Where is Peace?

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It can look as if peace is not always possible, as if it is something that comes and goes from us, flickering in and out of our life. It can look like it is intangible, fragile and elusive. The same could be said of love, wellbeing, trust and joy . . . Any of those deeper qualities that our soul craves.

Yet, every spiritual tradition around the world affirms that the opposite of this is in fact true. They do not speak of love, peace or joy as elusive; they speak of them as profoundly enduring and accessible, as spiritual truths, as reality. So how do we get to live in the experience of this? How do we make the leap from something that feels elusive to something that is enduring? From something that flickers in and out of our life to something that holds still and that will hold us?

Is this really possible for us as human beings? Aren’t we just - well - too human for that?

This is about a bigger way of seeing

I don’t know about you, but there is something about the times we are in . . . I am no longer prepared to waste time on hints of peace. And I hear many others saying the same. We want the real deal - the Peace our spiritual teachers speak of, and that our own heart-soul-inner-being knows.

What I have come to see is this: when I am away from my peace - feeling fear, agitation, distress or even despair - then I am actually caught in a smaller seeing of life. The part that feels a lack of peace is the part that is expecting and needing life to be a certain way. When this isn’t what’s manifesting, and something else entirely is showing up, I can get very fearful and reactive about what that is.

However, Peace isn’t found in what isn’t or in how I think things should be. It’s found in What Is.

Anything else is just us arguing with reality.

Peace isn’t found in a version or vision of life that is based on lack.

This ‘partial’ seeing is incomplete: we are only seeing a part of the Whole. It’s both too narrow and too prescriptive. Peace is found by turning into and embracing the fullness of What Is and never by focussing on what is not.

Putting it into practice

A couple of weeks ago, I had a painful lesson around this. It was my birthday and some of the people closest to me pretty much ignored it. No card, no gift. A cursory Happy Birthday, and no attempt to make the day special or celebrate ‘me’.

The pain I felt was astonishing. I felt cut to the quick. However, even at the time, I could see that what I felt was out of proportion to the circumstances. That being said, as the day went on, the painful feelings nevertheless kept coming in waves. I found myself feeling hurt, humiliation and insecurity. I began questioning if I was loved. And it seemed as if the more I tried not to cry - or rage - the more intense the feelings became.

However, whilst this was happening at one level, whilst I kept circling back over and over it, incredulous at the lack of kindness and cherishing, getting more and more hurt and indignant, something else was happening beneath and beyond this. There was a much calmer and more inclusive voice within me that wouldn’t let me get away with indulging this. I began to recollect that I had been in this situation - or very similar versions of it - many times before. And, in the past, there had been times when I was completely at peace with it, and other times when I was not. I begin to see, at a deeper level, that it wasn’t the situation itself that was causing the pain. The pain was actually happening inside me: it came from how I