Are you waiting for “things to calm down” a bit before you can be at peace? Inner peace eludes many people who expect to discover it after things calm down, slow down or finally run down. But some wisdom from antiquity, attributed to French philosopher Montaigne, tells a different story about inner peace.
He tells that when the Greek King Pyrrhus prepared for his expedition into Italy, his wise counselor Cyness drew him aside and implored him to reconsider his aggressive activity. “Sir,” he asked the king, “to what end do you make all this mighty preparation?”
“To make myself master of Italy,” replied King Pyrrhus.
“And what after that is done?” asked his counselor.
“I will pass into Gaul and Spain.”
“And what then?”
“I will then go to subdue Africa; and lastly, when I have brought the whole world to my subjection, I will sit down and rest content at my own ease.”
“For God’s sake, sir,” replied Cyness. “Tell me what hinders that you may not, if you please, be now in the condition you speak of? Why do you not now, at this instant, settle yourself in the state you seem to aim at and spare all the labor and hazard you interpose?”
Gratefully, we are learning different attitudes today about war and peace. But can Cyness’ advice apply to our hectic and conflicted lives?
What keeps you from the inner peace and contentment you crave now? Must life’s battles be fought and won before you can be satisfied?
Television personality Dave Garroway spoke about finding peace. He said, “I happen to be one of those people who can afford anything he wants, but I find what I really want, I can't buy at all. I want peace of mind, peace of soul; the kind of peace you have when you don't really want anything."
Peace seems to come less from getting what we want than simply from wanting less.
-- Steve Goodier
Image: flickr.com/Brian Auer