I want peace in my heart

This is a common desire. The good news is that you already have it; you just have to learn to get out of your own way to experience it. You might find that hard to believe but consider this:

Have you had the following experience; walking in the countryside, you reach the top of a hill or mountain, quite unexpectedly you come upon a breathtakingly beautiful view, and for a few seconds you stand there, mouth open, transfixed? I have asked many people to describe how they feel in this moment. The most common words used are: peace, plenitude, connection and happiness.

So why does this happen? Many people will answer, it is the countryside, the view, but imagine being in that same place feeling deeply depressed, rather than connecting with the view; in this case the summit is simply a place from which to throw yourself and end it all.

The reason we experience such wonderful moments is that we simply stop thinking. In these moments of no thoughts, no rational mind, our problems disappear and our ego dissolves. We are fully present in the moment; simply consciousness observing.  Of course this disappears as the rational mind intervenes with something like “this is good but the other view was better”. We are no longer in the moment; we are now lost in the past, in our thoughts, associations, ideas, beliefs and feelings about what have in front of us. We are no longer connected to the present moment.

When we get out of own way and free ourselves of the compulsive distraction of the rational mind, we discover that wonderful spaciousness that is always there, like the clear blue infinite sky that is always there; normally we are so focussed on the clouds, we just don’t notice it. This is such wonderful news. It means that we do not have to look for peace and happiness “out there”, just learn how to get out of own way to connect with what we always have within ourselves.

Have you ever noticed that when you are angry, your awareness of your anger is not angry in itself? Or when you are depressed, your awareness of your depression is not in itself depressed?

The problem is that when we are not present in our lives, we do not know that we are not present because we are not present to know that.

This is why mindfulness and especially mindful meditation is so important. We train our mind, or specifically our attention to let go of the “monkey-mind” and simply be. We develop equanimity; we create the conditions which favour happiness and peace in our hearts.

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