Living Meditation, Living Insight by Dr Thynn Thynn
Peace – Mind
If you just stopped thinking for a while and sat back to reflect on your own mind, you would be surprised to realise that you are at peace. Even if you agree with me, you might argue that this peace is only temporary. So be it.
But let us look into this peaceful tranquil state, temporary or otherwise, since it is already with us – without our having to make any effort at all at being peaceful.
You were born with this peace-nature of the mind; otherwise you would not be what you are, would you? You did not run around meditating to bring about this peace to yourself: you did not learn from someone or some book to make possible this peaceful state in yourself. In other words, “you” had nothing to do with it. Peace is a natural mind-state in every one of us. Peace has been there since the day we were born and it is going to be there till the day we die. It is our greatest gift; so why do we think we have no peace of mind?
Experiencing peace is like looking at our hands. Usually, we see only the fingers – not the spaces in between. In a similar manner, when we look at the mind, we are aware of the active states, such as our running thoughts and the one-thousand-and-one feelings that are associated with them, but we tend to overlook the intervals of peace between them. If one were to be unhappy or sad every minute of the twenty-four-hour day, what would happen to us? I guess we would all be in the mad house!
Then why is it that we supposedly never are at peace? It is simply because we never allow ourselves to be so.
We enjoy battling with ourselves and our emotions so much that the battle becomes second nature to us. And we complain that we have no peace of mind.
Why don’t we leave aside all these complicated ideas for a while and simply contemplate this peaceful nature of ours – since we are fortunate enough to have it – instead of frantically trying to find peace of mind some place else. How can we find something elsewhere, when it is already in ourselves? Probably that is the reason why we often do not find it.
We do not have to do anything to have this peace, do we? Mind is by itself peaceful.
But we do need to do something to our minds in order to be angry or sad.
Imagine yourself enjoying a moment of quiet. Suddenly something disturbs your enjoyment. You start up at once, annoyed or angry at the disturbance. Why? Because you dislike the interruption. Your mind “acts.” It dislikes. It sets up thoughts of dislike, followed by annoyance, anger and a whole series of reactions.
Thought moments are extremely fast, so you don’t notice the moment of the mind setting up thoughts of dislike. We generally think that the outside situation is what is responsible for our annoyance. But even during the most durable and miserable experiences of our lives, we find moments when our minds are distracted from the cause of misery and we are relatively free from the devastating emotional state. Once we set our minds back on the event, the unpleasant feelings come rushing in again immediately. When these emotions subside, what happens to them? We seem to take it for granted that they end up or phase out somewhere outside of us. But if they had their origin in the mind, they must surely end in the mind. If they had their origin in a peaceful state, then they would surely end in that peaceful state also. It is only logical.
Let us contemplate this peaceful state. We recognise it before emotions have set in and also after they have disappeared. What about the in-between times? Is peace destroyed during the time that we have been angry or sad? We are so used to implying that this or that destroys our peace of mind that we have come to assume that peace of mind is a contrived state that can be arrived at or deleted at will.
But this is not the case. Peace and tranquillity are part and parcel of our own mental make up. If they are destroyed during emotional upheavals, our minds might as well be destroyed too. Peace is the essence of our own innate nature and can never be destroyed.
Peace is with us every single moment of our life, but we do not recognise it. This is because we are ignorant about peace – most of the time we are too preoccupied with the external world and our own running thoughts and emotions to be aware of it. We have lost touch with our inner selves, with what is the best in us. We frantically try to find the answer outside when all the time peace is sitting there, silently waiting until we come home to it.