People “seek” peace. People say it is elusive. Transitory. Lost in a distant, simpler past. An illusion of childhood. Hidden in the wilderness, on mountain peaks, on placid waters. Embedded in lovely music, in hushed houses of worship, in sublime poetry. It appears we think peace is a state we visit, a temporary shelter from the storm of life.
What a comfort to discover that the search for peace begins and ends within us! Peace is the natural state of being before the formation of thoughts about ourselves. Peace is the deepest wellspring of survival, the source from which we keep mercurial life in perspective.
What gives me the right to say such a thing? No one could ever have “told” me that, or “persuaded” me of that. But in the presence of people who had discovered it for themselves and were, therefore, at peace and untroubled by variable thoughts, I stopped thinking so hard and fast myself. I calmed down, and then I SAW it for myself. It came as an insight, a realization about myself, about life. It was an immediate certainty that I am the agent of my own experience. The external world lost its power over me. Just like that, my perception flipped from that of a person living at the mercy of all the things happening around me to a person living at the effect of my own thinking about everything.
I recognized that I cannot change what happens around me; yet I knew I have the power to shape my experience of it from the strength of my own originality. My mind fluttered to rest, and for the first time in a long time, I felt free and empowered. I was sitting with a group in a restaurant when this beautiful moment happened and I never even mentioned it. It was my experience. I figured that my lunch companions were relieved that I had stopped talking so fast and asking so many questions, and I just relaxed and had a good time.
The most significant insight imaginable is not a big deal. It’s not a big deal because the peace was there all along; it IS who we are. Just settling back to who we really are feels natural and easy. But once we see it, we can’t “unsee” it. Even at moments when our minds start racing again, we know what we’re doing. It’s not scary; it’s temporary. Knowing we’re making it all up anyway and knowing there are infinite possibilities of what else we might be making up, we don’t get trapped in our own worst ideas. Peace is a dynamic state, the state of knowing, no matter what, that we are meant to thrive, always close to an answer we’d never dreamed of before.
The outcome of this remarkable awakening to how our own minds work and to our own psychological strength is that we become better problem-solvers. People think we’re in denial, but we aren’t. We are in invention. Accepting what is and re-imagining what we can make of it and where to go from there. Creating fresh ideas, unafraid of the untested.