Is paying attention to what I experience, without resisting, my contribution to peace?
Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
“You may wander all over the earth, but you have to come back to yourself” J.Krishnamurti.
Can we contribute to peace? Can I do it if I do not feel peace within me? And what is all this about peace?
We tend to speak very hastily about peace as if it were something well known, as if peace existed just because there was no physical violence. Nor should we confuse peace with good manners or tact. Perhaps we confuse a certain type of calm and confidence with peace. But is that peace? We feel many things throughout a day, a week, a year and nearly all of them pass us by unnoticed. Sometimes we feel jealousy, envy, mistrust, fear, insecurity, anger, frustration, contradictions, rejection, pride, patriotism, etc. Do we believe that there is peace in this? What is that? What effects are created by all of this that we feel? Obviously it is not peace. So nobody can say that they live in peace. We could start by perceiving and observing that we do not live in peace and that we do not know what it is. Let us ask ourselves once more what lies beneath all of what we feel throughout the day. When I feel denial about what I experience or about somebody, there is conflict within me, there is anger; there is a desire that things be different or I yearn to feel differently. That fight is not peace, it is quite the opposite; it is inner violence. Although versed in good manners I do not express my rage nor what I feel; violence persists within me because I am denying the reality that exists. I compare and think “it could be better.” We have in mind some memory or ideal about how things should be and we are angry that the reality is not as we want it to be.
We are all full of memories, ideals, beliefs, traditions and customs and these are what move us to act by defending them. We defend all of these things that are no more than ideas/images in our brain, because we confuse ourselves with them and if they fail or face opposition, we are undermined.
Do we not tend to do this in discussions? Do we not tend to defend ideas, beliefs or ideals (is this not the same)? Do we not defend ourselves through them? If someone tells me that I am controlling and tiresome, do I not defend myself? Do I not defend the idealised image I have of myself? Does this create peace in me or in the others involved?
We do not normally pay attention to what we do and the result is that by defending ideas and ideals that we have adopted without questioning them, we only create separation and division between ourselves and those who do not think like us. When faced with the comment that I am excessively controlling, do I perhaps question my behaviour and what causes it, or do I simply justify it by adding that I just want the best for the other person? This lack of attention and of serious inquiry always confronts us and urges us to defend ourselves. And that defence means that we can move in a selfish fashion, in other words, constantly looking at ourselves, defending our ideas, our behaviour and our beliefs, seeking our peace and our fulfilment. Are we not, in this way, essentially, creating adversaries? Can you imagine for a moment that you do not have a past, or rather, memories, an education, aspirations that society has created in you, desires, a certain morality, some ideals or prejudices? Can you imagine that? What does that make you feel? Insecurity, surprise, fear? Something like dying? If you could set aside all of what you have learnt involuntarily, would you have anything to defend to others? And if the others were to do the same?
If they did not have any learned ideologies, beliefs, prejudices and traditions to defend, how would you feel?
Perceive for a moment how you would feel about it.
Inquire within yourself, without disputing the idea.
Just observe what you feel…
If you do not inquire honestly what leads us to our personal disputes, no peace is possible.
We all think we are right to defend trivialities.
Would it not be a waste of time and of our lives to remain caught up in all that?
That just generates violence, first of all within you and then in everything that surrounds you. Pay attention to all the old things that appear in your mind and ask yourself about that. Do not fall into the temptation of believing that it is others who should change something. If this brief investigation has stirred something within you, keep it there, do not get rid of it because you feel uneasy.
It is the start of freedom: questioning all the old things that you have stored up and that do not bring peace to your life nor that of others.