I recently signed up for the free, 21-Day Meditation Experience, Expanding Your Happiness offered by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra, and today’s meditation was all about spiritual peace. For years, in my late 30s and 40s, I struggling with inner conflict and experienced a lot of stress in my life, all of which improved hugely when I started to find the inner peace that has come with finding a spiritual path that works for me.
The Winfrey/Chopra course is all about connecting with joy and happiness. The duo are on a mission to help people be happier and experience the undoubted health and life benefits that come with meditation. There is now an abundance of scientific studies which prove what the ancients always knew: meditation is good for you!
At the same time, I was asked by someone to contribute to a course they are creating to do with stress reduction. I can’t not teach, and years ago I used to teach the more ‘academic’ aspects of holistic healing for a friend who ran a massage school. One of the topics I taught was Stress Management. I even went and got a diploma in it myself, so I could teach it better. One of the things I learned as part of that process was that personal, inner conflict, along with perceived external conflicts has a huge impact on stress levels. Stress in turn has a ripple effect, affecting not just the individual but very often their families, the organisations they work in, and the society they are part of.
Dealing with my own stress (and clinical depression too) I realised that a lot of my problems sprung from an inability to handle conflict. I was conflicted inside, and I had some very conflictual relationships with bosses, colleagues and even people who offended me on the bus. It wasn’t exactly anger, it wasn’t explosive. It manifested itself more as a deep burning resentment, a feeling of ‘why does everyone else get the good opportunities, what am I doing wrong, why can’t these idiots see how good I am?’. And a lot of being judgemental on my part.
Now I am a lot further along my journey, I can respond to, and enjoy, what Deepak and Oprah have to say about inner peace. 20 years ago, I would have a very different reaction. Here’s what they offer by way of introduction to the meditation on Spiritual peace (or inner peace).
‘Our meditation today will connect us to an aspect of our joy that expresses itself as inner peace. This is not ordinary peace of mind or peaceful interactions with others. This is the permanent feeling of peace that comes from the soul itself, and encompasses all the other varieties of peace within it. The Bible refers to it as “the peace of God which passes all understanding.”
This level of peace is the core of stillness within that gives us steadiness and quiet comfort when circumstances in our life may be confusing, as well as when times are happy and fulfilling. This spiritual peace is our calm center that keeps our life in balance.’
I do think conflict resolution, and forgiveness processes such as Hawaiian Ho’oponopono are invaluable as part of a stress management programme. I remember a serving policeman once telling me how transcental meditation had saved his sanity, in that highly stressful environment. The combination of meditation, conflict resolution and Ho’oponopono for reducing stress and creating inner or spiritual peace is a powerful one indeed.