By Christopher Papadopoulos
The claim in the title is provocative. It also happens to be true. Once we understand what this means, peace becomes possible for us as individuals and for the world. Confused? Read on.
Every one of us possesses some basic knowledge about what is required for us to survive and thrive. However, given the levels of personal suffering and the precarious state of our species and planet we need to consider that we are missing some knowledge essential to our individual and collective well-being.
This essential knowledge is actually knowledge of our essence. Beyond our mind and body—and all forms in the universe for that matter—there is a formless awareness that is the canvas upon which all of life is drawn and unfolds. Everyone and everything in this universe is suffused with this eternally aware essence. It may be easier to grasp this when you realize that your body and the entire universe is more than 99.99% empty space. We often don’t notice this because the mind is designed to focus on forms. It is only when we quiet the mind that it becomes easier to notice space. This space is devoid of forms but it is full of pure awareness—the source from which everything springs, the substrate upon which all of life plays out.
This formless awareness is our true essence, our deepest nature. How do we recognize it? A primary characteristic of this essence is a transcendent peace. This is the essential knowledge we as a species are currently lacking: We are peace itself. You. Me. Everyone. The reason we don’t naturally know this is because our incessant mental activity blocks our ability to experience our peace-filled nature, to be aware of awareness itself. The mind constantly chatters because we have made an identity, a “me and my story” character out of its content. There is nothing wrong with planning, analyzing, imagining, and drawing conclusions. But like all good tools, the mind should be put down when not needed.
So how can we quiet the voice in the head that pretends to be us? After all, it is our stories and interpretations about our life and about the world that cause us most of our stress and suffering. Our mental filter makes us feel easily threatened and isolated, perceiving only our differences, unaware that ultimately we are all deeply interconnected; we are collectively one in peace. The key is to completely inhabit the present moment with our full and felt attention (we can only feel our body right now; this anchors our attention in the present moment). The reality of the here and now is the antidote to the virtual realm, the conceptual realm of thought. By cultivating present moment awareness we begin to realize and feel that we are not our thoughts and reactions, we are the vibrant, intelligent peace that is the source of all forms.
No, you can never have peace, you can only be peace. Is this just semantics? In fact the distinction is vital. The desire to want and have peace is understandable. But as long as we desire anything we are future oriented and thus not present with our attention. This means we are lost in thought. You—who you think you are—can never have peace because this thinking “me”, this mental activity, is actually impeding awareness of the peace that is already and always here, the peace that you are. It is only when the “me” that wants to have something recedes in the Now, that the experience of peace emerges.
Without this essential knowledge peace will continue to elude you, your loved ones and the entire world. This knowledge is not merely a piece of information for your mind to believe in or not, it is a direct experience like tasting something you’ve never eaten before. No words can describe what ultimately must be experienced directly. This goes for exotic fruit, your body and for life itself.
Your body, the room you are in and the entire planet are saturated with peace. Inhabiting the Now with our full and felt attention quiets the mind and reveals this ever-present peace. This essential knowledge must be internalized: we must walk around each day with the observation that peace is already within us and everywhere and then drop out of our thoughts to experience this truth, this reality. All the suffering beings of the world (Does this include you?) await your decision to return to the peace that you are. I will be right here, right now, to welcome you back home.
About the Author: In 2003, Christopher Papadopoulos experienced a permanent shift in consciousness from anxious thoughts about himself to the peace we discover when we are in touch with our authentic being. Since then, he has worked guiding others to experience peace through the process of his own self-discovery. His book PEACE~And Where To Find It (foreword by Eckhart Tolle) is available here: http://www.namastepublishing.com/peace and you can visit his website here.
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