Peace is always something you can train yourself to have. Life will always try to irritate you. Nothing will ever be quite the way you would want it. That is the nature of existence. But, even so, it is possible to find peace in among the frustrations.
You are a thinking being in an animal skin. Your body is programmed with a huge number of reactions. When it’s cold, you shiver. When it’s hot, you sweat. When there is no food, you feel hungry. When you have too much food, you may feel full and sleepy. When people are too close, you want to push them away. When they are too far away, you want them to come close.
These responses have been a part of your body since before you were born. For millions of years, beings have been trying out different forms, and you are the result of a chain of beings reproducing right up to your birth. The body, and the reactions, that you have, are a part of your architecture, and very difficult to change in themselves.
However, your thinking part has some special features. It can handle input from your nervous system about temperature, comfort, bodily position, environmental conditions, the presence of other beings… and then process it, choosing a response.
The degree to which your mind can choose, depends on the tools you equip it with. For instance, if you leave it as an animal mind, with instance responses based on age-old reactions, then it will be unpredictable. When people annoy it, it will make you bark and fight like an upset dog. However, if you train it with techniques, then it can acquire patience, kindness and understanding.
TOOLS FOR LIVING
As personal tools, patience, kindness and understanding are incredibly useful. Patience is the distance you can put between an irritation and your reaction. The more patience you have, the less your peace is disturbed by irritation. Kindness is the distance you can put between other people’s unkind behaviour, and your own kind behaviour. The more kindness you have, the less affected you are by others’ unkindness. And understanding is the distance you can put between other people’s misunderstanding, and your own clarity of understanding. The more understanding you have, the less you need to be guided by falsehoods and delusions.
Just for today, whenever you feel your peace becoming disrupted, take three steps:
Put a distance between what is happening and your response. This could be, for instance, taking a deep breath, or going for a walk, or just waiting a while. Very few things demand your immediate attention, and if they do, they may not need answering right now.
Remind yourself that what you do next is under your control. Choose to do what makes you feel peaceful.
Wait until you feel that you understand what is happening. If necessary, ask questions.
Peace is hard to find. This is because we are animals, evolved to have un-peaceful, immediate reactions.
However, we have well-developed minds, which can provide some protection against disruption and disturbance.
A good technique is to train your mind to delay your instant reactions, and then, in your own good time, to choose a peaceful answer to events. This delay also gives you time to ask any questions that you need to, and to be wiser in your response.