I’d like to start something new, this week, wherein one of us – every Monday – comes up with a quote for the week and adds a bit of our own insight to it. Of course, it’s already Tuesday here on the East Coast, but that’s beside the point.
The quote I’d like to share this week is from Gandhi:
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
Now, I have a really hard time with this one, for some reason. Which is why I chose it. I don’t think I have a problem finding peace from within sometimes, but letting it be unaffected by outside circumstance is where I have issues.
Then again, I’m not sure that I don’t have a problem finding peace from within, now that I think about it. Like – and don’t laugh – I sometimes feel moments of peace sitting here in my apartment on a quiet weekend, just looking at my cats sleep. I look around at the walls that surround me, the roof over my head, my books in the bookshelves, and my cats sleeping on the floor and I feel as blessed as an agnostic can feel blessed. I feel safe, I feel comfortable, I feel that in these moments there is a stillness and a sense of safety that nothing can breach.
But then, I realize that I am finding a sense of peace from walls. Creature comforts. The bills that I’m able to pay even though I’m still not fully employed, I get a sense of peace when I pay them and mark them paid and file them away in my file of paid bills….but that peace is simply peace of mind, knowing a bill collector won’t call me. That peace is shattered when I think of all those people who can’t pay their bills this month. Or last month. Or next month. And that peace is shattered when I think that I may be the one who can’t pay the bills two months from now. Goodbye bookshelves, walls, cats.
And then I get panicky, and I turn to a friend and say I’m a little worried, even though I know that friend can’t help. Or I write a new blog post in order to feel that I’m doing something to help the situation somehow. Or I write to my Rep, or my Senator, or my mother, or….anyone who will listen.
And I forget the peaceful feeling that I originally felt, having watched my cats sleep while dust motes float above them in the rays of sunlight coming through the windows. I forget how lovely it is to watch their bellies rise and fall as they breathe in, contentedly sleeping in the home I have been able to provide them after taking them from the shelter where they thought they’d spend the rest of their lives in cages. I forget that no matter what happens to me financially, I have moved across the country twice with barely anything in my wallet but hope, and I have survived.
Outside influences worry me to the point where I forget how to find my inner peace. My inner peace, however, when I finally regain it, reminds me that outside influences are not necessary to my inner peace.
I hope that makes sense. It makes sense to my cats, at any rate. And I’d like to hear, from you all, how this quote affects you. How you gain your inner peace, and how you keep outside influences from affecting it. Please share. I hope to learn from you.