Peace of Mind
A young man once put together a list of all the good things he had in life – beauty, health, wealth, power, fame, talent – and showed it to a wise man. The wise man agreed that these were valuable indeed, but he had missed one critical thing: “peace of mind,” which is essential, because all the other things we have in life can become a burden without it. The wise man then told the young man that peace of mind is a gift from God, reserved for his special disciples. He may give talent, beauty, wealth or fame to many. But peace of mind is the dearest sign of his love. Most people never get such a blessing.
The search for inner peace is constant and universal. Peace of mind is not something that can be purchased or obtained easily. Where then can we turn in our endless quest? Master tells us that peace of mind can only be found within ourselves, through meditation.
Meditation has always been the gateway to peace. We are like sick people who know we are ill but will not accept the medicine that is prescribed to make us well. Yet, until we do, there can be no hope of recovery.
What we need is spiritual stability. If we have peace of mind, it will enable us to accept the pummeling of our karmas with balance – even sometimes with eagerness – because we know that when the karmas are fully paid off, this cycle of birth, death, and rebirth will also end.
Everyone wants peace, but how many among us are prepared to surrender to our Master’s wishes and undergo the necessary spiritual discipline that will provide it? Instead, we may go off in continual pursuit of objects, in our desire for more and more material things.
What is desire? It is that attraction the mind holds for things and sensations of this world. It doesn’t let a person rest, day or night. It follows us into our thoughts and torments us in the midst of our meditation. When desire rears its head, we very soon forget all our promises to Master and our promises to ourselves. These desires are the robbers of our inner peace, for nothing outside of ourselves in our material world will continuously satisfy us.
Greed, fueled by our endless desires for more and more, keeps us away from the eye centre and from inner peace. Greed binds us to material things. Our god becomes wealth and we become a slave to it.
A story, loosely based on Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need,” depicts the essence of greed. There was a small village in Russia ruled by a kind king. One day the king had the unusual thought of donating his land to the people of his kingdom. He announced that he would give away the land to each individual based on how much land each one could cover on foot during the course of the day, returning by sunset.
A crowd of people showed up in the morning to start their quest. One man started running as hard as he could to cover as much land as possible. As he was approaching the time to turn around, he started thinking that if he could cover a little more area he would have slightly more land than anybody else. His greed kept him going farther and farther. Suddenly he realized that he had gone too far away from the starting point and might not have enough time to return by the end of the day. He started running back as fast he possibly could and reached the starting point just as the sun was going down. But he had been running so fast that he was completely exhausted. When he reached the finish line he collapsed in front of the king and died.
Our whole life we run trying to get as much as we can so that we can get ahead of others. Are we ever going to achieve that? We keep complaining that we do not get time to do our meditation because we are too busy trying to make our lives better and better by pursuing material desires – a bigger house, a higher paying job, a better car. But these will never allow us to achieve the peace of mind that we are truly looking for.
Negative emotions also rob us of our peace and keep us away from the eye centre. Among these are anger and hatred. Anger causes confusion and scatters the mind so that we cannot concentrate. Maharaj Charan Singh says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III:
If you’re angry with somebody, if you have a spirit of revenge against somebody, or if you have malice towards somebody, you can’t live with yourself at all.… If you are loving to another person, good and kind to another person, actually you are being good and kind to your own self.… The peace and happiness we get by being good and noble to others is the greatest reward one can get.
Dr. Julian Johnson advises in The Path of the Masters:
Never criticize, never find fault, never abuse.
Never even blame anyone, either to his face or behind his back.
Never hurt the feelings of anyone, man or animal.
Never let a harsh or unkind word escape your lips.
Speak always words of love, truth, and of kindness.
Love, truth, and kindness are the antidotes to anger, hatred, and malice. As initiates we all have the power to direct our minds to replace the feelings of being angry, depressed or fearful. The source of our power is simran. We must learn to replace all our negative emotions with simran – repetition and remembrance of the Lord within.
Happiness does not lie in wealth and property but in contentment. With the help of the Master it is possible to follow the path. We have to remember that this life is short, and it will be over before we can turn around.
Only Master will stay by our side. Let us remind ourselves that time is precious and our meditation is priceless. Any enquiry, any question we ask the Master, his answer is always: “Do your meditation.”
Meditation alone can give us the peace we are looking for. There is a peaceful and simple way to go through life, and it depends on our willingness to change our attitude, our way of life. It means being detached if someone has mistreated us. It means holding no grievances and totally accepting everyone just as they are and making no exceptions. It means remembering that our life is not meant to be focused on material gain. Daily practice of meditation will bring us to spiritual stability, which allows us to accept whatever our destiny brings.
To have peace of mind in this world we have to work for it, and each day the challenge must be renewed. If we are really sincere in our efforts to do our daily spiritual practice, then Master will grant us the priceless gift of a peaceful mind.