By Richard Miller
We all desire unchanging peace, well-being and freedom from suffering. Fortunately, we don’t need to go anywhere to realize peace and freedom, for it’s already innate within us, as our birthright, as a fundamental expression of our underlying essential nature, that’s awaiting our discovery in each and every moment. But how do we recognize this essential aspect of unchanging peace? How can we learn to embody peace amidst the challenging and ever-changing circumstances of our life?
First, we must realize and accept that everything around and within us will always be constantly changing. Lasting and unchanging peace can never be found in outer objects, current affairs, weather patterns, or within our bodily sensations, emotions or thoughts. These are constantly changing and offer no lasting stability or peace.
Second, we must realize and accept how our mind is constantly seeking peace, but is looking in all the wrong places. Unchanging peace is not to be found in any place, person, or thing. When we truly understand this to be true, only then is our attention poised to inquire and realize the truth of lasting peace. Here we are ready to ask, “Is there something, then, that doesn’t change, that offers us unchanging stability, peace and equanimity; that is unshakable, no matter our changing circumstance?”
So, third, the question now is: are you ready to give up seeking for peace in outer objects, circumstances, and people, in some future time and place? Are you willing to find peace right now, in this moment, for this moment is truly all there is? If we are truly concerned about realizing peace, then it is this moment that we should be concerned about, for here, in this moment, as in every moment that follows, is where we find true peace.
If you’re truly ready, take this moment, now, to stop, and experience your essential “beingness.” Being is right here, right now; always present, as the portal that opens us to realizing unchanging peace, equanimity, well-being and freedom from suffering.
Stop now, and engage the following five inquiries that you answer from your direct, first-hand experience. Take your time with each inquiry. Go slowly, so that your answers come from the depth of your beingness, rather than from your intellectual mind. Inquire:
1. As being, when I am simply being:
Where do I feel myself located, i.e., in my head, in my heart, or…?
2. As being, when I am simply being:
What happens to my thinking mind and to time?
3. As being, when I am simply being:
Do I feel any sense of lack or need?
4. As being, when I am simply being:
Do I feel disconnected from myself, and separate from the world around me, or…?
5. As being, when I am simply being:
Do I need to do anything special to be?
Now rest as being. Notice how, as being, you feel spacious, outside of time, beyond lack and need, and complete and whole just as you are, as being. Notice, also, how your attention may move away from experiencing being, to identifying with the changing objects of your body (sensation and feelings), mind (emotions and thoughts) and senses (world around you). Keep bringing your attention back to experiencing yourself as being.
As being, notice what spontaneously arises within your body, as a felt-sense of unchanging peace, equanimity, well-being, joy and freedom. Notice how as being, you can feel being as familiar and always present, no matter what else is present (be it a sensation, thought, emotion, or worldly object).
Being peace is so simple that we easily overlook and dismiss it. But the fact remains that as being, we discover, right here, in this and every moment, unchanging peace that’s innate and always present. As we realize this fact, and take time 24-7-365 to keep attention in being peace, we’ll come to realize that it’s present, no matter our circumstance. Then, peace will saturate our life and give rise to an unchanging stability within ourselves that allows us to stand and respond, rather than react, to the ever-changing hurricanes and circumstances that inevitably blow through our lives.
Allow me to end my treatise here, with the exquisite poem by Gendun Rinpoche, who beautifully speaks to this realization that peace is always here, always waiting for us.
Happiness cannot be found
through great effort and willpower
for it is already present
in relaxation and letting go.
So don’t strain yourself;
for there is nothing to do.
Whatever arises in the mind
has no real importance,
for it has no lasting reality.
Don’t be attached to it;
don’t identify with it and
don’t pass judgment upon it.
Without changing or manipulating anything
let the entire game of life happen on its own,
springing up and falling back like waves;
everything vanishes and reappears,
magically without end.
Our searching for happiness
prevents us from Being it
like rainbows that we pursue
without ever catching.
What is real already exists
accompanying us in every instant.
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable
you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you open and relax,
space is here;
open, inviting and comfortable.
Don’t’ search any further.
Don’t’ go into the tangled jungle
looking for the great elephant
who’s already resting quietly here at home.
Nothing to do,
nothing to force.
Nothing to want—
everything happening by itself.