Our conscious state is that of tension. Our aspirations, our doubts, our quest for materialism, the calls of our instincts, and our conscious and unconscious tramaus all denote that our origin is fraught with problems.
Every human being is on a quest to attain inner peace, either knowingly or unknowingly. We all have a unique personality which we are endowed with, which can be moulded, shaped, improved or worsened. We have to come to terms with this innate personality that we are born with-learn our contradictions, our flaws and the innate dispositions which make us sin- and then transcend them. Learning the art of self mastery, disciplining oneself, and then supressing our desires, contradictions and flaws which hinder our path to peace is essential; whilst transcending our ego which makes us think we are better than others.
The atheist Satre also recognized that anxiety was central to human experience-we have to first recognize it, accept it and then attempt to over come it. Interestingly in the Islamic tradition, the word for faith ‘Iman’ actually encapsulates a state of security, well being and peace. The word ‘Jihad’ means an internal struggle, which should ultimately lead to peace not only within yourself, but should then manifest in your community and finally creation at large. As surely you cannot strive to bring peace to the world if you are not at peace with yourself.
We must return to ourselves, turn inward, learn the art of introspection and reflect deeply. But when we turn towards ourselves, we must not become engrossed with only the spiritual side, with our soul, but one must find a balance between body and soul. Interacting within society, fulfilling the bodies basic needs, having a good relationship with people, while still constantly struggling to battle the contradictions inside of you, are all important to create harmony between body and soul.
‘Know thyself’ the Delphic oracle told the philosopher. This still rings true today as it did then. In order to attain peace, you must know yourself, come to terms with yourself and finally transcend yourself. Peace cannot be gained through the pursuit of material gain- well maybe superficial peace- but not an enduring, inner peace. Of course, the journey for peace entails different factors for different people. Everybody must go down a slightly different road to arrive at the same place.
“The uncontrolled mind does not guess that the Atman is present: how can it meditate? Without meditation, where is peace? Without peace, where is happiness?” (Bhagvad Gita 2:66)