"Each one has to find peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. " —Mahatma Gandhi

"Nothing external to you has any power over you." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

In November 1873, wealthy New York attorney Horatio Spafford and his wife Anna planned a Christmas holiday in England. Delayed by business in New York, Horatio sent his wife and four young daughters ahead on the cruise ship Ville du Havre. Tragically, on November 22nd, their ship was struck by an iron sailing ship. All four daughters were lost. Anna was found unconscious, floating on a plank of wood. Upon receiving the tragic news by telegram, Horatio set sail for England. As his ship passed over the spot where the Ville du Havre had gone down, the captain called Horatio to the deck. He pointed Horatio to the area where his daughters' bodies most likely lay, some three miles below.

But, instead of looking down into the abyss, Horatio looked out onto the dark rolling waves. He steadied himself, took out a pen, and began to write:

When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul.

In the midst of an unimaginable experience of grief, Horatio Spafford knew deeply that he was not broken. There was an indescribable, unknowable space that was untouched by the storms of human experience. He witnessed the paradox of holding both anguish and peace together in the same space.

This expansive, untouchable space is like a deep, immeasurable well. It is made of and suffused with aliveness, peace, joy, and love. This well-of-being is often referred to as the soul in religious language. Since every living being is fundamentally an expression of Life itself—a bundle of pure aliveness wrapped neatly in a costume called a body—then, by design, we are all part of that sacred well-of-being.

Like most people, I spent the majority of my life unaware of this immaculate, immeasurable space. In my unawareness, my peace was tethered to my experience—to the circumstances of my life. There was a compelling story of "this experience is mine and says something about me." As a result, when there was an experience of sadness or fear, it looked like I was not OK. I believed that my peace and security were inextricably linked to things like my health, my financial status, my relationships, and my ever-changing emotions.

Being tethered to experience—much like a dog tethered to a leash—is exhausting and limiting. I found myself doing things for the sole purpose of avoiding particular flavors of experience while gripping tightly to others. Since image was profoundly important to me (Do they perceive me as competent, smart, and articulate? Am I successful? Do they think I look polished and presentable?), I avoided any situation that might bring an experience of embarrassment, shame, or vulnerability. In my attempt to hold my experience at bay, my world became smaller and smaller.

Here's the thing...

You were never designed to find your peace and security in experience.

When you look to experience to find your peace, your OK-ness, and your wellbeing, it will feel restrictive and tight, by design.

After all, experience is ephemeral and fleeting, morphing from one shape into the next, slipping through your fingers like warm, white sand. Even experience that carries the illusion of permanence is, in truth, always, always fluctuating.

Naturally, you will immerse in experience. You will enjoy it, relish it, devour it, and love it. And at times, you will hate it, wallow in it, and wish it away. But, in either case, experience is just like the waves—rising up for a moment before dissolving back into the ocean to form a new shape.

Beyond the fleeting and fluctuating—the rising and dissolving—there is something stable, secure, and timeless. There is a space where peace is found in the midst of the storms.

That is who-you-are.

Beyond the chatter of the mind, you are the well-of-being.