When my thoughts and feelings are in turmoil, I go up the local mountain to find inner peace.
I go up the mountain (really just a big hill) where a sense of freedom and spaciousness helps me sort out problems, soothe hurts, and feel a few hundred feet closer to God. Going up a mountain to pray is part of the spiritual history of my Christian faith tradition.
I tell people that the expansive views give me a larger perspective on what's bothering me, that it's a place of beauty that restores my spirit. Much of the time that's true. Too often it's a Big Fat Fib!
There are days when I am open to growing my sense of inner peace.
And there are days when I grumble every step of the way, about dog owners whose pooches poop on the trail, and bicyclists who dig deep skid marks, and people who litter, and the sprawl of encroaching houses, and anything else I can find to complain about.
Inner peace? It's more like giving the world an inner piece of my mind!
And what do I mean by inner peace?
I'm not talking about denial of the great difficulties and suffering that need our resilient attention and courage. Cultivating inner peace is not about falling asleep, to avoid conflict and struggle, but about waking up to where God is calling me to engage that conflict and struggle, bringing God's justice and mercy.
Why pursue inner peace?
It has great health benefits, because stress contributes to many diseases and dysfunctions. My digestive system, my sleep, my ability to concentrate, all are easily damaged by inner turmoil.