Peace is not Opaque
The word peace is used so often, it feels like it has no substance. It is such a hip word, almost like a brand. I mean, who can argue against peace? We use it like a passport to gain entry into places where we don’t even speak the language. At least I did.
I grew up in the turbulent and creative revolutions of the 60’s and 70’s. I idolized hippies, dressed up like one every Halloween, and loved it when I heard some cool dude say “ Peace, man.” I suspect many of them were high, I just thought they were relaxed. I studied revolutions and international relations in college and was left with the impression that peace was the absence of war.
Somehow I knew there was more to peace than that, because I was looking for it. At the ripe old age of fourteen, my pastor and spiritual mentor asked me what I wanted, more than anything in the world. Without hesitation, I said, “peace of mind.”
That’s quite an unusual longing for such a young woman, but I was already terrorized by thinking. Drinking is just a symptom of a deeper problem. All addictions are, and I am so grateful that I finally became conscious of it, and began to experience peace.
It happened palpably when I was in social detox, a very scary and chaotic place. It was Saturday afternoon, and I had arrived hours earlier by taxi, and processed through the intake procedure. I began to walk the halls and cry, because I realized that I couldn’t run from pain or the truth anymore. A stillness came over me and I felt centered, even though I was now homeless. Something had aligned the scattered misfiring neurons in my brain, and it felt like my thoughts had melted. Something was alive within me, and I knew that I was not alone. My surroundings didn’t scare me, and I knew that I was supposed to be there. I didn’t need to resist anything, and I couldn’t plan it either. That was all I knew, and all I had to know. I was centered.
I tried to live from that place of stillness from that moment on, and it eventually led me on a path where I learned to meditate and align with God as being.
It is always tempting to forget that the world around me is not the real cause of anything that is disturbing me. It is more than a gift to have been able to still my mind and become an observer of the world, and the story that I am telling about it. Any snag, or difficulty I have encountered has been dissolved or remedied when I return to the inner stillness. Peace in my being is always the gift, and it has always preceded the outer demonstration. It is as if I become a transparency for the light and power of God to reveal itself. It’s a revolutionary approach to becoming powerful for those of us who thought we had to defeat or acquire things to do so.
From The Gospel of Thomas:
Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."