BY: Sir Godfrey Gregg OHPM, ROMC
What is inner peace?
The Taoist answer is: Self Acceptance.
Inner Peace can be as simple as letting go, and resting under the shade of an old tree.
The path taken to find inner peace is as hard or simple as a person makes the journey of self acceptance to be.
A Taoist will embrace inner peace by always taking the moment to be present in their life.
I received this question the other day: The full text of the question goes as:
I have no idea how to go about resolving the constant questions that go through my head! Asking these questions just makes my life miserable as it always leads to no answers over and over again.
I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel all I see is more questions! Is it possible for people like me to find inner peace?
Everyone can find inner peace. The path is through acceptance. However, countless paths for finding acceptance exist. Some seekers take a longer path than others as they work out to resolve personal inner conflicts within their life. So the answer requires two parts. It first is important to understand the nature of questions. Then we will teach how Taoism helps a person find acceptance.The Nature of Questions
Countless practices and systems of belief exist to help people find answers. The challenge is finding a practice or system that matches to your nature.
For example: Zen practice teaches a person to just keep asking questions and then more questions until the mind literally says enough is enough and the mind just lets go. Of course Zen then takes this a step further and you ask a few more questions just to be sure you mind has learned to be empty of questions.
In Taoism you learn everything is relative. This means most answers are not worth chasing. So you let go of the questions to skip straight into acceptance.
In fact, Taoism takes this a step further to teach many questions don’t have a “larger” answer at all, that in fact the only answer possible is that you yourself are the answer. In other words, a Taoist reaches the point of acceptance where you, “as you are” literally becomes the answer for a majority of the questions you face…
In Taoism, questions fall into two categories: Outer Truth and Inner Truth. Questions that fall in the zone of Outer truth are questions that could be consider universal in nature. For example : What is Red? Red is a color… pretty clear cut right? Nope.
Since many questions end up being relative:
For instance What is Red? Well depending on how you perceive the world, Red can mean something different. So to someone who is color blind their RED may not be the same as your RED.
So questions which are dependent on your nature fall into the category of Inner Truth.
Even more confusing: questions could have different answers depending if you are trying to answer relative to an Outer Truth or Inner Truth such as the “What is Red?” question illustrates. So when considering this: it isn’t hard for a person to get stuck in endless loops chasing questions and semantics. A Taoist knows that answers are infinite. A person can spend an entire lifetime chasing answers only to left still chasing after more.
A problem is many people try to force questions which are Inner Truth in nature as if they were only Outer Truth based issues.
This is the root reason for religions causing so many problems: trying to force a personal answer as an universal truth upon others. A perfect example was the question I answered the other day about Taoism’s View on Homosexuality.
So back to the question about finding inner peace.
Taoism teaches this:
Inner Peace can be discovered when understanding many questions are actually asking about Inner Truth.
Inner Peace is a matter of accepting your life as an answer towards questions of Inner Truth.
How Taoism helps a person discover acceptance
The past is just… the past.. long gone and passed on by.The future is not here yet…Taoism teaches you are here now, firmly in the moment: dancing from moment to moment. By embracing the ride of now, a person quickly learns: to let go of false attachments to past pains, learns building a future is just a way of deceiving oneself away from now… In this process of embracing life now… a person can let go enough to actually have a chance to see themselves truly by being present in their life.
If you are too busy holding on to the past or chasing the future:
it’s hard to take the time to then see yourself clearly now.
A strange thing happens at this point… A person discovers all the internal fractures once considered to be flaws and weaknesses… are actually beautiful… That in the light of living now… all aspects of our life makes us what we are… and that is wonderful. In living now… all futures are possible: opening up new “Possibilties” of 10,000 dreams where each one is valid… and it’s fun to play about, to flow as life weaves together into something unexpected…. Because it’s always possible to accept who you are now. Inner Peace opens up as a person releases into their own nature.
Is it an easy path to let go of the past?No… since being able to remember the past always gives strength to avoid issues.Is it an easy path to stop holding onto the futureNo… since it’s by planning and slowly building with a good plan that humans have built so many marvelous wonders.Is it easy to accept oneself?No … not when so much strength can be gained through community: and in turn we are taught to base personal acceptance upon other viewpoints over our own personal values.Initially as a Taoist you learn to let go of everything in order to see oneself clearly and to embrace oneself as is. In time acceptance comes at the point of relaxing into oneself.Later in this process a Taoist mixes together all aspects of themselves… to truly live as oneself… this means being fully human. In harmony with the past and future to now.
Living with a Taoist outlook doesn’t mean to stop being yourself…
It simply means to not hold former shapes of the past.It simply means to stop limiting yourself to expectations for the future.It simply means to accept yourself now… honestly upon your own terms.
To take all the whimsy, experiences and your nature to where ever it might lead. So for myself the goal is just to enjoy, discover and swirl in wonder. Along the way to move gracefully while giving a helping hand as we can.
This Taoist approach keeps everything simple and honest. The most beautiful part is being present now, where acceptance is in each moment as it happens…
One step at a time.
Having no illusions: since the dance of life comes both with hard days and easier times. The Taoist just takes it as it comes… One moment, one step, one breath at a time.
This is the Taoist’s path for inner peace.
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