I think nowadays, everyone is looking for some version of peace. We have a sufficient amount of our needs met, food, shelter etc, and we immediately move on to the next level of wanting. Peace. Usually people are looking for a sense of peace within themselves. Not everyone would describe what they are looking for as peace. Maybe they might use the words happiness, feeling okay, not being tormented, not feeling empty etc. So many of us are turning towards lifestyle practices in the hopes of better mental health, or to face our demons. For those of us who are lucky enough to be thinking about such things as mental health and inner peace, as in, we have food, shelter, and are safe, we tend to think of peace as a goal. An end point. If I do X,Y and Z, I hopefully will attain peace. Especially for those of us who come from a trauma background, a background of neglect, a yesterday of hurt, we 'work' for peace. We read books, listen to podcasts and engage in Therapy, to feel better inside and get some sense of peace. Maybe we have been betrayed. Maybe abused. Maybe we are our own worst enemy and are locked into a holding position of hell called addiction. We all want peace. Someday right?
So what I am suggesting, is to shift your perspective slightly. Just a gentle amount. To realise that peace must be now. The peace you seek must be chosen right now. There is no sense in waiting. No meaning to waiting. The sensation of peace is available to us all right now. (unless in times of danger) It is not a huge mountain of peace that you 'get', it is moment to moment, subtle, gentle, decision, to step into, a peaceful experience within yourself. Choice.
What are some practical examples of choosing peace as a baseline?
The first and most effective shift is in your mindset. If you believe you have no power over yourself, this won't be available to you. If you have not yet discovered you have total power over yourself, despite what is going on within you, that is where you need to begin. If you are reading this, and believe you have no power over your actions or perspective, then perhaps spend some time reflecting on how true that is. Do you have any examples of where you made a decision to do or experience something and it worked? Start there.
For the rest of us who know, yes, I can choose this, firmly root yourself in the reality of, I can access a peaceful experience in me, right now. No matter what.
Can I look around and hear the silence around me?
Can I hear my own peaceful breath?
Can I see that the world of nature is working beautifully and in harmony?
Can I recognise the glimmer of settling within?
Can I sit still?
Can I calm myself to access my peace?
Can I be thankful for what I have?
Can I meditate on the idea that I am actually safe?
Can I realise that my life has many beautiful aspects to it?
Can I see my needs are met, despite my wants?
Can I breathe and be peaceful?
Can I slow down?
Can I see my loved ones and cherish them? (even if they are not here)
Can I meditate on the details of things I find magical and beautiful?
The answers are all yes. All accessible to us no matter what hell we are in. Moment to moment recognition of peace.
Seratonin is released when we enter this state. Chocolate also releases serotonin by the way. Important point. But yes, when we choose peace as a baseline, we release serotonin. A huge proportion of the globe are taking SSRI's (Seletive Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) for depression and anxiety. It is well proven that meditating on what is going right in your life, being grateful and focusing on the peace around you, has a profound effect on serotonin production. So many papers, published in reputable Scientific Journals, such as Cell and Nature, have shown the effect of this mindset and these practises as extremely effective for depression and anxiety.
So what can you do right now?
Realise you are not a victim
Realise you have power to choose peace
Realise you have have to choose it, it won't come by itself
Mediate on what is going well
Notice the breathe
Be thankful all day long
Cherish and be devoted to those you love
Be in a state of peace
Like anything it is a skill to be learned. You don't try this once, and then master it. It is a practice. Can you practice peace? Instead of reaching for information or going to a class or consuming something in the hopes of 'feeling better', can you access the experience of peace right now? It's free.