Inner-peace is a state of being. Happiness is an emotion.
I used to say that I just wanted to be happy. But what I really was seeking was inner-peace. I write about this in more detail in my Guru book above.
Happiness is an emotion and emotions are fleeting, ephemeral. They come and they go. They are impermanent. Our other emotions include, for example, anger, fear and anxiety, sadness, loneliness, etc. No matter what my emotions, I seek to maintain my inner-peace, my equanimity. A lot easier said than done.
When anger comes roaring up. when I am sad or lonely, when I am afraid, how do I try to maintain my inner core of peace and equanimity? An inner core of peace has to be cultivated. This is where spiritual practice comes in. My daily morning zazen (meditation sittings), journaling, and self-reminders to be mindful, to not attach to the emotions, not to judge or get all caught up in them, all come into play. Especially for negative emotions, I try to remind myself that the emotions will decrease in intensity and disappear if I do not attend to them and just let them be there. Note them, pay attention to what they are trying to tell me, put try to not get all caught up in them. The positive emotions like happiness, I just try to enjoy, knowing they too are impermanent.
Emotions are motivators. They are ancient, going back to the most basic attraction and avoidance. Our emotions are there because they helped increase our ancestors two evolutionary imperatives: survival and reproduction. Most of the emotions are negative because there were a lot more things out there that could harm or kill us than could help us.
In later blog I will introduce the concept of emotional hyper-space as it pertains to our comfort zone. Emotional hyperspace is a way of visualizing graphically how our emotions move us out of our comfort zones, expand it, and try to move us back into it.