We have all felt the calming effect of a kind of unity when we stand on the ocean’s shore, and gaze out on its endless waters. In moments like these our relationship with the ocean is a meditative one; the mind naturally quiets down in the presence of immensity beyond the scope of its thought to contain it. So, the relationship between the ocean, and our awareness of it, creates a living meditation. Peace prevails. We know a pleasure that is one with the power of that moment in which we watch the ocean’s waves move through us.
Most of us hold the unquestioned belief that our hearts and minds are at peace before one of life’s “waves” washes in to disturb us. But if we take away the prejudice of self-pleasing images—and add the ease with which we are disturbed by unwanted moments—we have good cause to suspect something entirely different about ourselves. Could a truer view of what takes place in such times of trouble looks something like this? One of life’s many unpredictable waves rolls in, rocks our bed of dreams, and we get shaken awake!
One thing should be obvious to us: no one can be free who blames his or her unsettled stressful state on life’s unwanted events. Said a bit differently, how can we ever hope to be at peace with life if we fear, at any moment, that it may wash away our contentment? Let’s look at five simple examples of where – unknowingly — we are at war with the “waves of life.”
We feel irritated each time:
1. The weather refuses to behave according to our wish.
2. People around us fail to realize that our needs come first.
3. There is not supposed to be traffic at this hour!
4. People move like snails.
5. Someone tells us something about ourselves we don’t want to hear.
Need life be this way? The answer is found in the following question: can we ever hope to know the nature of real love, of its abiding peace, living from a false self that sees disturbances as its opportunity to get irritated? Is compassion or contentment possible for a nature that values being a victim? Clearly not; and yet, if we dare see it, we human beings are in a perpetual war with reality itself. We oppose any movement of life that seems to threaten our imagined sense of peace. Six-and-a-half billion people—all of us convinced that we know what should be happening in any given moment.
Yet, the evidence before us speaks louder than our protestations over it: we do not know what is “right.” We only think we do because within us lives a nature that can, and always does, point to what is wrong with the moment before us. Such a mindset, supported by negative emotions that, in turn, nourish a victim mentality, can never know peace. To see the truth of this is the beginning of a new mind, one that is the same as the meditative life within which it finds the secret source of confidence, kindness, peace, and contentment.