Dude, where’s your inner peace?

by Vishnu on June 8, 2012

Dude, is that my car?

 

Dude, where’s my car?

Where’s your car dude?

Dude, where’s my car?

Where’s your car dude?

– legendary Hollywood (should have been Oscar-winning movie) Dude where’s my car?

Ashton Kucher and Sean Scott spend a full 90 minutes looking for their cars in the epic movie, Dude Where’s My Car after a full night of intoxicated partying. They wake up in the morning looking for their lost car and spend an entire movie trying to track it down.

This post is not about finding your car.

But I would say, on a side note, that I’ve had plenty of trouble finding my car.

You know that feeling when you park at a shopping center and walk out 8 hours later carrying 12 luxury shopping bags filled with necessities from Gucci, Saks 5th Avenue, & Nordstroms? And all 4 sides of the shopping center look EXACTLY the same?

You walk up and down the parking lot trying to unlock every car that looks like yours? And in the process are surrounded by armed security guards asking you to put your hands over your head and then cite you for disturbing peace when you try to run away?

Oh…never happened to you…Ummm.. moving on…

You may not have searched for your car in the shopping center parking lot or after a night of drunken stupor but what are you searching for in your life? (what a transition!?!)

Don’t we all spend our lives looking for something? Paris romances? Dubai riches? Hollywood glamor? Thrills of driving a Maserati?

Not you?

Okay, how about your own search for what you think will make you happy and bring you inner peace?

I think it’s safe for me to say that I was searching for work success, advancement, glory, riches. And spent the 12 to 14 hours of my working life every day trying to get ahead.

Why eat with others when I can eat and read journals about the next big ideas and great inventions?

Why drive, listening to music I enjoy, when I could listen to movers and shakers talking about leadership and achievement on CD?

Why go home early to see the family when I never know who I’m going to meet at the next business networking event?

Of course, when we spend all this time in our life in pursuing the wrong things – climbing the corporate ladder, chasing the next promotion or raise at work, pursuing Hollywood fame, achieving social standing, things tend to come to a crashing halt.

When do you search for inner peace?

Each of us at different point in our lives come to the same realization – “hey, I don’t know if want I’m pursuing in my life is really want I want! There’s something missing in my life.”

“I’m pursuing external achievements, milestones, relationships, and material possessions that really don’t make me happy or bring me peace.”

“This job, this relationship, this car, this house, this business isn’t really what I wanted.”

Or maybe you did want those things but you’re still feeling a big void in your life – you’re not at peace with yourself. Your mind is a worried and scared, you’ve lost meaning in what you thought you wanted or life throws you a nasty curve ball that brings you what appears like insurmountable problems and challenge.

Sometimes, it takes one or all of those things, to start your search for inner peace, calmness, and stability.

It might take a life changing event or tragedy for you to realize that you cannot be controlled by outside circumstances anymore. You will not let the outside world determine your peace of mind. You will refuse to bullied by life’s circumstances and events.

Why are you looking in all the wrong places? And the secret to finding inner peace.

When you do start looking for inner peace, many of us go awry and get lost in the journey to inner peace. We seek healers, gurus, spiritual leaders, books, religions, cool cults and other practices that we think will help us achieve inner calmness and awareness.

Just like how you previously traveled along the road of life towards external destinations, achievements and goals, you now believe that the road to inner calmness and peace comes through external means.

It doesn’t.

Unfortunately, it takes us a long time to realize that inner peace is something that’s…how should I put this…INTERNAL!

As scary, uncertain, and daunting as that may seem, the journey to inner peace begins within ourselves.

We can be guided by spiritual practices or guides but ultimately the state of inner peace is journey that begins within. The journey to inner peace is a daily choice that confronts us with hundreds of daily circumstances. As my friend Wendy points out, it’s how we react to daily challenges.

We can use external tools and methods on the journey to inner peace but the trip requires us to go within ourselves and strive to find peace in each moment of our lives. If you’ve started on your inward journey towards peace, here’s 10 practical steps you can take today on your journey to inner peace.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself”.

Are you looking for inner peace within yourself or searching for it like you’re at a buffet line at your favorite restaurant? What path are you pursuing to find inner peace?

