I have learned something quite surprising over the last couple of years.
It seems that inner peace – solitude, stillness, equipoise, contentment, serenity – is QUITE hard to maintain. At least for me personally.
It is not hard to learn, it would seem – we all have those split-second glimpses (or I am assuming we all do) of a sudden blindingly clear sense of “all is well”…like finding the perfect comfy warm spot in the sun, we in that very instant become absolutely determined to never again move from THIS SPOT. Ever.
And then we move.
Why do we move? Why do I move – this is what I have been pondering of late.
You see, I desperately want to not just fleetingly feel but steadfastly maintain inner equanimity. Peace feels so GOOD. It feels, well, peaceful…and quite unlike any other state I can expect to experience during any average day.
But it would appear I am not programmed for peace. Rather, my mind, my expectation, my awareness is more biologically-set to continually seek out danger, change, instability, sudden doom….there is a part of me (and it is quite a bit larger and more powerful than I had realized until recently) that is still quite furry, walking on all fours, and out in the woods, constantly scanning the perimeter for hungry tigers.
This part of me does not want to be lunch, and has become convinced that if it drops its guard for one. single. minute. it will be.
I really can’t find any other way to explain why the feel-good feeling of inner peace, inner poise, inner assurance of total contentment, is so danged hard to hang on to.
I do near-daily morning meditations, waiting as patiently as I can to capture that fleeting feeling of “all is well” and then trying to hang on to it for as long as humanly possible. Like building stronger muscles in preparation to win a race, I “lift weights” daily in my mind and heart, building inner fortitude so that I will no longer just prefer but also be equipped to actively choose and maintain a contented, serene state – a state that continually sees beyond the inevitable temporary chaos into the vast and enduring stillness beyond.
By the way (just in case you were wondering) this is not one of those posts where I get to a certain word count, stop, and wrap it all up with a nice neat little conclusion. I wish. All I can say is that learning peace is – must be – possible – because I want to very badly, and because we have examples in the lives of the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Jesus and others that it IS possible.
It would seem that I must be (oddly) contented for now with having established a clear preference for peace over all other states. Now, what is required must simply be to practice. Practice. Practice. And practice.
Today’s Takeaway: Have you, too, become aware lately that your preference for a peaceful inner state and your ability to maintain that state are not one and the same? What are your thoughts on how the “great ones” are able to pull off such an amazing feat in the triumph of inner spiritual resolve over human biological programming?
Fisherman at sunset photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 12 Nov 2012