Insight Meditation Online

Living Meditation, Living Insight 

Meditation on Peace-Mind

Many have asked how to go about finding inner peace. Once you have recognised that

peace is not an induced state, but an innate-natural state,

that is exactly where you begin. There is absolutely nothing to do but look within yourself and recognise peace this very moment. When you recognise peace in your mind, you have in fact already experienced peace.

If you do recognise your own peaceful moments at times, then you are already started. Never mind if this recognition is very brief. You can make this peace-moment the base from which to investigate your own mind. This can be the focal point from which to launch your investigation. And surprisingly, you will find this is also the home base to which you return.

You may find that it is not easy to come back to this peace-moment. That is not important. It is more important to decide that you want to pay attention to your own mind. We are so conditioned to looking outward that our minds have fallen into a kind of mental groove. It is difficult to rise up and leave that groove because it is easy and comfortable there. To turn outward attention inward is difficult unless one has the "will" to do it.

In your initial attempts to see peace-moments, they may be very infrequent and brief, but that is all right. It may even be that the more you try, the more difficult seeing peace or peace-moments becomes. If that is the case, just let go. Very often the awareness of peace-moments is unforeseen; it comes when you least expect it.

You may ask whether there is a specific method to "see" these peace-moments. And I would say no - not beyond the "will" to pay attention to the mind. Paying attention requires no particular time or place. It goes on while you go about the daily business of living, playing, doing the one-thousand-and-one chores of what is called life. There is nothing to do beyond this. There is just something specifically you should not do and that is to let opinions, judgments and discrimination crowd your mind. The mind watching itself needs to be whole so that it can pay complete attention.

When you start discriminate, your mind becomes preoccupied with making judgments. Your mind ceases to be free. Then you cannot see or experience the peace within yourself.

In order to understand how things move in space, you must be able to see the whole panorama of space as well as the objects in it. Without space, objects cannot have motion. Objects may be affected, but the space will never be affected. The objects may disintegrate in space, but the space remains.

Your home base - the peace-nature of the mind - is just like physical space outside your body. Within you is the space of consciousness where thoughts and emotions move about. As with the outside space, it is because of this space-mind that thoughts and feelings can arise freely and also cease freely. If your mind is already crammed, there is no room for anything to arise in it.

If you can "see" this space clearly in yourself, you also see what is rising and falling more clearly. At first, you may notice only the falling -- because it is more obvious. You will find yourself less involved with your own emotions and thus more at your home base. And the more you are at your home base, the more at peace you will be with yourself and with the world.

You may not have found perfect peace as yet, but at least you will find a breathing space in yourself, a respite. This is the time you learn to be friends with your own mind and your emotions. You will find that you no longer wrestle with them as before. The beautiful part is that you will find yourself loosening up inside. This loosening up may not appear important to you, but actually this first step is always the most important. When you are not in a tightly bound, self-inflicted tangle, you can look at yourself more objectively.

Never mind, if you do not see the rising. There is time for everything. Even when you "see" the falling away, you will notice a change. You will already experience peace. Keep on "experiencing" this peace as you would experience a good cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream. After a while, you will find that you can "experience" your emotions without getting involved in them. Since you are more at home base, you will find that your feelings are in and of themselves fleeting.

For example, you may be surprised to find that feelings do not stay for a long time without your own invitation and your clinging to them. You will also see that they are part of the natural phenomena of the mind. In Buddhism, all phenomena are impermanent, are not of the self, and are themselves the basis of suffering.

Becoming aware of your feelings in this way is like discovering a new friend. When you realise that these transient feelings have no power of their own, they cease to threaten you. This realisation gives you a positive feeling, because you are no longer overwhelmed.

As you find out more about yourself in this way, you will also find that you reside more and more in your own peace home base. You will also realise this peace has always been there. It is just that you were so engrossed in trying to get rid of your frustrations that you had neither the time nor the skill to see this peace that is already there. In fact, peace-mind has been there all along for you to rediscover.

The path to inner peace is quite simple. You complicate it by thinking that the method should be difficult. You are conditioned to achieving this, accomplishing that. Your mind is in perpetual motion. Of course, you must earn a living, feed your family, make friends, take your children to school. That is the business of living. But if you perpetuate this frantic mode as the mode of your search for peace, you won't find peace.

What we are concerned with is slowing down ... so you can understand yourself, and experience what is already there. When you are already at the home base, do you need to do anything to stay there?

You need only to wake up and realise you have always been home.

We must be aware that this kind of meditation is a way of investigating and understanding ourselves, of awakening to our actual state of mind, to all the mental formations that arise and fall. It is an entrance to ourselves. We will discover the bad things as well as the good, but in the end the investigation will pay off. For now we can find an opportunity to discover our own wondrous inner depths and draw upon the essence of what is the best in us.

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