“Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace” is a quote I’ve seen many times on the internet, usually attributed to the Dalai Lama. I usually responded by adding, “If others can destroy your inner peace then it is not inner peace, it is the mere semblance of it.”
As the non-aligned spirituality of the new-age percolates through society and its expressions I find many such examples of spiritual platitudes posing as wisdom. Usually they involve the presenter stating what appears to be hard-won wisdom that others should share. But usually, when denuded of their surface appeal, they turn out to be wish fulfillment fantasies of those who want to reshape the world according to their preferences.
But the world, as we know, will not be reshaped by anyone. The world is a desire pool in which we all swim, looking to realize our ambitions: a rewarding career, a happy family, possessions aplenty, vacations in paradise. And that’s just the short list. Millions of desires joust and intermingle every day. Every minute of every day. There is plenty of room for all those desires to express themselves, but in that great space there is also endless opportunity for those desires to disturb and conflict.
Part of our training here is learning not to be disturbed by the desires of others. Most of us find our distance from inner disturbance by middle age, once the passions of youth settle. Most, however, do not uncover inner peace under the quilt of personality, but they do learn to keep the turmoil of the world out there where it belongs.
Inner peace surfaces when the electric charge of fear and desire manufactured by the striving and irritated ego are mastered by the soul asserting its innate serenity. The soul knows that nothing can alter or divert its journey of discovery, including political repression and sudden death, but it takes a compliant psyche to give it sufficient breathing space to exercise that knowing amidst the chattering and complaints of the ego. For some that never happens. They tire of the chatter and complaints but they cannot subdue it. They merely get exhausted and die.
But some are willing to enter that fray with quiet determination, battling down each fear, insult, irritation and outrage with an inner calm which refuses to budge. Eventually that inner calm quells the storms and settles the sea to the point where no ‘others’ can disturb it. And further along in that eventually, the existence of ‘others’ also disappears.