We all would like a little more peace in our lives, but how do we cultivate it? Do we say nice things? Do we smile at strangers more? Do we forgive people? Do we wear a peace sign around our neck to remind us every time we feel it tugging that we want to be more peaceful? Do we stare at a statue of the Buddha or listen to a CD of a babbling brook?
There are many paths to peace and, likewise, many definitions of what peace is. But for me, what lies at the very heart of peace is one thing: simplicity. And, the good news is…simplicity is available right here, right now.
Through simple living, we allow ourselves to slow down. And when we put the brakes on this frenetic pace of living, we are able to foster gratitude and and compassion. Gratitude for everything that we have; the simple abundance of blue sky, the songs of birds, breath in our lungs and the awareness that enables us to see and be with everything that is. Compassion to consciously embrace that every living this is as entitled to love and we are and that when we allow other things to be known and loved, love blossoms within us.
In our materialistic culture, the name of the game is accumulation. Get, get, get. More, more, more. This competition to acquire and be something to be known for what we have and how important we think we are. All the while, we’re building an ever expanding shell of a life around a profound hollowness and the larger that she’ll grows, the more britttle it becomes and the more work it takes to keep it intact.
When we allow ourselves to humble and graceful, all of life flows to us authentically. We are imbued by realness. Our smiles, our laughter. Our sadness and our pain. Our sensuality. Our gratitude. Everything we are is intended to be experienced as it arises. No ulterior motive and no affectation.
When we are committed to living simply, we begin to realize that it was never a challenge in the first place. The struggle was trying to be inauthentic. And that is where and when the fountain of peace begins to flow and spring forth within us.
We share so much and yet we forget this when we consume ourselves with this petty pursuit of self-identification. We build walls around ourselves; isolating our souls and minds from one another. We construct our own experience, totally unaware that it is the collective human experience that really matters and that can truly transform our lives.
The story of society is almost as much to do with collective experience as separate experience. But what is achieved when we seek separation? Nothing. Our emotional reality is inseparable from that of others. We occupy this spiritual dimension whether we would like to admit it or not. And what benefits one of us benefits all. If the root of compassion and humanity is expected to take hold, we can’t act as though the needs of others are not our needs as well. To feel love, to be safe, acknowledged, fed and clothed…is this not universal?
Global consciousness is God consciousness. It’s little wonder that the concept of God is often synonymous with morality. Beyond the conventional idea of God as someone or something, may we ascend to a level of understanding that holds God consciousness as the energy available to all of us when we merge our lives and our spirits into the collective human experience. What could be more moral than truly loving others? What could benefit all people more than acknowledging that all people are imbued with the essential nature of Godliness?
As rational people, it is our right to know. That is, to fully understand and comprehend every component and particle of our world, both material and immaterial. This includes understanding others; breaking them down into a simple bare bones paragraph.
But there’s so much we don’t understand. Eternal questions of why can sometimes haunt and unsettle us to our core. Or even how. We may have tried to rationalize and therefore justify the actions of others but inevitably end up with no explanation. So many enigmatic components to this universe and the beings that occupy it.
Shifting from exclusively seeing everything as purpose driven and causal to seeing them as phenomena helps tremendously. This is, in many ways, the simple act of accepting this incomprehensible and rescuing ourselves from the confirmatory desire.
Meditation gifts us this ability to witness phenomena without any need to understand it. When you sit in the present, everything comes to you as it is. The plane overhead is just a plane. The fly buzzing around your nose is just a fly. The stresses of the world are just constructs of our busy minds that have fallen victim to over-response.
By embracing the miracle of experience, we free ourselves from the need to package each thing into a neat little box. The meaning, if there is any, is transcendent. What we are able to conceive is never the truest depiction of what it…is.
Do you ever feel guilty smiling? Does it pain you to think of the suffering in this world? Do you look at your abundance, as meager as if may be in our context, realizing these blessings are more than some could ever hope for?
Everybody dreams. And when we have those visions, we are not only free but equal. Nothing sets us apart from one another when we have ascended to the domain of abiding hope.
To dream is to smile in the face of sadness. It is to rise when everything pulls us down. And whether rich or poor, healthy or ill, your dreams are your liberation.
Persist then, despite the circumstances. Feel that lightness of transcending above this layer; this termporal and flawed reality. Dare to allow bliss to encircle and envelope you.
