I read a short blog post earlier suggesting that the key to world peace is inner peace in those who fight for it. The argument was that emotions are infectious. If you are content, it will make those around you more at ease and more content themselves. If you find inner peace, it will make others curious about how you achieved it. I suspect that’s probably true. The question is; what exactly is inner peace? Finding peace with yourself is often harder than it sounds. I think it depends a lot on whether your like yourself or not. It also depends on whether or not you are content with your life. Contentment is different than happiness. Happiness, I think is somewhere between satisfaction and ecstasy. It also generally doesn’t last over long, extended periods of time. Contentment on the other hand is less of an emotion than a state of being. It is what is achieved when most aspects of one’s life are good, or at least satisfactory.
I’ve read several lists about what leads to true happiness, which I took to mean contentment, and none of them seem to completely agree. While I don’t think it’s possible to ever be 100% content 100% of the time, I do think that there are things that can help you get there. They’ve helped me anyway. Here’s my list:
1) Keep busy. Do what you love and what you’re good at. Don’t do things just for the sake of doing something and don’t be idle. Get a hobby. If you can turn that hobby into a career, even better. If you can’t, make sure you can fund that hobby doing something else.
2) Find things you can do alone and with other people. Make time for both.
3) Talk to strangers. Most of the time this won’t turn into a relationship, but it can pass time and amuse you both. It will usually make you feel much happier than if you don’t talk to each other.
4) Find your center. You don’t have to believe in God or a higher power to be spiritual. Prayer or meditation can help calm you and keep you focused. I don’t know much about meditation, but I’m sure it’s easy to find information about it.
5) Learn to accept people for who they are. If you harbor no bad feelings toward anyone else, you will feel better within and about yourself.
6) Learn to let it go. You don’t have to be right all the time.
7) Be emotional. Emotions are part of the human experience and being emotional doesn’t mean you’re weak; it means you are a passionate person who can relate to others.
8) Allow small things to delight and entertain you.
9) Don’t worry. Most things aren’t worth the headache that worrying causes. Just don’t do it.
10) Be optimistic. Convince yourself that everything will work out. Do whatever it takes to convince yourself of this.
I think it’s probably true that world peace depends on inner peace within individual lives. I think people who are at peace with themselves are less likely to be violent or spiteful. They will probably find it easier to connect with other people and will therefore be ready and willing to help others find inner peace. In that sense, I think it is infectious.
Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!