It is a difficult experience for me to write about this book mostly because its topic invites you to be still and meditative. I found myself taking breaks after each chapter and falling into a state of peaceful transcendence, where I felt calm and connected to something immaterial. It’s rare that I have such an experience with a book. And in partly this experience is created because of the many useful prompts, questions and practical exercises that the author offers the reader. Diane Dreher (a Psychology Today contributor whose work has been featured in USA Today, Entrepreneur, Redbook, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Science of Mind, among others) begins her soothing ‘The Tao of Inner Peace’ by describing how :
Peace, Lao Tzu realized, is an inside job. Only when we find peace within ourselves can we see more clearly, act more effectively, cooperating with the energies within and around us to build a more peaceful world.– page xiv, in the Introduction to the Tao of Inner Peace
Later on in the book – in a chapter where the reader is invited to consider how to manage the flow of chi (life force) in one’s body through breathing – Diane further explains the practice of inner peace as detachment:
Detachment doesn’t mean turning a cold shoulder to the world. Far from it. It means transcending ego, caring without getting caught up in day to day commotion. Watching life’s changing panorama with patience, acceptance, and good humor– page 17 from The Tao of Inner Peace
In clear, unadorned language the author reaches to the core of some simple but often neglected truths. Similarly, I thought of these words written by one of favorite spiritual teachers, Alana Fairchild, from her oracle book ‘The White Light Oracle‘, where the yogini’s role is clarified in relation to the practice of inner peace:
“In numerous spiritual traditions of the East, such as those from Nepal, Tibet and India, the yogini is a female, spiritual adept, a practitioner of deep yoga that awakens a powerful connection with one’s real inner being. The yogini holds space for healing and enlightenment, moving through obstacles and challenges with wisdom, patience, commitment and often great joy.– pages 97-97 from Alana Fairchild’s The White Light Oracle Guidebook, Blue Angel Publishing
Indeed, it takes practice to become an ‘everyday yogini’ as oftentimes people will try to get us out of a state of inner peace and provoke us into battle/arguments/drama. But it is nonetheless important to continue to practice this role, if we would like to create more peace on Earth.
The author, Diane Dreher describes how her spiritual journey began with both an interest in Chinese brush paintings but also with a disappointment, a fall from the Garden of Paradise, like it usually happens for most of us placed on the spiritual path. In an interview, she talks about how her college boyfriend rejected her for wanting to pursue both a relationship with him and her own professional interests. When we encounter a person who limits our personal growth in some way and wants to make us subservient to their Ego, we meet the point where we understand that the Divinity in us is not respected. This painful ‘trigger’ moment & the decision we take to respect ourselves in that moment might push us onto a solitary path of deep introspection but it also connects us to our inner Self, and ultimately it helps us live a life that feels good on the inside. I think that finding inner peace is a life-long process and whenever we meet a spiritual teacher who can tenderly help us along the way, then this is a highly fortunate encounter. Diane Dreher is such a person and the way she adapted the teaching of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching (the Book of the Way) to modern concerns about respecting and healing the Self, is a blessing. I hope you’ll enjoy this powerfully unassuming book as much as I have.
‘The Tao of Inner Peace’ is published Penguin Random House: https://www.dianedreher.com/index.htm
With universal love,