How do we find peace and joy in the middle of a chaotic world? In the midst of the chaos, find the balance, and then you find the peace. When are you peaceful? When there is nothing to disturb your peace? That is not the true test of real inner peace. When there is everything to disturb your peace, that is the most important time to be peaceful.

In the midst of chaos, troubles, terrorism and disasters, that’s when you want to be peaceful. If there were no problems, if everybody could be peaceful, then why would you need something like Yoga? In the face of any and all problems, you should find peace. It’s worth it, and you can do it.

Peace of mind is the greatest treasure in the world. All the rest is nothing if you don’t have peace of mind. Sometimes, even in the name of saving the world, we lose our peace of mind. You might stand on a platform and shout, “Hey, I have a way to save the world. Come, listen to me.” If nobody comes, then you will get disappointed. In that case, you want to spread peace, but you lose your peace. If there is one great treasure in the world that is worth seeking, it is peace of mind. All other things are nothing compared to this.

Once you get that peace of mind, all the rest—people, material things, name, fame, everything—will follow automatically because you are a peaceful person. They will love to be with you if you are peaceful and if you don’t run after them. If you find peace within yourself, you will find peace everywhere. It starts from within you. You are not going to find peace outside if you don’t have it yourself. We say, “Charity begins at home.” I would say, “Everything begins at home.” What you have inside, you will see outside. If your eyes are jaundiced, what will you see? Yellow everywhere. You might ask, “How come everyone is wearing yellow clothes today?” Are they all really wearing yellow today? No. Why do you see yellow? Because your eyes are jaundiced. If your eyes are clean, you can see everything clearly. So, correct yourself first. Whatever you want to see outside in the world, find it first within yourself.

If there is another word for God, I would say it is peace. You have peace always in you, as your True Nature. God is peace and God is in you as peace. The Kingdom of God is within you. If you really experience peace mentally—complete peace, serenity and tranquility—then you are actually experiencing God. You are in God when you are in peace.

The moment you disturb your peace, you seem to miss that God. So to find God, what you need is a peaceful and tranquil mind. Your mind should not be agitated in any way. If you lose your peace, you lose everything. If you have peace, you have everything. Whatever happens, don’t lose your peace. Maintain your peace at all costs. When I say “at all costs” I mean that. You can give up everything and anything but not your peace. Your first and foremost duty is to make sure that the mind does not lose its peace. Treasure the peace of your mind so much that nothing, nothing, nothing can shake your peace. Everything else is nothing compared to peace of mind. You should be ready to renounce whatever stands in the way of retaining your peace. What good is it to have the whole world and no peace in your heart?

You don’t have to make the mind peaceful. It is already peaceful. If at times you seem to have lost your peace, it’s not that peace left you, but you simply disturbed it. Many times people ask this question: “How can I find peace?” The answer is, “You don’t have to go and find it; you have it. Please don’t disturb it.” We should take care that we don’t lose our peace due to our thoughts, words or actions.

Whatever comes and whatever goes, it doesn’t matter. Don’t lose your peace. By being peaceful yourself, you can inspire others to be peaceful. You don’t have to bring peace to the whole world. Bring peace to the place where you are sitting. If you are peaceful, at least that part of the world is peaceful. Is it not so? Do it first. Then you can think of others. Your most important and very first responsibility is to maintain your peace. Without that, even if you take action to help others, you are not going to do it well. You can be useful only when you are easeful and peaceful. If you lose your ease and peace, you become a nuisance to others.

Don’t get caught in these ups and downs in life. Life is filled with ups and downs. The world is always filled with dualities—ups and downs, day and night, right and left and so on. The opposites are part of the nature. But you can still find peace.

My final advice is to see that you maintain your peace under all situations. What is better than a peaceful life? Peace and happiness go together. Those who live in peace, live in joy.

Excerpted from Adversity & Awakening by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Available as a Kindle book or read for free here.