The "Practical Spirituality" Newspaper

Strategies for Securing Lasting Peace

In Homework, Study Group on April 25, 2009 at 11:45 am

Solitude. It’s one of those words which seems to dwell on the fringes of modern vocabulary. Little used in todays world, it is as though mere mention invokes its shrouded meaning, obscuring any inspection of the words true nature.

When asked to describe what ‘solitude’ means, people generally answer that it means ‘to be alone’ or ‘to be by myself’. And they will probably add ‘…being away from other people’ indicating that there is also a ‘distance element’ necessary to ignite the experience. In fact, we tend to believe that the element of distance is the primary cause of the tranquility we experience when we are ‘away from it all’.

Of course, when we distance ourselves from a stressful work environment and take a vacation, for example, the problems that go along with being at work disappear and ‘no longer exist’. As a result, when we are on vacation – sipping on a little umbrella-clad drink by the side of a pool – any feelings we usually experience at our work fade also. These feelings do not belong to our current experience ( of mind ) or what we are in the presence of – in this case a swimming pool at a holiday resort.

It is true that we do gain respite by distancing ourselves from stressful situations, people who get on our nerves or other things which ‘get at us’ like work, traffic, noisy children, work deadlines, etc. But as we know, merely distancing yourself from these things is a temporary solution at best.

For many of us, “side-stepping stress” is as far as we go in our efforts toward securing true peace in our lives. But, the reality is that our lifestyle-stresses don’t really “go away forever” while we are on holiday or take leave of them. We will be just as stressed when we come into contact with these things once again. That’s what ‘Monday-itis’ is all about – the abrupt stopping of the weekend.

When we ‘get away from it all’, we are not really correcting the situation. We are merely turning our attention away from or forgetting about the stressful work environment, home life, etc we are going to return home to when our time or money runs out. Forgetting about life’s problems for awhile can be benefical at times… but it is not a good long-term life strategy. Denial and distration never are.

But, having said this, how many of us merely seek short-term solutions to this long term problem?

Once we become aware of our tendency of directing our energy toward short-term solutions rather than long term one, this raises the question of “How do we find true, long lasting peace in our lives?” How do we do so in a world which seems to bombard us with things to do, constantly confront us with situations to deal with, test our boundaries and demand that we play a part? Is it even possible to find the peace we desire ( if not crave )?

Q. What is your strategy for finding peace?

( More tomorrow )

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