Can we find peace in the midst of an ever-changing world?

by Alfie Wishart

The early days of a new year usually carry with them the high spirits of the New Year celebrations, with renewed hope for a better life and a better world. This year, 2024, has been muted by comparison to former new year beginnings. It seems most, if not every, aspect of our political, social, economic, and environmental wellbeing is unstable, with no brighter prospect on the horizon.

It is common for us to base our personal happiness and wellbeing on the state of affairs around us. Today, that is not advisable. But, if we don’t have that, what do we have?

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, when still in his teens, was present for many of the horrors of the war that he and his country endured. Yet, committed to his path, he said the following:

” If I could not be peaceful in the midst of danger, then the kind of peace I might have in simpler times is meaningless. If I could not find peace in the midst of difficulty, I knew I would never know real peace.”

There is much to be learned from his words, but the thing that stands out to me, and is directly relevant to us today is, that it is possible to maintain a deep sense of peace even when the circumstances are anything but. I am not suggesting you join a religious order. I am suggesting that, by the example above and the demonstration of many others, we can attain and maintain our wellbeing from within.

We are very fortunate to have available to us today the means to find, maintain and flourish with inner peace, no matter what the state of our surroundings. The very first step to accomplish this is with mindfulness meditation and with the practice of compassion.

However, the universal axiom applies here… if we want to help others, we must overcome in ourselves those things that stand in the way in our own lives, in order to eventually develop an ongoing and synergistic relationship between us and those we want to help.

At the Dallas Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, we are committed to doing our part, as best we can, to address the world’s problems that stem from ignorance and a dependence on the external world for meaning. Our teachers were inspired, each in their own way, to learn and practice mindfulness and compassion for themselves, and then… as their contribution toward our collective well-being. We welcome you to investigate, try things on for size, ask questions, and find your way on your own journey, to explore.

 

Are you interested in hearing more from Alfie? If so, check out his regular class offer. each session he dives into a different aspect or teaching of mindfulness, meditation and self-compassion.

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