When you dream and dare to hope, the hand you stretch forward into the ether comes back and embraces you. Dreams are not life – but the salvation of life.
Hate is toxic. It is a destroyer; both of the hater and the hated. There is nothing beneficial, even when we hate those from a position of righteous indignation. Like warfare, hate is the final stage of a breakdown. It is the worst scenario when things have sputtered out of control.
Like cells multiplying without any reason, hate spreads. And, sadly, hate replicates much faster than love. Which is why the mission to create love, by as many people as possible, is more important now than ever.
When we see pain and suffering. When we see tyrants oppressing their people. When we see widespread chaos and anarchy, we must never lose sight of the very fundamental truth that we can find steadfast peace in our own ability to extend love to others as well as ourselves. When we imbue is fully, it strengthens us and solidifies our resolve to continue upon this sacred journey.
When we’ve allowed hate to grow outside, it becomes easier for it to find its way in. And when it does, like a virus, our infection can be hard to fight. So be wary, friends. Be cautious of the things to which you devote your emotions. Dedicate your hearts and souls to things that foster hope, positivity and compassion. For, in the end, it’s that which will save us.
When an object, like a table for instance, has too much weight placed upon it, it will give way. The legs will bend and break or the table top will crack and fall to pieces. Any structure designed to sustain weight or pressure has a maximum load limit. Once that is reached, the structure becomes unstable.
Do we have a breaking point as people? Well, we certainly have to handle a lot of pressure from time to time. But what about other forces that weigh upon us? Unhappiness, emptiness, feelings of inferiority, doubt, jealousy, boredom and so on. All of these things can represent a burden on our minds and bodies. And while we may walk upright to the physical observer, spiritually we are bent over and staggering along our miserable crooked path barely able to accommodate the load. When we reach what I call the spiritual breaking point, we collapse. Like an elevator that has exceeded its weight limit, our cables snap and we careen to the ground. This is usually a toxic experience, accompanied by disorientation, malaise, actual sickness, etc. Or maybe even a form of shock or nervous episode.
But what if we could anticipate the breaking point or even bring it about ourselves on our terms? Could it actually be a positive and beneficial experience. Chances are, you’ve had it up to here with some aspect of your life, whether it’s your social group, relationship, career, spiritual life. Or maybe some aspect of your life is sabotaging your happiness or joy. Perhaps it’s some routine you’re mired in that’s slowly sapping your will to survive. The list goes on.
Why wait for the mechanism to collapse when we can repair it now? Maybe the best thing we can do for ourselves is to recognize the stuff that is not working and break it before it breaks us; to start anew from where we are right here and now. We place ourselves willingly at that point of no return then. We embrace that we must change and that the old philosophies are no longer sufficient for providing the existence we seek to live.
Do not simply let things break. Make them break. Begin your rebirth today; a new creation, replete in meaning, purpose and value. The things you deserve.
I used to have such a hard time getting to sleep when I’d come back from a week in NYC. I found it nearly impossible to adjust to the lack of noise at night. The silence of my suburban home was deafening compared to the menagerie of sounds I’d been accustomed to. “It’s so quiet,” I’d think. And being quiet meant that my thoughts were so much more pronounced. And an overthinking brain does not a sleeping person make!
But silence is powerful. Recently I began to meditate again. I don’t do long sits, just 20 minutes or so. I use a little timer on my phone to let me know when to stop. Meditation and silence go hand in hand. Why? Because meditation requires the mind and body to be still so that we can let our thoughts occur without judgment. In stillness, we stop being the participant and shift to the observer; watching those pesky thoughts wander around in our brains while lovingly dismissing them and returning to the breath.
Silence is a canvas. It is blank. Like this canvases you’d buy from an art supply store. How difficult would it be to paint on a used canvas or a canvas which already had a painting on it? Silence is so important.
Silence is a teacher. Okay, silence is not a conscious being with a lesson but in its way silence allows us to learn about those aspects of ourselves that we may overlook in our loud, hurried lives otherwise.
Sitting in silence may frustrate you. But it frustrates you for all the right reasons! You may think “I’m going crazy, I need to turn the TV on,” or “I can’t just sit here in silence…I need to be productive.” But what’s really happening is something quite amazing: you’re encountering YOU. You’re encountering the moment.
I mention rediscovering silence because we’ve all likely spent time in silence at one point or another. Maybe it was good or bad. Maybe it was so mundane that we forgot. But it’s time to get back to silence and discover the lessons it has for us.