Of all of the levels of consciousness, Peace is probably the most misunderstood.
The concept of peace comes into our consciousness a lot. We read in the news about conflicting countries holding talks. We hear of UN “peacekeeping” forces occupying war zones.
Even the phrase “keep the peace” shows the depth of our misunderstanding of the true peace of consciousness.
The mistake we make is that we try to create peace, when that’s something that can’t be done.
Any created peace is not peace. It is simply a lull in physical hostility while the mental and emotional hostility continue to fester and grow. (If you’ve ever tried to ‘keep the peace’ in a relationship you’ll probably know this feeling).
Peace is not a ‘state’.
Peace is something different.
Peace is the default.
If there were no humans on earth, peace would reign. There would be, as Charles Bukowski put it beautifully, “the greatest silence never heard.”
Let me explain…
Take a large blank sheet of paper. Clearly this is peace.
Now take a pencil and draw some beautiful flowers on the sheet of paper. Add some other wonderful things… a young couple falling in love, a basket of kittens or puppies, a sun-drenched beach with the waves lapping quietly, steadily, hypnotically on the shore.
Now we have a background of peace with objects drawn on top. The paper itself—the background of peace—has gone nowhere.
Now pick up the pencil again and draw the mundane things in life… the electricity bill, rushing to get to an appointment on time, a rainy Sunday afternoon, doing the weekly laundry.
The paper? Still exactly where it was. Still providing that pristine backdrop to the objects of our picture.
And now add suffering… add scenes of war, add a hungry child, add the shocking atrocities that pepper our news feeds on a daily and weekly basis.
The objects in the world can be as startling, as sensational, as positive or negative as we like but that never affects our big white sheet of paper. They simply sit on top of the default background.
And so we change our relationship with peace.
We don’t seek peace. We don’t create peace. We merely recognise the sheet of paper that our lives and experiences—the good, the bad, the mundane, the sensational, our relationships, our thoughts, our emotions—are sketched on.
The totality of our experience in the human realm is sketched on a backdrop of peace and if we can deeply feel into that truth as we go about our day-to-day lives we will inform every one of our actions, our thoughts, our emotions with that same truth, that same peace.
Like all of the upper levels of consciousness, it’s impossible to truly ‘understand’ this concept. It has to be ‘felt’.
That’s why we meditate. To give ourselves the best chance to feel our way to that peace.
And when we have practised enough, we can feel the peace no matter what is happening in our outer or inner world.
Feel that pristine sheet of white paper that your experience is sketched on.