“You have peace,” the old woman said, “when you make it with yourself.” Mich Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
I went out to dinner with a husband and wife team last week and following a slight altercation between the two of them over something that I can’t even recollect now, I just happened to ask them what they did ‘in their spare time’. ‘We fight’ they said. An answer which caused much gaiety, but in their case I might add, is probably not far from the truth. They are Italian after all, and erratic passion is in their DNA or so they tell me.
The next comment from them was ‘we don’t have spare time! ‘No, come to think of it, we don’t actually rest ’. Peace?
And so, if I asked you to pick up a camera, a paintbrush or a pen to explain what peace looks like….what would you create? It seems that ninety-nine percent of the people who attend my yoga classes are seeking what they consider to be an ‘elusive state’, that is the ‘state of peace’. Surely this is the precursor to ‘happiness’. The very essence of ‘happiness’ is experiencing peace in your heart, body and mind? Is it not? And yet it is difficult to find – or is it?
We all have ‘peace within us’. It is just that we don’t know how to tap into it and are too busy looking for it elsewhere. Searching outside of ourselves appears to be our most active and futile past-time.
Would the photograph you envisage be that of a beautiful sunset, waves rolling into shore or a lone fisherman on a lake? Would you tell me that a holiday on a deserted island, or the sound of the sax, or a beautiful ode gives you peace? Perhaps the clouds in the sky, a glass of red or a ‘Xanax’ or two would do the trick? Yes, all of these can give you peace – for an instant! Ah… all so temporary, obscure and irritatingly intangible. Let’s face it, these solutions are just delusional diversions to keep you firmly bound up in your ego, blocking your ability and/or your will to find that which truly brings you composure.
So if it is within us, where is it located? Where do I look? What picture do I create?
Let me give you some clues….and remember these are only my discoveries. You will need to find your own!
However, in saying that, I am happy to help …..it has taken me many years and many paths to reach this point…..so I would like to share some short-cuts to set you on your way.
I do feel peaceful now more often than not, and it is a place I intend to dwell in. It is so deep, energizing and tender that I couldn’t imagine living in any form of restlessness ever again.
That ‘something’ unchanging inside me simply had to be found. I was on a quest.
You may be asking by now – how?
There are many, many avenues….let’s take two for the moment shall we?
‘Go out of your mind’.
The mind is the seat of emotions, feelings, impulses, likes and dislikes, judgments and what-not. It is mental agitation that gets in the way of peace because we simply listen to our minds and become embroiled in its nonsense. 60,000 – 70,000 thoughts a day. Most of which are useless. And around seventy percent of which we had yesterday! Go figure!
Give the mind some space by creating a blank canvas. Close your eyes for a few moments and draw your attention to the breath. Do this often and with full awareness. Over time, you will notice the calming effects as you ‘still your mind’.
Don’t just read this! Do it! Over and over and over again.
Pride and Prejudice
Peace comes when we don’t have any conflict with ourselves. When we believe we are part of a whole, a cog in the ‘Samsara’ of life. We feel neither inferior nor superior to any other being. We walk the path of equanimity and identify our own skills as contributions to the world at large. We understand that there is a special place in this world for each of us and that it is our responsibility to gift our skills.
It is just as narcissistic to feel inferior as it is to feel superior. The latter causes one to ‘look down’ upon others and to believe we hold all the answers; the former is to be totally ‘self-absorbed’ by dwelling in our own illusory ego.
We need to drop our pride and prejudice, come to realize our true value, and live in the peace of that knowledge.
More peaceful posts to come……..