Peace is being wholly at ease. Lacking peace is the root of all evil.
Being unsettled is so commonplace that we sometimes forget there is an alternative.
As Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) famously wrote in Pensees [Thoughts]: “Tout le malheur des hommes vient d’une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.“
“All human misfortunes derive from one single thing, which is their inability to be at ease in a room at home.”
Could you do that? Could you sit quietly, alone, in a dark, silent room and be wholly at ease?
If you wonder, “How long would I have to sit there?” then the answer is a resounding ”No!”
It is impossible to think about time or anything else and be wholly at ease.
To think is to conceptualize, which is to sort or compare or contrast. It is always the egoic mind that thinks. “The ego literally lives by comparisons” (from A Course in Miracles. All the quotations in the rest of this post are from this book).
If so, it’s instantly obvious why it is impossible to be peaceful: we are too egoistical, too self-centered.
Another way to say this is that we take ourselves to be temporal, enslaved by time. Time is conceptual, a product of the egoic mind. “Both time and delay are meaningless in eternity.”
Another way to say this is to say that we identify with our thoughts, particularly our autobiographies (life stories, self narratives).
Yet another way to say this is that we identify with our bodies, which are temporal. The egoic mind interprets the body as itself. This identity judgment is the wellspring of human dissatisfaction.
Either the egoic mind or Being is insane. There is no middle ground.
In fact, properly understood, this is good news: if we use “(to) do” to refer only to bodily acts (as opposed to also including decisions or other thoughts), sanity does not require us to do anything!
“To do anything involves the body. And if you recognize you need do nothing, you have withdrawn the body’s value from your mind. Here is the quick and open door through which you . . . escape from time” into your real identity, which is Being itself.
Peace is Being.
If you are unable to be at ease, it’s because you have not forgotten the body. As long as you do not completely forget the body, you will remain trapped in time, in Becoming, in dissatisfaction.
All that is required is one instant: if “just for an instant, you are willing to see no past or future,” you accept Being without reservation.
One moment of no-thought is all that is required to be wholly at ease. Notice how thought cannot think time without thinking of past or future; it cannot think the present moment except as fleeting unintelligibility.
“Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary.”
Being at ease requires, just for a moment, letting go of identifying yourself with your body, with your thoughts, with time. This is the meaning of detachment.
Being wholly at ease requires practicing focusing on the present moment.
It’s true that letting go, actually detaching, is difficult; however, all it takes is one instant.
The body is not who you are. Your thoughts are not who you are. Your ego is not who you are. “This little self is not your kingdom.”
You are Being.
Underneath all your trials and tribulations, underneath all your dissatisfaction and suffering, underneath all your real or imagined misfortunes is peace, being wholly at ease.
The cause of all suffering is not realizing who we are. We misunderstand ourselves.
We are not humans having occasional experiences of Being, we are beings with human form. It’s the difference between experiencing Becoming from Being and experiencing Being, if at all, from Becoming.
Are you depressed? “When you equate yourself with a body you will always experience depression.”
Are you insane? When you equate yourself with your story or thought system you will always experience insanity.
Are you deluded? When you equate yourself with your ego you will always be delusional. “The ego . . . is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father.”
Are you unsettled (dissatisfied, hurting)? When you forget timelessness and only preoccupy yourself with time, you will always be unsettled.
“As always, your choice is determined by what you value. Time and eternity cannot both be real, because they contradict each other.”
It only takes an instant.