Enriched by Experience

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There is much less to be said about many subjects once a state of internal peace has been achieved. Not the fleeting kind of so-called peace that is contrived, contingent on life circumstances being just so. But the deep, abiding kind of peace that sustains and informs … no matter what. So how do we come to know the difference?

  • JOURNAL ENTRY TWELVE: Turning Within

Circumstantial peace v. spiritual peace. That’s one way to look at this important distinction.

One kind of peace is linked to what is happening on a superficial level — the other kind is always there. Maybe in the background, but there, nonetheless.

IMG-20140720-02459I’m not sure I understood this difference fully until the spiritual kind of peace became part of my life.

Often, only via experience do we learn what certain words actually mean.

Before that we are merely tossing them around like we understand them, but sometimes (usually) there are degrees of understanding.

  • Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

As Hanh points out–our “ideas” about happiness prevent real understanding–and so it is that our notions about peace also trip us up.  

Reading a definition in the dictionary provides intellectual understanding, but nothing more.

IMG-20140719-02447From this vantage point, it’s easy to see why there is so much turmoil in the world. In our families and communities. A word is just a word until life experience provides depth and structure and nuance.

When we say … “I understand,” do we?

The best thing about spiritual peace, the kind that feels timeless and without any kind of physical boundary, is how liberating it is — the world will go on debating issues as long as the planet exists, but I don’t feel compelled to take a position. To have an opinion. Or even to care … necessarily. There are different kinds of caring, various degrees of understanding, after all.

  • Tapping into the well of peace within, many things feel irrelevant, unimportant, senseless. It’s like noticing a tranquil blue sky above a dense forest. Like choosing to walk when everyone else is running. It’s seeing through the veil of the conditioned mind in a way that is lasting and profound. And it’s also realizing that we always have a choice between suffering and ease of being. But sometimes, and usually, suffering is needed first to fully realize the peace within. ~ dh

FOR YOUR JOURNALS: What kind of peace appeals to you? Turning within, what is there when you explore this word, this concept?

It’s Year Five in this sunny space for kindred spirits, and this is my 12th journal entry for our 2014 spiritual journal: Turning Within. Posts are brief, but introspective. I hope you are keeping a journal.

The external world can feel glittery, compelling; we are easily distracted. Yet,  self-awareness, self-discovery, and certainly spiritual realization, spring from within.

Thanks so much for being here. Journal entries post every other Friday morning (next entry: August 8). At the close of this series, we will definitely compare notes.

  • If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here: Turning Within.
  • To browse SunnyRoomStudio guest posts: Studio Guests.
  • Remember: If you haven’t looked within, you haven’t looked.

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