PART 9, Section 2: How You Can Be at Peace Within Yourself No Matter What
The world seems at times to plunge into greater turmoil than at other times, and we are clearly passing through such a time at the moment. There is nothing unusual about this. Such cycles have been the story of humanity from time immemorial.
At such times our greatest need is to cultivate present moment awareness. But because the mind is addicted to emotional drama, it tends to focus on the world situation and become caught up in the drama of it all. Indeed, the mind so thrives on drama that it tends to be given to dire predictions, which heightens the sense of drama all the more.
When the mind is tempted to run wild with anxiety, especially in extremely taxing circumstances, it’s not only possible to be at peace within ourselves but quite easy to be so. You see, a person who approaches any situation from a state of consciousness automatically relaxes into the isness of the situation—and when we aren’t in resistance but are immersed in isness, it’s a restful place to be.
Fear arises when we lose the isness. We shift into speculating about what might happen, or dwelling on what something might mean, instead of staying with the actuality of our situation.
The moment thoughts about a situation begin running through our head, we generate anxiety. However, a calmness returns quite spontaneously if we allow ourselves to be aware of the situation without thinking about it.
It takes only a second or two for the isness of a situation to become lost in our speculative story about it, resulting in anxiety, if not outright fear.
We began this course a year ago with an emphasis on the importance of stillness. A conscious person, above all else, is still on the inside. When we are present with the isness of anything, there is stillness, not anxiety.
People seek peace of mind by attempting to arrange their world so nothing anxiety-provoking occurs. But this attempt in itself is anxiety-provoking, because to arrange our world in this way requires us to focus on all the things that might happen.
The mind of the average human being is a “what if” machine, coming up incessantly and interminably with anxiety-provoking scenarious of what might happen, could happen, and surely will happen!
Future-oriented, we cannot know the peace of the present.
The reality is that we can never control all of the external circumstances of our life, hoping to find peace of mind in this way. There can be no peace when this is our strategy for feeling calm because the least thing troubles us. The best provisions for our security we are capable of making go awry.
Peace comes from being at home with the isness of this moment, regardless of what may be happening. In this way we experience inner stillness even when there’s a tempest roaring around us.
Sitting in stillness is how we begin to move into an awareness of the inner peace that’s our natural state. As our awareness of the present moment intensifies, so does our inclination to stillness. We find ourselves no longer thinking, no longer reactive, no longer restless. We have come home to ourselves.
Opportunity for Self-reflection and Sharing:
A. Place your attention on the world situation for a moment. What, specifically, is depressing you or causing you anxiety? Name the key elements.
B. Now that you have identified the elements of the state of the world that are troubling you, consider each of them in turn and ask yourself how a particular situation actually affects your life in this moment.
C. Is there something you personally can do to alter any of these situations? If there is, do you actually plan to do something? If not—if the situation isn’t something you intend to personally become involved in—what is the point of thinking about it?
This Concludes Journey to Higher Consciousness