Peace and Joy

Peace or equanimity is the acceptance of your current reality. Joy is the appreciation and celebration of your current reality. 

By these definitions, peace and joy are entirely in your mind's control.

Peace and joy are better to experience and share than disturbance or sorrow. But we often let outside factors determine our peace and joy, and make it conditional. "I'll be happy if I get that promotion", "if people are nice to me", "if I have enough money", "if my health is good" etc.

Why hold our own peace and joy hostage?

We think outside factors - people, environment, or events - disturb our peace or joy. When someone yells at us or cheats us, when there's an accident, when something doesn't go as planned, when losing something you like etc. In reality, our emotional response to these factors - anger, frustration, sadness, jealousy, fear - disturbs our peace and joy. Our emotional responses originate from our expectations and cravings - when we refuse to accept reality and the nature of people and things as they are.

Why disturb our own peace and joy?

We are genetically and societally programmed to have reactions and emotions that maximize our chances of survival and propagation. Greed and fear, for example, usually provoke action that may help survival. But greed holds peace and joy hostage and the fear disturbs it. This sort of emotional programming is primal and served a purpose when we didn't have such an advanced brain or a safe society.
Peace and joy aren't at odds with survival, passion or progress, but will actually help with those. You can still want to change reality to whatever you want it to be. But do so accepting the current reality and with positive emotions. Do so by focusing on what's in your control - your present moment, your growth, your skills, your resources, your influence, etc. 

With attention and practice, we can subdue this programming. Here are my tactics to experience more peace and joy:
  • Know they are in your mind's control. If there's a disturbance, examine which part of reality you aren't accepting and why. 
  • Give your mind alone time daily to meditate, reflect, and strengthen it to be less reactive. 
  • The less you need, the more you are in control. The lower your bar is to feel content and appreciation, the more you experience peace and joy. 
  • Accept the current reality and nature of things. Try to celebrate it. 
  • Focus on what's within your control
  • If you aren't at peace for a sustained length of time, then take a step back and spend some time by yourself or with close confidants to understand why and change things up. 
I'll end with one sentence that can help you reset whenever distressed - If we don't know the meaning or purpose of life anyway and you know your life is going to end, why let anything bother your peace and joy now?