As we move into the depths of the 21st century some of us are beginning to think “what the hell has happened?”
Glimpses of peace, a mere flashback of a day by the campfire circa 1981, where we held hands, unashamed, blushing from the sheer gush of love pounding in our chests.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
― Gautama Buddha
Wikipedia defines Inner Peace as: “(Inner Peace or peace of mind) refers to a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors.”
With depression becoming a norm, a slip of the tongue, anxiety piercing through our systems like a Bluetooth signal on High frequency, #metoo screaming help on Twitter like a mass psychic SOS, Refugees caged on the edge of humanity and planet Earth crying for renewal as we drill gas into her, pluck the feathers of her wildlife into distinction and manufacture robot psychologists filled with mindfulness apps asking ‘Would you like a hug”.
Inner peace (another slip of the tongue) seems a far cry from reality.
The yoga’s say it is within – they point to the inner self to find peace. Buddha clearly states it is within, Lao Tzu says its the natural flow within you, The Advaitists say that it is without You? So what is this yoga everyone is talking about? What even is the real Tantra? Do i bend over and everything is going to be ok?
What on Earth are they all talking about?
When in doubt go to Science. New science has a term ‘the hard problem of consciousness”. The problem is consciousness (or awareness) is not measurable. And if it can’t be measured then it isn’t Science. That it doesn’t exist. Sounds remarkably like neo non-dualism to me.
Modern physicists are starting to admit that they may never understand consciousness and with each new discovery they know less. Some are even turning towards the Hindu and Buddhists texts to get inspiration (another immeasurable).
This brings us back to the yoga, The idea that Inner peace is found through consciousness (awareness). It’s a bit like the Zen koan “The obstacle is the path”. According to science, awareness doesn’t exist and the Advaitists, the I in my awareness is a Maya itself, so how on earth are we to find inner peace??
Oh it’s an obstacle. Of the mind. So the problem is the mind. Or is it the scientist or the nondualist them selves.
I think we are in a bit of a conundrum here!
So all these scientists and nondualists are creating a little anxiety within me. I’m losing my sense of reality. Science says there is no consciousness, the spiritual master says there is no me and that no me is one with all things, yet there is no real thing; put your pretend measuring tape away. But, I truly sense that the mind I’m losing is mine, not yours. We’d all be in trouble then.
All roads lead back to the Tao… oops I mean The Buddha.
Shoshin is a word from Zen Buddhism referring to beginners mind. Simply it points to an attitude of openness, earnestness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, as a beginner would.
So we are back to the yoga – the meditation, the wonder the awe. It’s hard work being a nondualist.
I suppose it is a little like the Tao. The Tao teaches us to move with the rhythms of nature – like the river, when we go against the tide – ie with resistance to what is – it is a tough journey, but when we flow down stream we are aligned with the flow of life. And things seem easier and we can make wiser decisions. There’s that beginners mind again.
So where is that camp fire and the gushes of love. What happened to that inner peace.
For me though
when I sit and be, I am in pure consciousness (no mind chatter, no identification with self or events), I feel into consciousness, spaciousness. This is were I find the bliss and the peace – with no desire to measure!
Fueling me for the Seva, for the duality that I see in the world. Like the psychologist robot with the mindfulness app in her heart 🙂
I was sitting under the mango tree contemplating my day and suddenly I realised I had stopped all mind activity and was just being. My awareness then moved towards my surroundings and the tree.
For a moment I just sat in this presence, in the stillness with the tree and I felt a lovely warmth in my heart and pervading peace. I sat with that feeling and then my mind started conceptualising what was happening, so i grabbed my charcoal and drew what was happening to me (above). I felt a kind of oneness, a communion. An inner peace.
We are a part of nature – what we do effects nature and nature effects us – I felt this – not on an intellectual level (although that was present after) but on a deep sensual level.
Psychology still debates nature verses nurture, science still debates evolution and we still don’t and perhaps never will, understand consciousness. But, I am ok with that mystery – I think that letting go of the knowing of this is the key – a vital part of the yoga – like I kind of did under the tree that day.
Here is a beautiful interview with James O’Dea with a more in-depth insight to non-duality and seva