Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding Peace in India

If finding peace in India involves living, behaving and dressing like Indians then how do you know it's India that brought you peace and not simply fitting in. Finding somewhere you fit in is important in life. Wouldn't it make sense you could find this peace anywhere in the world that you made the effort to fit in? Doesn't it also make sense you may not find this peace in India?

You may not find this peace anywhere you are looking actually. Some find it in ashrams, others by meditating outside and some find it in the freedom of not having to face their peers. You can go to any country and not have to see anyone you know after doing something stupid, wild, or irresponsible. India seems to be a prime choice for things like this to occur as it's often viewed as inexpensive and forgiving.

Maybe you're not finding peace because you're trying too hard to fit in. Maybe you don't belong in the surroundings you're in, maybe you do. Maybe you don't know. Is the peace you're looking for really inside of you and you just haven't found it yet? I think this happens to many people. They get so caught up in life and the things going on around them that they don't realize they can find their center and be at peace even in the most chaotic of places. Maybe that's what India teaches them.

Hinduism, as well as other religions, is the same. Just because you've accepted the religion as your own doesn't mean you need to start dressing in sari's or salwar kameez. Couldn't your bindi look just as good with jeans and a t-shirt? Do you really need to wear the whole outfit to look appropriate or can you get by with just the kameez and jeans? Maybe you want to wear a t-shirt with salwar. Can you? Of course you can.

As open and tolerant as countries like America are, you may not be truly free to find this inner peace. America is a Christian dominated country. Anything outside of acting, living and behaving within those set guidelines is frowned upon. Some people may even feel pressured. Society as a whole forces conformity with a general set of values. India is no different and in some instances individuality is even more frowned upon.

Of course, as a foreigner you enjoy certain forgiveness over not 'being Indian' but at the same time you are expected to somewhat conform to the culture. This could feel stifling and frustrating at times. How stifled you feel depends on where you live, whether it be in a modern city, a rural village or a conservative area.

Anyway, before you decide to go to India to find peace, you must be realistic in considering what you will have to give up, what challenges you will face when you get there and how you will address each of these. You need to prepare yourself for the possibility that your life in India will be just as challenging as your home country. Plan ahead for how to manage these obstacles. Research culture shock, common expat problems, etc. Look into expat coaching and counseling sessions and connect with other expats in similar situations.

Above all else, learn to find the peace inside of yourself. It's there and you don't need an ashram to find it.


  1. thank you for this post! i moved from austria to mumbai 7weeks back. i love india, but sometimes it can be a lil hard ;)

  2. Yes, it can be difficult to adjust to. What made you decide to move?

  3. I think finding peace is an internal process, you don't need to look elsewhere to find it, and if that is the only reason one move to India for, it's not going to happen. Peace is something that happens within, it's the feeling of being in tune with your mind, body and whatever surrounding. And to find it you need to do what feels right to you, not what a religion, or trend said is the way to find peace.

    And yes totally agree, you can be of any religion dressing anyway you like, no need to dress in ethnic Indian wear to be hindu, or not wear any ethnic wear if you like it simply because you aren't of a specific religious group. Dressing for personnal comfort is actually the sureest way to be on the path to inner peace :)

  4. Great post! I do find it ironic when people say they've found peace in India because it's like one of the most difficult places to live in (in terms of day to day life)!

  5. True, life in India is often difficult. Sometimes peace comes from the difficulty. As if it's better to be working harder and "doing something." I don't feel that way but I've heard some say things like that.