Have you ever met someone who seemed that they were completely at peace?
Maybe they were super easy-going, and it made you want to be around them just to get a glimpse of what it feels like. Maybe you could just sense that nothing in this world or beyond it was gnawing at them inside.
That’s what it feels like to not be at peace — it’s like something is constantly gnawing at you. And until you come to terms with it, that incessant and bothersome feeling will continue until it eventually consumes you.
The thing about peace is that achieving it does not typically happen via a linear process. In contrast, it’s often something to be maintained. Inner peace can be found and then lost, and then found again.
Why? Because new obstacles present themselves in life, simple as that.
Being at peace with your life in its current stage is great, but something can always come along and throw you all off balance. It’s not easy learning to accept things as they come without experiencing any negative feelings and letting them upset your inner peace.
In fact, even the most devout monks have done years and years of learning and training in order to reach the levels of peace they experience, and which we’d all probably love to have.
Having done some traveling in countries and cities that incorporate yoga and meditation as a cornerstone of life, I’ve met swamis, yoga teacher trainers, and even fellow yoga teachers who had certainly reached a level of zen most of us aspire to. I’ve made a list of habits (and non-habits) below that those people enact in their everyday lives.
- Likely, they have a lack of social media presence. Why? Because they’re living in their present. I’m not saying it’s my opinion that anyone active on social media cannot be at peace. It’s just a commonality shared among those I’ve known who were so unbothered and joyous that people longed to be around them. Not followers watching their lives behind a screen with envy or judgment — REAL people, in-person who became addicted to their energy just by meeting them face-to-face. People at peace are able to impact the lives of others in a real way, because they’ve got nothing holding them prisoner. They’re free. And other people get a little slice of that liberated reality by just being near them.
- They don’t have grudges or hatred toward anyone. Again, the key is being unbothered — and not needing to tell people they’re unbothered. Those who meet them can tell by their calmness and lack of frustration. They’ve got no grudges weighing them down, and they don’t let pain erode them and leave behind bitterness and resentment within them. They’re light as a feather, and people could almost get high off of them if they come around.
- They don’t dwell or get stuck on things for too long, if at all. The reality is, things happen in life. Reaching inner peace doesn’t mean that nothing will ever bring you down again. But people who are at peace know how to let things process in a healthy way. They feel whatever they need to feel, and then they let the feelings go. It’s something that certainly takes practice.
- They stay neutral in feuds and any situation that’s two-sided. They may even try and mediate them. Another sign of someone being completely at peace is that they won’t allow themselves to get caught up in conflict. OR, they may even act out an emotion indicative of the side they believe in, but their heart may not truly be in it. This is because they don’t sacrifice their inner peace, not even for a worthy cause. They don’t want to let things upset them, so they try and stay neutral or mediate the situation in the effort to bring everyone else into a more peaceful place, too. It doesn’t mean they don’t have values and opinions, it just means they don’t lose themselves in spite of them.
- They genuinely don’t care what people think of them. They have essentially diminished their ego. At-peace people have re-discovered their inner child. They’ve purified their energy, so they might even come across as child-like. You’ll find that energy to be almost addicting. It’s the freedom they have to act and speak from the pure emotions they feel without being bogged down by the fears, insecurities, or doubts we accumulate as we grow up. The world hurts us. People who’ve reached inner peace have learned to undo all that hurt, and they’ve dissolved their ego down to almost nothing. Because of this, they don’t worry about what others think. They’re just themselves, and the right people will love them for it.
- They make people want to be around them — without even trying. It’s been the most common theme throughout my list, so it deserves its own bullet point. All the characteristics of a peaceful person are simply addictive. They’re refreshing. These kinds of people make other people feel good. They let them forget their own worries for awhile. They give those around them an escape from the bad things in life. It’s like being around a puppy or a child — it’s a special kind of stress reliever.
- They wholeheartedly accept each moment as it is, no matter how painful it may be. They know pain is the equalizer for joy, and that it’s another part of life to be grateful for. They also understand that our ideas don’t always match with reality, and that pain only comes from such scenarios. Because they have more power over their thoughts than thoughts have over them (because they likely meditate often), they know how to not latch onto the ideas they have in their minds of how they imagined life should be — instead, they take both the good and the bad gracefully. They don’t resist pain, and in accepting it, they can then move through it.
I’m going to reference one of my favorite books of all time here. If you haven’t read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, you need to. It’s about a dying man’s advice to his student, who ends up closely befriending him and helping care for him. It’s beautiful.
“Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you.
On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it…You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief… But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.’”