Photo courtesy of Danny McL

{ 16 comments }

Wendy Irene June 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

LOL! A buffet line – even though I know you can’t find it there it does sound yummy! I’m trying my best to work on inner peace daily, but I need a lot more help with finding my car!! It is pretty much how I get my exercise for the week – the long walks circling parking lots. Thank you so much for the link :)
Wendy Irene recently posted..Too Much Junk in the Trunk? How to Conquer the Junk Food BattleMy Profile

Vishnu June 9, 2012 at 5:50 am

I will plan to do a follow up post on how you find your card Wendy! I wonder what the proportion of inner peace is to the amount of frustration it is to find a lost car:) They have GPS to find your way but no GPS to find your car!

Lynn Hess June 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Well, I haven’t had to run from armed security guards yet, but, yes, I have an awful sense of direction and have spent an inordinate amount of time in parking lots looking for my car. Thank goodness for the invention of electronic key fobs that go “beep!” when you press the button and help guide you to your “lost” vehicle. (If only someone would invent something like that for our lives! When you hear the beep, you would know which direction to go in to find exactly what you’re searching for!)

Like a lot of people I’ve tried lots of different methods and techniques and followed different teachers. I treasure all that I’ve learned from them — but finally feel that I’ve really started to look inside to my own self and own sense of wisdom for the first time. Or, rather, I’ve always looked there, but never trusted what I found. Always had to double-check it with someone else, or see if it was “right.” Now I’m beginning to trust what *I* feel a lot more often — and it usually works out a lot better that way :)

Spiritual growth has a lot of funny paradoxes. We have to be socialized and build our egos as part of our journey, then spend the rest of our journey trying to figure out how to break down what we built. And it seems like — at least for most people — we need to seek and quest and follow others in order to discover we already had what we are looking for and didn’t need anyone else to show it to us after all.

Another wonderful article — I just love the combination of humor and wisdom on your site, Vishnu!

Vishnu June 12, 2012 at 4:41 am

Thanks for your comment Lynn. I know what you mean by the electronic keys that make your car beep. Actually, I’ve tried it out unsuccessfully several times especially when my electronic car door opener started opening other people’s cars. That was a hard one to explain to the cops as well.

I do think teachers, guides, practices and religion even helps us start our journey within ourselves but when it gets to the question of inner peace, the only way we are going to find is in our own. I’m glad you’ve begun that internal journey, trusting yourself and finding out that you’re really all you need:)

I hear you about the funny paradoxes – how we build up our egos and spend the rest of our lives trying to break down what we built. But I think the first part of our lives, we are in darkness and we’re not really paying attention to what we’re doing and then we’re like, what the hell am I doing? If we don’t get there ourselves, life has a way of shaking us up to help us get there.

Thanks again Lynn – you just gave me another idea for a future post!

Keith Clarke June 11, 2012 at 1:45 am

Hey Vishnu,

Another great post: and one that could spurn countless others :)

I think I have hit the phase in life you are talking about. And I like Lynn above have tried many different things and the search was always external. We will meet teachers, we will find tactics and strategies, and all can be useful as long as we interpret them from an internal place. The thing is, as soon as we find something that has another set of rules, we limit ourselves again, and the focus is external. The trick is never to never be a follower. Easier said than done, but possible with a focus shift.

I like to apply the Bruce Lee philosophy (when I remember and I am not off chasing other external gratifications that my ego loves): Absorb what is useful, discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.
Keith Clarke recently posted..A Brave New World (for me anyway)My Profile

Vishnu June 12, 2012 at 4:54 am

Keith – you’re right – we need to change the focus from an external place to an internal one. Although the guides and practices are external, the journey to inner peace is internal:) I think just realizing that is the first step to making the shift.

Bruce Lee is a wise man! I think that philosophy allows us to make the determination of what will help us and what won’t. The good stuff we keep and the bad we don’t.

Thanks for dropping by and congratulations on the kickoff of your blog. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us.

Izzy June 11, 2012 at 2:21 am

There is quite a lively conversation going on here. But for good reason, you bring up some great points here Vishnu.

