This article is shared by Guy Finley
There can be no true Freedom for us without knowing true Peace, even though these sublime states are basically two wings on the same dove. Nevertheless, as we shall see, before we can enjoy the spiritual freedom for which we are intended, and whose heart already beats within us, this Peace we speak of must be realized. A moment’s reflection shows us the truth of this eternal order.
Peace is the foundation; freedom the form built upon it. We must never forget this relationship. To do so is to spend our lives searching for freedom through our relationship with forms — an act that effectively builds prisons of our own making we then struggle to escape! Who can be free, at any level, who has not Peace? “Seek ye first,” states the eternal adage.
This Peace, its Truth, does not belong to any culture, tradition, race, creed, or religion. Its nature transcends all temporary fashions and forms of time. It is to the conditions it is found within as are the artesian waters of a perennial spring to the earthen walls of the well from which these waters are drawn.
No one may convince another that this Peace exists, and the very attempt to do so vexes not only those souls involved, but also proves that the one who feels the need to push his peace has not the Peace he presents himself as having. One should be highly wary of people who are aggressive in the name of Peace! Here are a few good reasons why:
True Peace is not the effect of a pact; neither can it be produced by any plan of ours. It never flowers in opposition to anything. Its goodness cannot be manufactured, even from the finest of parts. No group or organization can grant another its Grace. Those who claim to be its keeper only keep others from finding it. Where then is this Peace to be found?
This Peace is the natural radiation of a Living Now; it is one with that Light whose Life is the Eternal Present Itself, even as the emanations of light and warmth are one with the sun from which they radiate.
If we perceive that these ideas are at all based in Truth, then we should be naturally moved to ask the following question: If this Peace is inherent in the Now, and is so perfectly present, what is it that prohibits us from coming to know, directly, the fulfillment of its promise within us? Let’s look.
Through even casual observation we can discern that the governing body of our present nature is primarily a mental construct created mostly from its ongoing considerations of “what was” and what “will be.” Its sense of “peace” is, at best, a precarious one because the fabric of its life tapestry is always in one stage or another of either just coming together or having just unraveled. As our own experience proves, this is the body of a highly uncertain self. Its “peace,” if it can be called that, is built upon the ever-shifting sands of divided, comparative, and competitive thought. What this level of self has yet to realize is that its own blind struggle to win some peace for itself is the disturbance it seeks to end!
But we have another Nature, one whose Life and whose Peace are the same Character because this order of Self, and the Now that is the backdrop of its Being, are as the branch is to the life-giving vine. No True Peace can survive apart from this relationship, and any other form of peace is its expression. This Peace confounds the lower level of mind that only knows gentleness and clarity by what it imagines these qualities to be. The mind asleep to itself cannot conceive that its own images of life deny it the very Life it would embrace. To know Peace and its Promise, we must release ourselves from the false self that strives to put pieces of peace together in the vain hope they stay united!
Before we can realize True Peace and its inherent Freedom, we must be released from that lower level of self that is forever struggling to put pieces of peace together — hoping against hope they will hold together long enough to set us free! Clearly, this approach has proved itself hopeless.
If we are to succeed in our quest, then what we need is a New and Higher Understanding of ourselves, of our own being — for this Peace that we seek resides within us and nowhere else. This means that our search for Peace requires that we become conscious of the myriad invisible worlds within us.
But we are not asked to make this journey without a Guide. Before us goes the Light of Truth. It reveals the Way by opening our eyes to see, amongst other truths, that this Peace we seek is not a thing created by us. Admission into its Divine Domain is by mutual consent only. There is nothing conditional about this Peace except that it agrees to no terms other than its own. For those of us who see eye to eye with these terms, this Peace reveals that it has always been present within us, and wastes no time proving its permanent Presence to us. In this Way, and all the rest of the Way Home, each step we will take away from being a self-appointed peacemaker gives us proof that we are headed in the right direction.
Slowly, but surely, we learn that True Peace is nothing personal. It is the possession of no one. Whoever tries to claim it, or otherwise contain it, sows into his self the secret cause of conflict and the sorrow of self-produced separation. Now we realize why, when people try organizing this Peace, wars come in the wake.
Peace teaches perfectly, but few become wise. We must learn that Peace is a Gift given freely, but only as we give up our belief that we can give ourselves its silent strength.
The presence of Peace within us may not be bound, but must be loosed by our growing realization that only in willingly losing ourselves within it can we hope to know its everlasting tranquility. And, as the next few ideas make abundantly clear, there is much to encourage us to do just that.
This peace can neither be shaken nor disturbed — any more than a moth flying through the halo of a lamplight can in any way shatter the integrity of its glowing presence.
This Peace has no enemy. It cannot be brought to act against anyone for any reason — any more than perfect silence assails the mind it descends upon to bestow its calmness.
This Peace is the Ground of strength, contentment, and kindness; the Now from which it springs is Newness itself. As such, it is not that this Peace itself must be renewed, but it is we who must learn what it means to renew ourselves in this abiding Peace. And here, in this one paramount Truth, lies the true nature of our inner work.
Peace — as in the idea that someone or something can walk in from out of the blue and steal it. Rather, where is it that one unknowingly gives away their relationship with this Peace through an unattended attention that falls into identification with dark disturbing thoughts and feelings?
With this idea in mind the question becomes: How important is it for us to know this Peace? Because until we begin to understand how the thief of peace sneaks into us and steals our peace, we cannot begin to understand the absolute importance of inner diligence, of cultivating mindful vigilance; of how our work to stay awake heralds the coming of the Prince of Peace.
The next time, any time, something dark or disturbing tries to steal into you — to wreck your contentment — do not consent to be drawn into its seemingly important considerations. Instead of sinking into its yawning abyss, remember that the Peace you long for also longs for you. Then, go to it! Here is how to start your ascent into the safety of Now and its Perfect Peace:
Think of the sun in the sky. Its place is above any disturbance going on beneath it. What it sees it embraces with its light, yet nothing it touches like this in turn touches it. In a somewhat similar fashion, we have a feature in us that is, itself, a kind of aperture into the Peace of Now. This yet-to-be-realized state of ours is called “Conscious Self-Awareness.”
Through its power, coupled with one’s directed attention, we may learn to live in Peace far above any disturbing thoughts and feelings. With our awareness held steadily in the presence and Peace of Now, from this vantage point we are empowered to see storms move through us instead of our being drawn down into painful identification with their darkening movements.
Start simply. Start Now. Remember these lessons about Peace. Allow your heart to remind you what the mind so easily forgets. There is a Peace. There is a Shelter. There is a Timeless Place within you that no darkness can shatter or dispel. Spend your time there. Prefer its ever-present Presence to that of any promise of peace to come and watch how your life becomes happy and whole.