Can You Find Inner Peace?
Back in 1854, American author Henry Thoreau wrote: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Evidently, in his day most people did not enjoy inner peace. That, however, was almost 150 years ago. Are things different today? Or do Thoreau’s words still apply? What about you personally? Are you content, at peace? Or are you insecure, uncertain about the future, ‘quietly desperate,’ to paraphrase Thoreau’s words?
UNHAPPILY, there are many things in the world that rob people of inner peace. Let us mention just a few. In many countries unemployment and low income bring poverty and with it economic desperation. In other lands many expend most of their energy chasing wealth and material possessions. Often, though, the competitive life-style involved brings anxiety, not peace. Illness, war, crime, injustice, and oppression also rob people of peace.
They Sought Inner Peace
Many are unwilling to put up with the world as it is. Antônio* was a labor leader in a huge factory in São Paulo, Brazil. Hoping to improve living conditions, he took part in protests and demonstrations, but this did not bring him peace of mind.
Some hope that marriage will bring a measure of tranquillity to their life, but they may be disappointed. Marcos was a successful businessman. He got involved in politics and became mayor of an industrial city. However, his homelife was a disaster. When his children left home, he and his wife separated because of irreconcilable differences.
Gerson, a street child in Salvador, Brazil, wanted adventure. He drifted from city to city, traveling with truck drivers. Before long he was a drug addict, robbing people to pay for his vice. Several times he was caught by the police. Despite an aggressive, violent personality, however, Gerson longed for inner peace. Could he ever find it?
While Vania was still young, her mother died, and Vania became responsible for the home, including the care of her sick sister. Vania attended church but felt abandoned by God. She certainly had no peace of mind.
Then there was Marcelo. All Marcelo wanted was a good time. He liked to party with other young people—dancing, drinking, and abusing drugs. One time he got into a fight and injured another youth. Afterward, he was overcome with regret for what he had done and prayed to God for help. He too wanted peace of mind.
These experiences illustrate some situations that can destroy peace of mind. Was there any way that the labor leader, the politician, the street child, the overworked daughter, and the partygoer could attain the inner peace that they sought? Does what happened to them teach us anything? The answer to both questions is yes, as we will see in the next article.
Some names have been changed.
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Do you yearn for inner peace?