Don’t rely on rearranging circumstances in your pursuit of peace

We need to pursue peace in our lives by focussing on who we are within rather than on what is happening around us

I wrote last week about happiness and contentment. Today I’m inspired to continue in a similar vein thanks to this quote I came across from Thomas Merton:

You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realising who you are at the deepest level.

— Thomas Merton

The problem with tying our sense of peace to our circumstances is that many of the circumstances in our life are outside of our ability to control.

So even if we managed to rearrange some circumstances that could, potentially, deliver us more peace, who can guarantee that some other circumstance won’t come crashing in, immediately destroying that peace?

No, we cannot rely on something as transitory as circumstances for our sense of peace and wellbeing.

Merton rightly points us away from the external, ever changing circumstances of our lives, encouraging us instead to look within.

How we see ourselves, realising—and appreciating—who we truly are, this is something we can control.

Knowing who we are and loving who we are builds a foundation in our life that can withstand whatever life’s circumstances throw at us.

Jesus told a parable about a man who built his house upon sand and another man who built his house upon a rock. No prizes for guessing which house survived the inevitible storm.

Too many of us are building our lives on unreliable circumstances. Like a house built on sand, when the storm comes, everything comes tumbling down.

We need to heed to advice of sages like Merton and make sure we build our lives upon rock; we need to pursue peace in our lives by focussing on who we are within rather than on what is happening around us.


Image: Vaida Tamošauskaitė

Reflecting on my summer of fiction

A new way to embrace both science and faith