What is peace? Sometimes due to our mind’s habitual thoughts or continued attention to a particular condition, we can come to believe that peace is a thing separate from us, and is therefore something we need to work towards or strive for, to accomplish or to achieve. Yet in truth, Peace is the simplest and most natural state, inherent in all existence. At first this may seem a little far fetched, especially when all we have to do is turn on the news to begin to see conflict all over the globe as well as in our own backyard. But the truth that Peace is our natural state is very easy to see if we also recognize this fact: that it is the conflict that is being regarded as newsworthy and not the Peace. In other words, the conflict is what is “interesting”; when it stops happening, it’s considered normal, and no longer newsworthy.
By the same token, Inner Peace — peace that is independent of external conditions — is also our natural state.
Again, this is because it is our true nature. Our true nature being that all-pervading Oneness that is the Source of all the manifest universe. It is an infinitely silent, infinitely intelligent, field of pure consciousness. It is from here that all manifest creation expresses itself. As physically manifested beings, we have emerged from that same infinitely silent field. This is why when we engage in any form of self care that helps to simply quiet the mind a little, to simply do a little less with the mind, it is always easy to recognize very quickly that peace really is our true nature.
As previously alluded to, it’s important to recognize that there’s nothing we need to do to experience Peace.
am I at peace right now?
Then why aren’t we experiencing Inner Peace all the time? It is because we usually are doing something with our mind: we are generating thoughts that conflict with each other. For example, “I want more money” is one thought we may hold, and another thought could be something along the lines of “it’s too hard for me to make money.” So by simply choosing to drop either one of these conflicting thoughts we would cease the conflict, and therefore experience greater Inner Peace. However, it’s interesting to note that most often, one of the two conflicting thoughts is one that we’re consciously aware of, and the other is a subconscious thought, meaning that we are not aware of it. Quieting the mind then is a truly worthwhile practice because it allows those previously subconsciously held thoughts to bubble up to the surface of our conscious awareness. So that we can then consciously choose whether we want to let go of them or hold onto them.
Returning to our discussion of how to experience Inner Peace, all we need to do is begin to stop doing that thing we’ve been doing that’s been temporarily obscuring our natural state. And we can see that even the absence of Inner Peace is only a temporary phenomenon because like everything in the manifest universe, it too has a beginning, a middle, and an end. For example, if we are both honest and diligent in how we use our attention, we will see even on the days that we call “extremely stressful" days, that we did experience moments of less stress, some quietness, some degree of peacefulness.
So when we are willing to make the choice to direct our awareness more consciously, to what actually is, rather than only to the short-hand labels (such as stress, anxiety, worry, fear) that we’ve allowed our minds to be habituated to use, we recognize immediately that Inner Peace is not only more accessible to us than we had thought, but that we are already experiencing many more moments of Inner Peace throughout our day than we may have once believed.
when can I witness my own inner peace?
This opportunity to direct our awareness more consciously is especially more available to us during the times we specifically make for ourselves -- our asana or meditation practice. In every moment of our waking experience, we are experiencing some level of tension, and also some degree of Inner Peace. It is our commitment to consciously choosing to direct our attention more to one end of that spectrum than to the other that will determine what we experience more of, in the following moment, and the moment after that, and….
So for the next 30 days of your practice, I invite you to explore deepening your awareness of how much Inner Peace you are experiencing in each posture, in each thought, in each moment of your natural, still, beingness.