Inner Peace is an Experience, Not Something You Know
Serenity, well-being, feeling OK being you, feeling good in your own skin, not having to second guess your choices, trusting that you will do the right thing, these are but a few of the things we have found while working with people that most folks are striving for.
People say they want inner peace but are afraid that what they might have to change about themselves will threaten what they hold to be true. So even though they say they want inner peace, they are afraid to relax into the moment and discover what else is possible.
Life is an unfolding. It keeps expressing itself in each moment anew and differently than one expects. It is the desire for security that keeps people stuck in their pain because they are afraid that if they give up what they know they won’t know who they are. And there are certain beliefs that we hold to be so sacred that giving up those beliefs would question the underpinnings of our lives. So we settle for being comfortably uncomfortable and being in perpetual rolling upsets rather than face the unknown.
We once went to PEAR institute at Princeton University where they were studying things such as remote viewing and the effect of the mind on random generating machines. We had a discussion with one of the scientists there. She told us that when children came to visit the lab from local grade schools the staff would ask the kids a series of questions. First, they asked, “Who here wants to be a scientist?” The children in their enthusiasm always answered, “Me…I do!” Then one of the team would ask, “What is the most important thing you need in order to be a scientist?”
This question always was more difficult for the children to answer and often they got started by saying things like, “You need to be smart,” or “You need to go to school and learn.” The true answer was one that the children rarely guessed. It is also something that most adults shy away from, as if the answer would make them appear stupid. Ultimately the answer is: You have to be willing to say, “I don’t know.” In order to discover what is possible you have to be willing to let go of what you know in order to discover the truth about what is.
In the last few years we have started recording mini-session podcasts, where we video a person asking us a question and we answer him or her. Generally these videos are released by our editing team several months after the time when we have shot them. It is really fun to sit at our computer and watch. Frequently we hear the person’s question and think, “I wonder what they are going to say?” (The “they” being the two of us.) Enough time has passed that we don’t remember the details of the interaction and the session for us is new. Often times the two of us learn something new from ourselves! We watch with a willingness to listen, to not skip ahead and try to appear smart or educated or “in the know” to our minds. When you are present in your life, things you already “know” can show up as completely new information. Rather than the thought, “Oh I know that,” but as a discovery of what is.
There is something about the innocence of being willing to not know. If you are willing to not know and you are willing to be seen by small minds as “less” because you don’t know, there is a possibility to discover something new. But when you think you already know what is talked about you stop listening. When this is the case then there is no possibility to discover what is outside of your limited knowledge base. Your mind is a closed system. When you “know” you don’t really see. When you “know” your knowledge precedes you and acts as a set of blinders so that you don’t actually experience being where you are. Rather you live through a template of past knowledge, events and/or beliefs.
Recently, as we were teaching a course in Costa Rica, we became distinctly aware of how our environment changed from moment-to-moment. We hold our courses at a lovely resort, Sueño Azul, up in the rain forest on the edge of the Braulio Carrillo National Park. When we are there, our course participants take up most of the rooms and so it is often very cloistered and quiet. The open pathways are covered to shield guests from the elements so it is cooler on sunny days and dry when it rains.
Each day when we are there we walk to and from the course room and between our room and the outdoor patio area where meals are served. The paths also wander past the yoga studio and the spa and all the walkways are flanked by tropical plants, huge trees and vegetation. As the light changes and the days progress, as people become more present and less driven to get somewhere, all of the sudden, fully grown plants “appear” as if by magic. One day, you may see a bright red heleconia, its flower glowing with dew, or a tiny iridescent green hummingbird perched on the tip of a spiny plant, guarding its territory. And then you may come upon a tree, huge and ancient, who has been standing sentinel for years, host to all of the orchids and other plants hanging from the limbs with vines winding up the trunk, a whole ecosystem unto itself. It was never there before. It is suddenly new in that instant. A play of light, a shift of your gaze, a moment of being here and a whole unexplored, previously unseen world is born.
There is a vast difference between already knowing everything and being here to experience your life. As you invest yourself in Being Here, life and your senses become richer and you have the capacity to experience things anew and to see things you have never seen before. As you keep investing in this moment of now, serenity, well-being, feeling OK being you, feeling good in your own skin, not having to second guess your choices and trusting that you will do the right thing will become as natural to you as breathing. And you will be here to experience all that life has to offer along the way.