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.
- “If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources” – François de La Rochefoucauld
This French philosopher known for his Maxims leaves us a great lesson: inner peace is not sought outside but by scrutinizing within ourselves. We can feel serene in the middle of a storm and tormented on a calm day because that state of balance is not the result of the alignment of the planets but of the alignment of our emotions and thoughts.
- “The total harmony of this world is formed by a natural agglomeration of discords” – Seneca
With this quote about inner peace, this Stoic philosopher draws attention to a fact that we often overlook: balance is the result of disagreements. Serenity is not the absence of problems or conflicts but calm in the midst of difficult situations. Therefore, it is a state that can be reached by maintaining antagonistic forces in balance.
- “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” Marcus Aurelius
Marco Aurelio stressed the importance of seeking harmony within, which would later have its expression on the outside. In fact, many times external chaos is nothing more than the expression of an internal imbalance. We project our fears, insecurities and concerns creating a storm in a glass of water. On the contrary, finding inner peace would allow us to still those waters.
- “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Is there anything more valuable in life compared to the peace of the soul?” – Saint Francis de Sales
This Swiss cleric encourages us to put things in perspective. He encourages us to take a psychological distance from negative events to put everything in its place so that we can prioritize our peace of mind. He urges us to live in a harmonious and calm way, getting rid of haste and stress in order to preserve one of our most precious gifts: serenity of spirit.
- “Possessing material riches without inner peace is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake” – Paramahansa Yogananda
This famous yogi who introduced so many people to the teachings of meditation and Eastern philosophy reminds us of the importance of serenity and the futility of pursuing material possessions. His phrase about inner peace reminds us that many social goals are nothing if to achieve them we must lose our emotional balance. Therefore, it is not only important what we have achieved, but also the person we become along that path. Being clear about our priorities will help us preserve serenity while we pursue our dreams.