When you think of the word peace, what comes to mind? Some might envision “hippies” from the 60s and 70s making the peace sign and protesting the war. Others might think of peace simply in the terms of no wars or civil unrest in the world. There may also be those who think of peace as inner peace in a spiritual, religious or yogic way. However, you think of peace, the commonalities are calmness, lack of chaos or violence, and a state of ease or harmony.
Understanding what peace is, one might ask “Do I achieve peace personally? Or does peace occur externally?” The answer is both. Peace can exist in the external world as a result of other things not existing (war, chaos). But peace is also a state of being, of which there are many philosophies as how one can achieve it. Religious beliefs center around prayer and following the tenets of the individual religion. Spiritually one can achieve peace through being a good human being and giving back to others as your spirit will then be fulfilled. The yoga and meditation community see peace as a state achieved through breath and a meditative state which then creates a level of calm and inner harmony. But does everyone seek peace?
There are theories around trauma and family of origin dynamics which postulate that children raised in a chaotic environment (abuse, witnessing domestic violence) may seek out chaos in other relationships or environments in order to maintain homeostasis. While the idea of peace probably appeals to them, these children (and later as adults) may find the calmness and quiet of peace disturbing on some unconscious level. If all you have known is chaos, having peace may cause your body and mind to react and seek out chaos as this feels “normal.” Peace in this example could be reaching a state where you are able to regulate your body and mind when faced with chaos vs. achieving a state of quiet and harmony. Peace is a simple word and concept but, it is not the easiest to achieve. Yet we continue to seek it out and work on reaching this goal. May you find moments of peace this year and achieve a state of quiet and calm when you need it.
Michelle A. Culver, LMFT