When I visited a Buddhist monastery in September 2019, I saw hundreds of monks roaming around, praying in the temple, doing their daily rituals.
For the first time, I ‘saw’ peace on someone’s face; in fact, most senior monks had peace tattooed on their faces. I always thought you could only ‘feel’ peace, but I was surprised to see the peace that day.
The more I study peace, the more I realize it needs to come internally. External peace (silent environment, solitude, etc.) is short-lived and unsustainable. Internal peace is sustainable and more fulfilling.
Sure, sitting alone in the mountains can help you cut out noise for a while; but it won’t be substantial and fulfilling unless the peace is internal.
In this post, I’ll write 5 qualities of internally peaceful people. Here are those 5 qualities—
They have an internal focus of control.
When we focus on the results outside of our control — like getting a promotion — we may never feel peaceful deep inside.
Instead, when we shift our focus to our control actions — like working our 100% in office and giving our best — we observe a surreal stream of peace flowing in our minds.
This is elaborated by a stoic concept of trichotomy of control — some things are under our control, some things are partially under our control, and there are things we can’t control at all.
We could control studying really well and getting into a world-class college. Getting a job in a reputed company would be partially in our control, with certain uncontrollable factors like — there may or may not be openings, etc. But getting hit with a virus that has stopped most of the world for half a year — that’s totally out of our control.
The more we focus on things we can control, the more internally peaceful we can become.
They practice stillness.
Life is a sweet balance between acceptance and improvement. Hustle is an improvement and moving forward; stillness is acceptance.
With the world running fast around us, our sub-conscious brain tries to fit-in and starts running too. Only when we become conscious, we see how much we desire a moment of stillness, even if sometimes we seem to be running away from it.
Now stillness might not mean sitting in meditation for hours every day. Stillness also means having a peaceful dinner alone (or with family) without any distractions like newspapers or any gadgets.
Stillness also means being present in conversations. And all the internally peaceful people listen carefully and stay present in all the conversations.
Stillness also means being present in conversations.
They practice detachment.
Buddha famously taught — “Attachment is the root cause of all evil.”
Practicing detachment frees us. Attachment to any emotion (like happiness), to any person (partner, children, family), or even to anything materialistic (car, home, laptop) causes suffering.
Being internally peaceful would mean you don’t get attached to every desire and person you come across.
Practicing detachment will mean remembering these 5 principles of impermanence —
- You are sure to grow old. Our cells grow, our tissues grow, and ultimately our bodies will grow as well. It’s counterproductive trying to avoid aging.
- You are sure to get sick. Maybe you will stay away from sickness and illness for a very long time. Staying healthy forever doesn’t sound like being human.
- You are sure to die. Embracing this hard truth will help you let go of all the meaningless drama you are currently involved in.
- You need to part away from what’s beloved to you. We try finding happiness in worldly possessions or other human beings. And none of them translate to true freedom or helps you avoid suffering and pain.
- You are the owner and heir of your actions. We will reap the fruit of our actions, for better or worse.
They know emotions are temporary.
You can’t become internally peaceful without understanding and confronting your emotions.
Internally peaceful people recognize the impermanence of emotions. Your happiness and your sadness — both are temporary. No matter how intensely you’re feeling something, it’s temporary.
That’s why they don’t chase happiness; they seek peace.
Holding on to pleasant feelings create clinging desires in our minds. Holding to unpleasant feelings create hate and hopelessness in our minds.
When you become internally peaceful, you realize that the emotions are temporary, and having a peaceful mind is an internal choice.
They quickly shift back to peace.
As mentioned in the previous points, everything is temporary in nature. If someone on the street randomly comes and shouts at you, your peace will definitely go away.
Being internally peaceful will mean you know how to shift back to peace quickly.
Shifting back to peace is a personal choice, and internally peaceful people make this shift quite often, and as required.
Making this shift usually requires awareness of the moment first. If you’re not peaceful right now, understand why. If you cannot sustain a certain state of mind, go deep to recognize and understand the reason behind it.
Half of the work to make this shift is to understand where you stand currently. And the next half is to choose to live and act and behave peacefully deliberately.
External peace (silent environment, solitude, etc) is short-lived and unsustainable. Internal peace is sustainable and more fulfilling.
Here are 5 qualities of internally peaceful people —
- They have an internal focus of control. The more we focus on things we can control, the more internally peaceful we can become.
- They practice stillness. Life is a sweet balance between acceptance and improvement. Hustle is an improvement and moving forward; stillness is acceptance.
- They practice detachment. Being internally peaceful would mean you don’t get attached to every desire and person you come across.
- They know emotions are temporary. That’s why they don’t chase happiness; they seek peace.
- They quickly shift back to peace. Shifting back to peace is a personal choice, and internally peaceful people make this shift quite often, and as required.