Saturday, November 24, 2007

Peace of Mind

I have been noticing that my mind has been more than usually restless in the past couple of days, during meditation. It has been busy trying to write, while I have been busy trying to bring its attention to what I want it to attend to: the breath. I attribute this in good part to the recent conflict of opinions on The Buddha Diaries, in consequence of which I have been questioning my meditation practice, and what purpose it serves.

The simple conclusion that I reach, time and again, is that it works. I have a limited amount of time left to me in this life—and I’m still unable to jump that hurdle into belief in another, or other lives—and a limited amount of energy. Ahead of me lies the strong possibility of some form of illness or debility, and the certainty of continuing aging and death. I want to experience these parts of life with as much clarity and forbearance as I can muster, and that requires peace of mind. When I say that meditation works, I mean that it teaches me the path toward peace of mind.

I do need, still, to be engaged. I need to be engaged in books and movies, in the visual arts which have been the focus of much of my writing over the years, in politics and culture… My mind is still capable of learning, my heart still capable of growing when I immerse myself in such things.

What I don’t need, though, is a restless mind. I’m finding that I can engage just fine without it. For me, intellectual curiosity is not necessarily fed by battles over rights and wrongs or goods and bads. I believe that I have largely surrendered the need to be right, and that position feels comfortable to me. I am not averse to being in a place of comfort.

These quiet thoughts an observations, for a Saturday morning. Metta, then. I wish the world a peaceful weekend, filled with true happiness. And that would be enough, for me.


Paul said...

Years ago I came up with what I called my Three Great Desires: Wisdom, Divine Guidance, and Peace of Mind. I desired them because I believed I lacked each of those qualities.

Today, I get an occasional surge of what may be called wisdom, and it seems true it does accrue with age.

I no longer believe in the notion of divine guidance, which in itself (along with a sea change in spiritual thinking) resulted in a degree of peace of mind.

Yet that restless, judgmental, and defensive mind persists, and at times I'd prefer no mind at all.

So, building on these fine thoughts you present here, I say it's better to be engaged than right.

Peace of mind to you.

robin andrea said...

I like that you tell us what is true for you, and what works to make restlessness recede and peacefulness emerge.

Eli said...

Peter, I don't know why, but lately I've been wondering about what thoughts I'll have when I'm an older man. I picture myself in my seventies, and wonder what feelings I'll have when I think back on all the events in my life. I also wonder if the events of my life will even be as important as what will be the present at that time. I know that right now I don't look back on my life very often, so what does that say about my future?

It's nice to read your blog, especially this post, because it helps to clarify some of these thoughts I'm having. Metta, and peace of mind!

Robin said...

Thank you for re-affirming what I beleive.

I really enjoyed your blog, most of the time, in reading your wisdom.

I also go through most of the encounters and glad to read your sharing.