I’m a huge fan of audiobooks. Every morning I listen to an audiobook, interview, sermon, or anything that will inspire me and bring me more fully into the spirit of the present. I am always amazed by how words of inspiration change my inner state from tired and dreary, to awake, energized, and joyful. As I do my makeup I let the positive words sink in. By the time I’m out the door I feel excited for life. This is the polar opposite of the feeling I have when I first wake up in the morning.
Inner peace is a practice. It requires practice in every single moment. This looks different in every moment. I know that when I’m at work it looks different than when I’m at home. At home I can listen to my audiobooks when I get ready for the day. At work I can allow myself to focus fully on each task, keeping my attention on the “doing” instead of the result I am working towards. When I am at home watching TV and a commercial about some deadly illness comes on and I am about to be afraid of it, I have to practice peace by letting go of fear. Each and every now is an opportunity for greater peace. It is totally fine that not all moments seem as peaceful as others, that is all part of the practice.
Yesterday I began talking about the pain body, the residual energy of past pain that lives within each of us. The pain body creates great opportunities for practice. Of course they don’t feel great, but the awareness gained in the moment of disidentification from the pain body can put you light years ahead of your current state of consciousness. Practicing inner peace with a heavy and active pain body can thrust anyone into a spiritual awakening.
When I was just entering high school I had a very active pain body. I can see now how the emotional pain and the thoughts in my head fed each other constantly. This was a blessing because I knew something was wrong. I knew that the pain and anxiety was not okay. I remember telling my mom, as she was driving home from a friend’s house, that there was something wrong with me. I told her that the voice in my head was always coming up with horrible scenarios about the worst things that could possibly happen to me. It would come up with scenarios where everyone I loved died and play through how I would cope and what it would feel like. While that all sounds quite dramatic, it wasn’t until many years later that I realized everyone had a voice in their head that was making up various scenarios, many of which had negative outcomes. The active pain body was so uncomfortable that it woke me up to that voice as a “problem.” Instead of assuming that the mind is just the way it is, I knew it was causing me too much pain to be in its natural state.
Together the pain body and the voice in the head create the ego. They live their lives through you, and until a little spark of disidentification comes in, they are you. They make your decisions, they create your reactions, and they completely obscure the inner peace that is your natural state. The ego will cease to run your life the moment you realize it is not you. That is all that is required. That is where the practice of inner peace begins.