You can’t buy inner peace or wisdom with money. You have to create them within yourself. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
This quote talks about two of the biggest fallacies in the modern developed world. Inner Peace and Wisdom are driving desires for most of us, but so many have no idea how to get them.
Many of us tie Inner Peace with money or the things money can bring us; a nice house, a better car, fancy clothes, a vacation somewhere exotic. But the results are only temporary.
Similarly, many try to gain Wisdom by paying someone to teach them, or to buy books for the indirect experience. Yet unless they make the experience part of them, they won’t become part of yourself.
And that’s what actually makes both of these work, taking the experiences, the knowledge and the desire and making them part of ourselves. In this way, we can keep them for life.
Why is creating inner peace and wisdom within ourselves important?
Just buying something may seem simple enough. You feel good for a little while. But then the shiny wears off. Then what? If you have learned to try to buy happiness, to purchase inner peace, you will grab your money and go looking for the next quick fix of what you think of as inner peace.
And wisdom works much the same way. You attend a seminar, watch a TV show or read a book. You feel better, you have more knowledge, and you mistake that for wisdom. For it to transform from knowledge into wisdom, you have to tie it into yourself. When it means something to you, it begins to become wisdom.
By taking the experiences within ourselves, by creating our own happiness, inner peace or wisdom, we own it, and it cannot be taken from us. By finding peace within ourselves, we no longer need to try to buy it from the outside world. If we learn from our experiences or those of others, we take that within ourselves and wisdom begins to bloom.
It is an interesting phenomenon, that we in the West are so fixated on conquest and buying that we have forgotten that what matters most can be found within ourselves. Perhaps it’s time to slow down and smell the roses.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Please understand that this isn’t a post against spending or consuming things. The people who make those things depend on you to keep their jobs. The point of the post is to remind us that our happiness and our inner peace come not from what we purchase, but from who we are and what we choose to become.
This method of finding inner peace is ancient as the oldest of civilizations, and has been practiced around the world. Prayer, meditation, contemplation and reflection are all words used throughout the ages for searching for peace within ourselves. Have you heard of any of these things before?
Yes, the greedy have been buying stuff for just as long, but how well has that worked? Did buying things make for lasting happiness or peace within your parents, grandparents or any of the people you’ve heard of over the years? The answer, at least in my experience, is a resounding no.
The question then becomes why would we want to model ineffective behavior? It’s one thing to attempt to do the same things that work for others, but not a very wise thing to try to replicate behavior that doesn’t work, right? And that’s where wisdom comes into the picture. We know, but do we do?
We probably know better, but until we actually make that knowledge part of ourselves, it sits solely in our minds as knowledge. Once we take that information to heart, and make it part of ourselves, wisdom will evade us. And that is a problem for many people. They know, yet they do not do.
Rephrasing a question from a few paragraphs back, do we do or do we simply know? Until we start taking it to heart and acting on what we know, it really isn’t wisdom. And no amount of money can buy that. It has to come from within us, we must create it within ourselves if it is to happen and be of value.
Wisdom comes from prayer, meditation, contemplation and reflection on our experiences and the experiences of others. Inner peace comes from prayer, meditation, contemplation and reflection of the beauty around and within ourselves. Practice, as usual, helps us become better.
But do you simply know it, or are you wise enough to take action? What will you do today to seek inner peace? What will you do today to seek wisdom? What will you do to create them within yourself? It’s not enough to know, one must also do.