What Does R.A.C.E. Stand For In Language Arts Inner Peace Can Be Achieved

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Inner Peace Can Be Achieved

Before getting down to the business of how to achieve inner peace, it may be useful to dispel three myths:

1. You can’t achieve inner peace; it’s something you’re born with

This myth really serves as an excuse for avoiding the thought and work involved in bringing peace into your life. If you really believe this myth, then there’s really no point in reading any further.

2. Inner peace belongs only to mountaintop gurus, yogis, adepts and other masters of eastern religious practices.

While it is true that we can learn much from Buddhist, Taoist, Zen and other eastern traditions, practitioners of these beliefs have no monopoly on inner peace.

3. Inner peace comes only at the very end of life, when you’ve put away all other concerns and are preparing to die.

Some people do indeed experience peace on the brink of leaving this life, and we would all desire a peaceful passing, but you need not wait until the end to enjoy peace.

What do you need to do to achieve inner peace?

1. Make peace a priority

Let us be clear about the meaning of the word “priority”: if you find two options to be in conflict, the one you choose is the one to which you have given priority. Making peace a priority means choosing peace when this goal comes in conflict with others. Now you’re probably seeing why so few people achieve inner peace: it’s because so few choose it. Making peace a priority means putting this goal ahead of other goals competing for your approval, such as advancing your career, making a comfortable living, securing your retirement, seeing that your children have everything they want, owning a large enough house, etc. You can have all these things and still enjoy inner peace, but to achieve peace you must place it in front of other goals.

2. Identify and remove obstacles to peace

What prevents you from enjoying inner peace right now? This requires sitting down and making out your personal list of obstacles. I’ll suggest some of my own, but these probably won’t be your answers. Obstacles may include: lack of time to let your mind be at peace and reflect on tranquil thoughts; a complete absence of quiet anytime in your day; a complete absence of solitude in your life; a stressful clamor of deadlines, “to do” lists, family obligations, and community commitments that you will never be able to finish; a view of life as a series of responsibilities each of which you race through in order to get to the next (this may be regarded as a “race to the grave”: whoever gets there first, wins). Your list will differ from mine, but you get the idea.

Having compiled the list, and having established inner peace as a priority, the next step is to eliminate the obstacles. At this point you may feel like abandoning the project altogether, but this is where the real work begins. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Where does it say that you must always be out of breath, that everybody in the world has a claim upon your time except you, that since there will never be enough money you must spend all your energies trying to make more? Do you really subscribe to the values contained in Kipling’s celebrated inspirational poem “If”: “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run”? Which do you really want, “filling the unforgiving minute” or inner peace? (If this is still a question, return to step 1 above.)

3. Identify and embrace aids to peace

If you have ever enjoyed a moment of peace in your life, take a look at that moment in detail and figure out how to build it into your daily routine. Each person will have a different answer to this question but aids to peace include meditation, yoga, solitary walks, serene music, darkness, silence, uninterrupted time, mindfulness (contemplating some aspect of life with openness and wonder), immersion in warm water, and seeing the world through the lens of a camera. If scripture speaks to you, you may be attracted to Pathways to Peace [see below]. (If you have no difficulty identifying the aids but believe you don’t have time to embrace them, return to step 1 above.)

Transformative language can also contribute to achieving inner peace. Make a list of two dozen negative adjectives with which you might characterize your non-peaceful life. (Examples might include rushed, harried, stressed, nervous, confused, conflicted, unfocussed, fractured, unbalanced, anxious, fearful.) Now make a list of two dozen positive adjectives that describe the life you would like to lead. (Examples might include peaceful, serene, tranquil, centered, balanced, calm, reflective, graceful, unhurried, open.) Notice how you feel as you read those words, and the words you write on your own list. Develop a habit of avoiding the words in the first list and making greater use of the words on the second list. You may be surprised at the influence “mere words” can have on your peace of mind.

4. Emulate peaceful people

In reflecting on your goal of inner peace, look at possible models from among your friends, associates, or people you admire. Try to visualize yourself leading their lives. How do they stand, walk, or talk? Make a detailed description and then try it on for size. Notice how it differs from the present you. Consider what changes you need to make in order to make your life more like that of the peaceful people you admire. This may fall into the category of “fake it until you make it,” but extraordinary changes can come about by altering the way you hold your body, talk, or move. And if you haven’t already started cultivating deep breathing, begin right away. As the Beatles sang, “all we are asking is give peace a chance.”

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