Finding Peace in the midst of Chaos|
by Dr Tim Ong
Thus, in our effort to find peace in this world, we must first find peace within ourselves. In fact, peace is, has always been and will always be our true essence. Peace is the unchanging essence of who we really are. It has always been there and will never be lost. Our job is to find it, recognize it and re-claim it. No one else can do it for us. We must do it ourselves.
So, how do we find peace in the midst of this chaotic world we live in?
First we must recognize that we cannot find peace through wars. We cannot find peace through acts of terrors or belligerence. We cannot find peace through harsh or angry words. We cannot find peace as long as we harbor negative thoughts.
To find peace, we must be willing to let go of our tendency towards aggression in all its forms - in actions, in words and in thoughts. It is especially the negative and aggressive thoughts that we need to let go since it is our thoughts that lead to speech and actions.
In spiritual teachings, we are taught that our true essence is peace or stillness, which is manifested as unconditional love towards all living beings, as compassion towards the sufferings and as altruistic joy towards ours as well as other people's success and abundance.
In other words, we cannot find peace outside of ourselves. We can only find peace by finding the peace within us. The peace within us is veiled by all our thoughts - both positive and negative thoughts. As long as our mind moves, our peace is disturbed, like the still surface of a pond disturbed by the ripples caused by the wind or a stone thrown into it.
This is why meditation is so important. Through meditation, we learn to quiet the mind. For beginners, a quiet place and sitting still with eyes closed reduce the external stimuli bombarding the five physical senses. This allows the mind to focus purely on itself and its thought contents.
Gradually, we begin to realize that our thought contents are merely thoughts. They are not real. Rather, they are real only because we regard them as real. It is possible to let go of our clinging to our thoughts - our beliefs, concepts, desires and expectations. And when we let them go, we actually find a sense of relief, as if a heavy burden has been lifted from our shoulders. We find peace. Within that peace is contentment.
When we become good at going inward and centering ourselves in this true essence of ours, we begin to respond spontaneously to life with unconditional love towards all living beings, with compassion towards the sufferings and with altruistic joy towards everyone's success and achievements.