I once believed peace a place far away, a land I would never know. I had too many bad habits, too many questions. How could I find time for peace?
Turns out peace is available in every moment, always an option. My choice. No two moments are alike so accepting and accessing peace lasts a lifetime.
I choose Zen as my practice but peace is not picky. There is no one way to peace and for every way there is an open shore.
Initially, I thought if I meditated every day for five minutes, 15 minutes, or an hour I would know stillness. Not exactly. I was still assigning peace a label.
Sometimes, I sit in stillness but the whir of thought–chaos–is more my meditative state. Mine is mindfulness meditation rather than transcendental. I meditate in the moment just as it is.
Remnants of that meditative state are what I bring into my day, sitting in the seat of self, as the emotion of the day–the chaos–plays out. Rather than judging, I find strength, something I once sought outside myself.
There is peace in such trust of the self. It takes the fear out of emotions. Within, I let them rage until I discover what it is they are really about. They are remarkable tools, emotions.
To let the storm rage is to sit in the safety of the self. Then and only then am I able to make a mindful response rather than getting tangled up in self-righteousness. The world does not need any more of that.
I have an increasing appreciation for the singularity of the candle, its flame stands brightly no matter the odds. At some point every wick gives way to a puddle of wax.
That doesn’t sound very reassuring or peaceful but it is, I suspect. To find stillness in the middle of chaos–to sit in the eye of the storm–is to know peace.
It’s the hardest thing I ever do, living in the present moment. Maybe it’s the only worthwhile thing I’ve ever tried.
Fear gives way to mindfulness. It puddles up. It simply is no match for mindfulness. I am not sure what is.
From what I know of history, worldwide mindfulness is one weapon we have not leashed upon the world. If we had, we would know.
Albert Schweitzer wrote, ”We cannot continue in this paralyzing mistrust…another spirit must enter into the people….” Exactly.
Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön said if we ”want to effect change it is not through self-righteous anger.” No, it is not.
What might this other spirit look like? How else to navigate the chaos that is the life experience?
It is not as if the demands of the day line up neatly. They sail in from everywhere. Some are arrows that wound deep. Others are boomerangs, visits from previous poor choices, demanding yet another decision.
It is up to me decide every day, confining myself to what is and not what might be or is no more. That is the focus of trust–peace–perhaps lasting no longer than my next breath.
It’s not how long it lasts but that it is always available. For me, that is Zen—easy, uneasy.