There’s a wonderful little scene in Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, in which she talks to her priest about finding inner peace. As Anne strives for a sense of serenity in the world, her interlocutor gives her some sage advice:
The world can’t give that serenity. The world can’t give us peace. We can only find it in our hearts.
To which Anne replies, I hate that.
And to which her confessor replies,
I know. But the good news is that by the same token, the world can’t take it away.
I’ve always been struck by the words from Luke 17:21, “for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
If you can find that “kingdom of God” within yourself, if you can find a realm of peace and serenity inside of your heart, then the external world can’t take it away.
I confess I’m still looking.