What is internal peace?
This is a question people have been chasing the answer to for centuries. Entire religions have been founded on the premise of finding internal peace. The Dali Lama has said:
We can never obtain peace in the world if we neglect the inner world and don’t make peace with ourselves. World peace must develop out of inner peace. Without inner peace it is impossible to achieve world peace, external peace.
At the beginning of the year, finding internal peace became one of my many New Year’s Resolutions and since beginning my search, I have pondered what exactly this means. At the time when I added finding internal peace to my list of resolutions, I was doing a lot of thinking about my own mortality and a better way to have worded my resolution might have been “Come to terms with the reality that I will someday die.”
It has been difficult to reconcile the reality of my eventual death with my human desire for immortality but less than being afraid of death itself, what takes place after I die leaves me with an uneasy feeling.
The Meaninglessness of Time: The very moment we pass the threshold into the afterlife (you can decide what that means to you), time lacks any meaning. A second may as well be an eternity. While life for the living ticks by every second, time is irrelevant to the dead.
Leaving Loved Ones Behind: I hate the idea of losing people I love and even more, the thought of leaving my loved ones behind. After I die, I won’t be able to be there for the special moments or in the times of need. There are no more opportunities to create memories, to tell them how much they mean to me and I the words “I love you” will never escape my lips again. When the time comes, I won’t be there to comfort the ones I love as they make their transition into the afterlife.
What Happens When I am Gone: Human history isn’t only the past but today and eventually the future. I wonder what will happen to the world when I am gone. How will the world view the blink of time we are currently occupying? I wonder about what will happen to humanity after I have died. Will scientists find a cure for a serious disease the day I die? Will the world experience wars and conflict that tear down the political systems and boundaries as I knew them throughout my life? Will America become the next Roman Empire?
The Transitional Nature of Life: Nothing is forever. As much as we would like to believe that the world we know today will always remain, it won’t. It can’t. The reality is that the world is in constant transition. Just as people live and die, so does everything. If you look back at the history of man, the relics we are left with are relatively recent and few and far between. Nothing is static. Will the same happen to our society?
People spend a lifetime trying to understand the meaning of life and seeking the elusive state of internal peace. After six months of searching, I may not be any closer to having the answers to these questions. What I have concluded is that no one wants to die and only those who are on the cusp of death can accept the reality that they will die. Maybe finding internal peace isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.
Instead of seeking internal peace and trying to come to terms with our eventual death, we should enjoy every moment we are blessed with the energy of life. Instead of trying to figure out the meaning of life, live a life of meaning. Coming to terms with the reality of our mortality shouldn’t happen until the very day when we must face death in a more intimate way.
We must have a greater appreciation for the moments that are spent with our eyes open.