude is the way to develop peace and balance. It implies focusing on the here and now, on what we’re doing and enjoying it without the clouds of the past or the worries of the future muddying that current state of well-being.
- “If you are looking for peace, stop fighting. If you are looking for inner peace, stop fighting with your thoughts”- Peter McWilliams
This quote about inner peace gives us a clue about how to achieve serenity: by not fighting against our thoughts and emotions. That doesn’t mean succumbing to them and letting them dictate our behaviors but accepting and understanding them, instead of trying to repress them. At that moment a paradox occurs because those emotions and thoughts that once bothered us suddenly lose their strength and vanish.
- “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you”- Lao Tzu
The Buddhist philosophy encourages us to reduce our needs, expectations and desires, feeling satisfied with what we have. If we can be happy with less, we can detach ourselves from social pressures and be freer. We will stop obsessively pursuing possessions or goals that are elusive and find serenity. In that moment we recover the strength to reach the dreams that will make us truly happy.
- “Inner peace doesn’t come from getting what we want, but from remembering who we are” – Marianne Williamson
Peace and serenity aren’t born of material possessions, they only provide a sense of illusory security that immediately generates the fear of losing them. Authentic peace comes from being in touch with our “ego”. It’s a state of congruence between our needs and desires and our behavior and attitudes.
- “Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst” – Lin Yutang
This Chinese writer doesn’t encourage us to assume a defeatist spirit but to be prepared for life, so that we don’t feed unrealistic expectations. “The unexpected has more crushing effects, adding to the weight of the disaster”, warned Seneca. It’s about accepting the existence of adversity and contemplating the possibility that things don’t go as planned.
- “You cannot find peace by avoiding life” – Virginia Woolf
Inner peace is at that point where we stop being afraid of life and its problems and dare to be happy and do what we like, assuming all the risks and responsibilities that entails. In fact, reaching that state of serenity doesn’t mean abstracting from life and live in a bubble but imbue yourself more in it, enjoying every step of the way.