Meditation on Peace-Mind
Many have asked how to go about finding inner peace. Once
you have recognised that
peace is not an induced
state, but an innate-natural state,
that is exactly where you begin. There is absolutely
nothing to do but look within yourself and recognise peace this very moment. When you
recognise peace in your mind, you have in fact already experienced peace.
If you do recognise your own peaceful moments at times,
then you are already started. Never mind if this recognition is very brief. You can make
this peace-moment the base from which to investigate your own mind. This can be the focal
point from which to launch your investigation. And surprisingly, you will find this is
also the home base to which you return.
You may find that it is not easy to come back to this
peace-moment. That is not important. It is more important to decide that you want to pay
attention to your own mind. We are so conditioned to looking outward that our minds have
fallen into a kind of mental groove. It is difficult to rise up and leave that groove
because it is easy and comfortable there. To turn outward attention inward is difficult
unless one has the "will" to do it.
In your initial attempts to see peace-moments, they may be
very infrequent and brief, but that is all right. It may even be that the more you try,
the more difficult seeing peace or peace-moments becomes. If that is the case, just let
go. Very often the awareness of peace-moments is unforeseen; it comes when you least
You may ask whether there is a specific method to
"see" these peace-moments. And I would say no - not beyond the "will"
to pay attention to the mind. Paying attention requires no particular time or place. It
goes on while you go about the daily business of living, playing, doing the
one-thousand-and-one chores of what is called life. There is nothing to do beyond this.
There is just something specifically you should not do and that is to let opinions,
judgments and discrimination crowd your mind. The mind watching itself needs to be whole
so that it can pay complete attention.
When you start discriminate, your mind becomes preoccupied
with making judgments. Your mind ceases to be free. Then you cannot see or experience the
peace within yourself.
In order to understand how things move in space, you must
be able to see the whole panorama of space as well as the objects in it. Without space,
objects cannot have motion. Objects may be affected, but the space will never be affected.
The objects may disintegrate in space, but the space remains.
Your home base - the peace-nature of the mind - is just
like physical space outside your body. Within you is the space of consciousness where
thoughts and emotions move about. As with the outside space, it is because of this
space-mind that thoughts and feelings can arise freely and also cease freely. If your mind
is already crammed, there is no room for anything to arise in it.
If you can "see" this space clearly in yourself,
you also see what is rising and falling more clearly. At first, you may notice only the
falling -- because it is more obvious. You will find yourself less involved with your own
emotions and thus more at your home base. And the more you are at your home base, the more
at peace you will be with yourself and with the world.
You may not have found perfect peace as yet, but at least
you will find a breathing space in yourself, a respite. This is the time you learn to be
friends with your own mind and your emotions. You will find that you no longer wrestle
with them as before. The beautiful part is that you will find yourself loosening up
inside. This loosening up may not appear important to you, but actually this first step is
always the most important. When you are not in a tightly bound, self-inflicted tangle, you
can look at yourself more objectively.
Never mind, if you do not see the rising. There is time for
everything. Even when you "see" the falling away, you will notice a change. You
will already experience peace. Keep on "experiencing" this peace as you would
experience a good cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream. After a while, you will find that
you can "experience" your emotions without getting involved in them. Since you
are more at home base, you will find that your feelings are in and of themselves fleeting.
For example, you may be surprised to find that feelings do
not stay for a long time without your own invitation and your clinging to them. You will
also see that they are part of the natural phenomena of the mind. In Buddhism, all
phenomena are impermanent, are not of the self, and are themselves the basis of suffering.
Becoming aware of your feelings in this way is like
discovering a new friend. When you realise that these transient feelings have no power of
their own, they cease to threaten you. This realisation gives you a positive feeling,
because you are no longer overwhelmed.
As you find out more about yourself in this way, you will
also find that you reside more and more in your own peace home base. You will also realise
this peace has always been there. It is just that you were so engrossed in trying to get
rid of your frustrations that you had neither the time nor the skill to see this peace
that is already there. In fact, peace-mind has been there all along for you to rediscover.
The path to inner peace is quite simple. You complicate it
by thinking that the method should be difficult. You are conditioned to achieving this,
accomplishing that. Your mind is in perpetual motion. Of course, you must earn a living,
feed your family, make friends, take your children to school. That is the business of
living. But if you perpetuate this frantic mode as the mode of your search for peace, you
won't find peace.
What we are concerned with is slowing down ... so you can
understand yourself, and experience what is already there. When you are already at the
home base, do you need to do anything to stay there?
You need only to wake up and realise
you have always been home.
We must be aware that this kind of
meditation is a way of investigating and understanding ourselves,
of awakening to our actual state of mind, to all the mental formations
that arise and fall. It is an entrance to ourselves. We will discover
the bad things as well as the good, but in the end the investigation
will pay off. For now we can find an opportunity to discover our
own wondrous inner depths and draw upon the essence of what is the
best in us.