Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
– Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)
We work so hard to find and maintain our peace. In a city humming with energy at all hours, all days, this is especially important. For many of us, peace is in listening to music while commuting, or it’s in the silence of savasana during yoga class, or it’s in a cup of coffee with a friend. These peaceful moments, big or small, can sustain us through chaos, disorder, and the mess of life, if we let them.
It takes a lot of effort to get our peace, and yet how quickly we lose it. All it takes is an accidental bump from a stranger on the sidewalk, and all that hard work is lost. Actually, we don’t lose our peace: we know exactly where it’s gone. We give it away, in an instant, and without warning.
I’ve just come back from 10 days in Costa Rica, where I lead a yoga and surf retreat every year. The last few days I spent with dear friends and my husband, lounging on nearly deserted beaches and enjoying the sweetness of a quieter, less hectic schedule. I feel like those quiet last days of vacation should have been enough to sustain me for at least a few weeks of peace. And yet, the day after our return, my mind immediately buzzed with the same frenetic energy, and I fell into old patterns of busyness without meaning. Eating a banana while drying my hair while making the bed while applying mascara, all tasks in different phases of completeness, is multitasking at it’s worst!
It’s the deep peace that is sustaining, not necessarily peace from a vacation, or even from yoga, but from a mental state. Finding deep peace requires deep maturity, and a heightened level of awareness that says we can’t look outside of ourselves for contentment, but only within.