Achieving Peace

September 24, 2010 Sandra Dawes

In my mid-twenties I got a tattoo.  I wanted it to be something meaningful, something that I would look back at years later and it would still be significant. I’ve never been a spontaneous person, so there was a great deal of research done before I decided what the image would be.  I decided to get an eight-point star, representative of the Noble Eightfold Path.  It was the referred to as the Buddhist symbol for inner peace.  I wanted my tattoo to be a symbol for peace and the usual ones just didn’t feel right.  This star seemed perfect!  Inner peace seemed like a great concept, something to strive for, though at the time I don’t think I truly knew what it meant.  The noble eightfold path is as follows:

  • Right View
  • Right Thinking
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Diligence
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration

I had this tattoo on my body for years, carrying it around with me every day, without really resonating with the importance of this symbol.  I had it tattooed on my body because it was a concept that was important to me, but I hadn’t figured out what it meant or how to achieve inner peace.  It was about 3 or 4 years ago, as I was going through a difficult period of my life that a friend reminded me of the tattoo, and said, if inner peace is your goal, then your decisions should be guided by that.  What an amazing concept!  Here I had marked my body for life with a symbol that I held dear to my heart, and when things got tough, I had completely forgotten that peace, not stress was what I wanted in my life.

Gandhi said you have to be the change you want to see in the world.  I hope for a peaceful world.  For my undergraduate degree, I did a major in third world politics with a minor in peace studies.  I believe world peace is possible, I believe world peace is necessary.  But how can we achieve peace in the world, when we haven’t achieved peace within?  It has been my goal for the last several years to achieve that inner peace that I thought was such a novel concept that I permanently etched it on my body.  I began reading books on the law of attraction, which made me realize that the drama I was experiencing in my life was not there by accident.  I realized that if I really wanted to change my life, I had to change my thoughts and the way I reacted to the good and bad happening in my life.

In the last year and a half I have developed a daily mediation practice that has really helped me achieve peace of mind.  I write a gratitude journal, where I give thanks for various things and experiences in my life.  I have also started a yoga practice in the last year, which changed my body in ways I never thought possible and helped my concentration as well.  I feel more confident and self aware and now understand that I really do have the power to control my experiences and happiness is my birthright.  I do have moments where I still get frazzled and anger and fear find their way into my experience, but I feel like I now have the tools to get back to a state of peace, which I once thought was something only for saints and other supreme spiritual beings.  Life doesn’t have to be full of drama or chaos, we all have a choice to live the lives we want and I’m so much happier now that I’ve found my way to achieving peace.♥


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