Question: Derek, for the year 2008 my goal is to create an environment where I can enjoy peace of mind. Do you have any suggestions from the Tao perspective as to how I can go about doing that?
Answer: Yes, but the Tao perspective is about inner peace leading to outer peace, not the other way around. We need to let go of the idea that how we feel internally is dependent on the external world, and embrace the concept that ultimately it is the internal landscape that becomes reflected as physical manifestations externally. The illusion is that we are victims of circumstances beyond our control; the reality is that we are powerful creators of our own personal reality.
What this means, specifically, is that if we are unable to accept ourselves in the present moment - if we keep revisiting the past with regret or resentment - then it won't matter how quiet our environment is, or how much we resort of practices like meditation. We may achieve temporary calmness, but lasting peace will still remain elusive, beyond our reach.
The Tao Te Ching says "returning to the root is called tranquility." This is a clear direction to us on finding peace. We need to go back to the basics, to the root of the true self. If we can be at peace within, we will be able to address spiritual turmoil at the root level. Only after that will the path to real peace of mind be revealed to us. Thus, the best recommendation I can give is to turn your attention inward, establish your tranquility within, and then let it radiate outward naturally and effortlessly.