I for one struggled a few years back with this exact same concept, and still at times battle with it. I remember when I got out of college I tried everything to find “inner peace”…

I still remember a few years back when I spent a friday night rearranging my house because I had read a recent article about feng shui… And according to the article, the reason I had yet to find love and happiness was because I had too many electronics in my bedroom. Needless to say, feng shui wasn’t my issue.

Funny how “inner peace” is discovered “inside” of us :). There truly is power in a name. Well at least in this case there is.

I think a problem that harms many people is that they think there is a simple magical formula to finding inner peace but in reality, it is a constant progression. I definitely battled for years by going from “method” to “method” to “method”. I was looking for that quick fix, rather than acknowledging that it takes time. Also, I wasn’t looking inside.

Very insightful post Vishnu.
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Vishnu June 12, 2012 at 5:21 am

Izzy – funny story about the feng shui. I’ve seen feng shui working to clear out bad energy and removing obstacles. Then again, it was a situation where I removed a thorn from my thumb and I could use my thumb without pain:)

Thanks for sharing your story and journey. I completely know what you mean and of course you’ve given me a future post idea too. Inner peace, happiness, contentment are all journeys that take a lifetime. They are a constant progression like you say. YOu never quite get there – if you do, you’re probably dead or enlightened. lol

Thanks for your comment and support Izzy!

Galen Pearl June 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

I love your blog and have now marked it as a favorite. This post is great. It reminds me of something I wrote awhile back about not wanting to be a seeker, but rather wanting to be a finder. Or rather, being a finder. I look forward to reading more.
Galen Pearl recently posted..A Problem Solver’s ProblemMy Profile

Vishnu June 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

Thanks so much Galen. I appreciate you dropping by and your support:) I love your blog too – it’s one of my favorites. Looking forward to keeping in touch.

Sandra / Always Well Within June 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Vishnu,

I’ve definitely lost my car a few times in those shopping center parking lots. If I was mindful, I would just remember to look at the number or alphabet letter that marks the row. But do I remember to do that?

I agree with you fully that peace can only be found within. At the same time, I’ve found having a spiritual teacher and following spiritual teachings have been an essential key to helping me look within. It’s easy to delude ourselves on the spiritual path!
Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..What Do You Take Refuge In?My Profile

Vishnu June 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

hi Sandra – you may have gotten lost in the shopping center but how may times have you been escorted around by mall security in a search for your car:) ? The alphabet idea is a good strategy but who has time for that. lol just kidding:)

Peace is within but guides can definitely help get us there. Spiritual teachings help keep us on the journey like a GPS. ha ha but only we have to do the driving. That’s an original quote, I’m hoping.

The Vizier/Han of Harmony June 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Hi Vishnu,

I could never forget that epic line “Dude, where is my car.” I didn’t like the movie…haha!

There are so many people with so many differing views of how to find inner peace out in the world today that we can easily get lost in the search. But as you rightly pointed out, inner peace comes from within. We may have to learn the technique and skills from others to find inner peace, but that is only part of the process. The next part is going within and applying what we have learned continuously.

Different strokes for different folks. I believe we should follow the path that best appeals to us. There are many roads that lead to Rome or to inner peace, we should pick the one that comes most naturally to us. The only result that matters is getting to inner peace.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

Irving the Vizier
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Vishnu June 15, 2012 at 4:05 am

Thank you Vizier for dropping by! While I wasn’t a fan of the movie, I’m definitely a fan of finding my car!

Bottom line is inner peace is within us. Others can show us the way to peace but we have to find peace within ourselves. Finding the road that comes naturally to us or that’s the best to help get us there is key. Maybe some programs, teachers can help us fast track it to inner peace. Maybe reading the Han of Harmony can even help:) Thanks for your wisdom Vizier!

downfromtheledge July 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm

InTERNAL? No way. Should be kinda obvious, but I don’t think we really put much thought into how we’re going to find peace. When all those outside factors change, we believe. Love the Emerson quote…
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Vishnu July 8, 2012 at 5:07 am

yeah, we live in external stimulation and external events seem to dictate our lives internally. often, we forget the obvious things in life:) thanks for your comment and your honest well-written blog:)

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