thoughtful black man in activewear meditating in autom park

What Does it Mean to Prioritize Peace

Our desires and our wants are the source of our suffering. We have a choice to make. We can give in to our own desires, or we can have peace. There’s no way of having both and there’s no finding it in the material world. Desires aren’t guarantees and when we don’t obtain our goals, we feel a bit defeated. We feel like we’ve failed. We all of a sudden lack something that we didn’t need in the first place. Even if we did reach our goal, the ecstatic feeling of victory doesn’t last very long. So we live a life of high highs and low lows.

If we want true peace, the only thing we should desire is peace. Our desires take us out of the present moment unless the desire can be fulfilled in that exact moment. We if have a desire such as losing weight, that’s something that we’ll have to look forward to. If we don’t get the results that we want, we start to have some anxiety about why our body won’t adapt to the physique we want it to. After time passes, we start to become depressed because no matter what we do, we can never lose the weight that we want. Wanting something, especially wanting something that might be difficult to obtain, only brings about stress. When we look toward our desires, we detach from the blessings we have right in front of us.

The chase is addictive and we’re always trying to get to that next high. This is why getting promotions and/or receiving pay increases are alluring. We’re taught to keep progressing in life. I fell into this trap believing that I should be a director. I had the experience, I did well at my job, and I wasn’t content. It was time for me to go on to the next step in my career. I didn’t know that I would dislike it. The thing about addiction is that the same success doesn’t get us high anymore. We are always looking for something stronger. It’s a great feeling when we have that accomplishment. That’s until the next thing comes around.

We gain peace when we learn to accept what is. When we accept and surrender to what is now, emotions like sadness, anger, and disappointment dissipate. I found this to be true in my dating life. I’ve always had a goal of basically falling in love with the people I date. If something were to go wrong, I wouldn’t accept that things just didn’t work out. I didn’t accept that we weren’t compatible. I always thought there was something wrong with me, and that I needed to read another pickup book to be better with dates. It was a pretty sad existence that most male-identified people go through. I’ve been better at disassociating with these goals and accepting what happens. We say that it’s about the journey and not the destination, but how many people actually take this common saying to heart?

When we choose peace over the many things that we can turn our attention to, we allow ourselves to be present. You might be asking, why is peace my true desire? Think of all the things you want. The cars, the clothes, the success, the relationships, and ask yourself, would you want all of these over peace? Would you want to live a miserable life if that meant that you were a part of the 1%? If you are anything like me, the answer is no. Give me peace. That doesn’t mean that none of these material successes aren’t possible. It means that my peace isn’t dependent on how much money I have in my bank account. Once I choose peace, all the other things can come to me without attachment. I won’t feel lost if I lose another dollar, another job, or another relationship.