The worst of summer is probably over. The days are settling into an average of 30 degrees instead of the mid 40s. We have just celebrated the Chinese New Year, my family welcomed the year of the Snake with the all-important new year eve dinner. I get a plethora of well wishes on FB including wealthy, healthy, happy, etc but one stood out very clearly - he wished me inner peace. I did not think too much about the message until now - when I am at peace and yet again in my small side patio sipping my morning coffee.
"Wondered what is the difference between happiness and inner peace is?" Universe started this time before I had a chance to ask any questions.
"Oh now you are being pro active this morning?"
"You have asked this before but you have forgotten that you did"
I must have and who am I to argue with the Universe. OK so I did, then tell me more.
"Yes there is a clear difference. Happiness is dependent on some conditions being perceived as positive but inner peace does not"
"Well then to be happy will be simple. All I have to do is change my attitude and think positive on all matters all the time. So where does inner peace comes in?"
"Do you truly know what positive is and what negative is? Sometimes you may think that your experience is positive only to turn into a negative experience? Known of people who had a wonderful love-filled romantic wedding then turning into a disastrous and bitter divorce later?" Or people who have changed their lives drastically for the better after a heart attack or near-death experience? In essence there is neither positive nor negative in the larger perspective. Situations are just as they are"
"Huh? I cannot pretend that things are good when an obvious bad thing has happened? Death, accidents, illness or pain are not good and I cannot simply deny that it is not bad. That would be self deceiving wouldn't it?"
"You are not pretending, you are simply allowing the situation to be as it is. Obviously when your loved one has a major accident of has just died, you cannot be happy about it. But you can be at peace with it - you can be crying and feel the loss, but you can still be at ease with the death or accident. Once you accept the situation and allow the situation to be - you will find underneath this sadness or unhappiness the presence of quiet strength. It is sacred. This is...... inner peace. A place where there is no good nor bad."
"This is all too difficult to understand. Can you give me a simpler example?"
"Imagine you are sitting on your balcony enjoying the fresh evening breeze. Then the foul smelling cooking from your neighbour wafts in once again. They are foreigners in our country and cooking their strange smelling food. Almost immediately they spoil the fresh evening breeze of yours. To top it off your neighbour adulterate the quiet neighbourhood you live in with their loud voices and communal dining. Annoyance and then anger arises in you. "How could they be so insensitive", you start justifying your anger. "I am going to Twit about this and also going to write about them on FB, I might even write an article in my daily newspaper column teaching them how to behave in our country" - you continue to fuel your anger and before long it spills into an all out revenge."
"OK what is your point?" I am getting impatient, as Universe is taking too long.
"Observe yourself - that is precisely my point"
"Is there a need to be annoyed with your neighbours? What does this annoyance do for you? And is there a need to take revenge?"
"What else can I do? I have a right too don't I?"
"Allow things to be as it is. Try this - instead of letting this smell or noise build in you - just imagine yourself to be transparent. Imagine the smell and noise just simply going through you. Imagine that you are NO THING - just an empty space and the smell and noise simply passes through you. You have no resistance. This no-resistance is your inner peace unaffected by neither smell nor noise."
"Well if my neighbour continues to be loud and affect not just me but others in my community do we not do something about it? Do we just simply accept and let things get out of hand? Can we not at least compromise?"
"If you ever need to do something then it is fine. But do it from this inner peace. Whatever you do from this inner peace will be done in the right way and at the right moment. It will come from a quiet need to effect a change or strike a compromise. There will be no blaming no accusation just a smooth conduit to find a solution. More importantly, whatever you do will not be from anger or revenge, it will be done from a calm disposition. In this way annoyance, anger and revenge has not place. Don't you think so?"
"....by the way, the neighbour's story I just told you? - its a true story that happened in one country in South East Asian. Sad isn't it?"