When I first heard the words “peace that passes all understanding” as a child, it was as though it subtly planted the seeds of peace within my heart. Through many years tending to that garden, I have come to experience moments of profound peace. The phrase pointed me to the truth that such peace is always available to us, when we are willing to look deeper, become still and go within.
To live in peace is to live free from fear of violence, conflict or hostility. In peaceful living, we don’t feel any sense of “against-ness” towards anyone or anything, including ourselves. We feel whole, unified with all that is. This is because we are rooted in our inherent interconnection with life itself. Established in inner peace, we realize that any notion of against-ness is a passing illusion, one created by our ego that only knows to separate and divide.
How to Find Peace
How do we experience that timeless, expanded state beyond our ego’s grasp? We each will have our personal answers on how to find peace. For me, as a devoted meditator, I begin every day sitting in presence with the silence of dawn.
When people ask me what meditation is, I answer that it is a way to develop intimacy with the moment, exactly as it is. This may seem like a contradiction when there are so many things about ourselves, others and the world that bother us. But to find peace, we need to first see that we tend to attack the moment with our busy thoughts, judging it and trying to control how we think the moment should be. When we let go of this painful tendency, we enter into a peaceful relationship with the here and now.
World Peace Begins Within
Peace in the world and peace within ourselves are interconnected. World peace begins with individual peace of mind. We need to get to know ourselves. We need to befriend ourselves. We need to understand the wars we wage in our minds, the way we carry animosity and against-ness towards ourselves, each other and the world. We need to realize the way we inadvertently attack the moment, without even knowing that we do.
Here are some simple ways you can develop a more peaceful relationship with yourself, as the foundation to a peaceful world. Ask yourself:
- Am I willing to take a few minutes, morning and night, to find a quiet place where I can be calm and alone, and be present with myself? (For example, make it a habit when you first wake up to sit quietly at the side of your bed for a few minutes just to breathe, before doing any other activity. Do the same before going to sleep.)
- Am I willing to take a few moments throughout the day to tune into how I am feeling and be present for myself? (Return to the feeling of sitting and breathing in the morning. Do this at your desk, while on the bus, or waiting in line at the supermarket. Begin to include awareness of yourself like check-points throughout the day. Let it be a gift to yourself and the world.)