Is Self-awareness the guardian of my peace?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

All of us want to feel at peace.  That is why we try different things: being alone, visiting beautiful remote scenery, looking for the right partner, going on holiday, moving job or house, having time for ourselves etc.   But after a while everything reverts to a non-peace.  Something external is not going to change something internal and peace is something internal.  It is true that being in a place that offers certain advantages helps briefly, but it is not the solution.  Moreover, can inner peace be dependent on something other than me?

Perhaps we could stop a moment from looking for quick external solutions and present within ourselves.

“You may wander all over the earth but you have to come back to yourself” J.Krishnamurti

Being present in ourselves sounds simple, and yet, it is not that easy.  It requires a clear honest intention to observe everything about our own inner being that keeps us away from peace and which is the accumulation of the conflicts and contradictions that we carry with us.  That is why learning to be more sensitive, more open, is essential.  And how is that done?

Normally, we justify ourselves in the face of the tiniest contradiction; we are filled with regret about the most trivial setback: we give up at the least effort.  All of this is normal and we are not going to act against it nor to feel badly about doing it.  What we can do is start to become aware of everything that is constantly happening inside us.

Self-awareness is a mainstay of peace.  Let us say that peace is a by-product of being aware of what drives our automatic reactions. 

It may be that you are still wondering – and how is that done?  Right now, look within you to see what you feel, if there is a particular desire to obtain a response, if there is an expectation of finding a magic wand by reading this.  Perhaps you will say “this is more of the same.” Observe that impatience and do not fuel it by feeding it with more arguments, just observe what is happening inside you.  If, for example, one day you feel badly, because of something that someone has said about you, and an automatic reaction arises in you that drives you to give them a piece of your mind, observe what you felt.  Maybe you felt despised or humiliated in front of other people and that always makes you lash out.   If you are not aware of your reaction and that it is just a reaction to defend your image, you will become bogged down in your rage or sadness and you will continue to brood over it justifying your reaction and feeding your emotions with defensive arguments.  But if you observe your reactions, what you feel or think or what always makes you lash out, then you will be able to gain an awareness of yourself and you will begin to have freedom over what comes automatically from you.  This is just an example.

You can try it today.  Observe what you feel throughout the day, the judgements that you make about yourself, about others and your reactions.  It is a good start towards understanding what is preventing you from being at peace!  It is not a bad plan.