It’s true, life is complex and always bigger than most of us can scratch to understand. And if Puberty asks us to close ourselves and ask relentlessly “Why? Why is everything so hard?”, then comes the self-proclaimed Maturity, asking for the poor age to calm down, and says – “Well, my friend, enough fooling around, you will always be unlimitedly ignorant and life will always be bigger but, since suicide is not an option, man up, face life and grab her by the horns.” And from then on things start sliding. In my case, I discovered the key to my life, the one that eliminates all the suffering. All of it? It’s truth, all of it.
Yes, time goes by and I get ever more sure that this is it – it is the desire to live in peace that transcends me, that invites me genuinely to smile, that grabs me and pulls me closer to what I truly am.
It is the desire to live in harmony with what I am and feel, without masks that disguise me into a supposed ideal and further from Me, without safety nets of entangled lies easily unwoven, without unstable stilts that try to make me look like more than I am. Being only and all me. And from early on, I intuited that this was the way I wanted to go. Well, if this was the way, all that was left was to go ahead!
Either we are here for real, or not at all. So, in a somewhat organic way, and many times unconscious, I began to realize where I had to step on to get closer to that Harmony Castle I so long for.
First of all, I have understood that living in peace implies knowing myself.
Exploring, disarranging my whole being, exploring my motivations, ripping out my interests, observing my stimuli, paying attention to my inner movements, and saving the lessons that my being suggests. Knowing well the surfaces in which I slide without attrition, the things that burden me, the moments in which I’m shy, what tranquilizes me… Without knowing well this vehicle that I drive, it is impossible for me to perfection it.
The following movement was to be aware, observing how people around me moved, how they interacted, and I would take mental notes of what I should take to my life.
It’s funny how I have well engraved in my memory the moments when a new idea would come up and I’d say “this is it!”.
It happened with the first person I saw making fun of herself and openly talking about her weakest spots, with the first time I heard the sentence “the ones who brag are the ones who need to”, with the first time I saw a speaker proving the efficacy of a captivating tone.
But the path could not stop in the thorough observation, it had to reform me, create a strong box for this treasure that is Peace. And this reform implied facing each and every disorder I would feel.
Instead of taking off into spiritual deliriums that go beyond my limitless ignorance, what became essential was to signal the situations that were dysregulated and working on calibrating them.
Before, I was constantly annoyed with practically everything that disturbed my beautiful vision of life – whether it was a less valuable characteristic of someone, or the world’s state of affairs, or some friend’s systematic delays; whether by the stupidity around me or by the frustration of not being able to do what I wanted.
My being would rave, contract and release uncontrollable irritation, like a blind shotgun with unlimited ammunition. And the understanding of how little good it did to me (and, consequently, to others as well – because a bomb, even if isolated, always has repercussions in its surroundings), made me strive to polish that apparently unpolishable edge.
Now, is everything that constitutes us polishable?
Can we educate each of our reactions, get them ever closer to our will, and show them, that it is, in fact, our being who’s in charge?
I hear so many times things like “ok, that’s how he is and we need to accept it” or “I was born like this, I can’t change” – are there unalterable characteristics? Well, once again, my limitless ignorance doesn’t allow me to go further, but my experience has been saying “yes, there are many things, apparently unchangeable and fixed, that can indeed be worked on”. But it needs work, it takes time, it requires effort. And this is what I’ve been trying to do with irritation, with demand, with introversion – taking their hand, talking with them, taking the useful things they bring and stopping them from invading my control room. And how wonderful it has been!
I feel like a clumsy stone worker with an unrefined stone in his hands, which he can freely sculpt as he wishes.
With all the time constraints and resource scarcity, but also with all the freedom and creativity!
The essential point in this search for peace is Detachment. I speak of attachment as the “I can’t be happy without this” feeling, and I live increasingly more certain that there is nothing on which our peace is exclusively dependent. I’m not suggesting an alienation from the world, but an interaction from which my happiness is independent. And not only material attachments. “I wouldn’t be happy without you”, which means “I will do everything I can to have you close to me, not because I want you well, but because I need you!”.
For me, that’s not love, and smells a lot like attachment.
Love means “I am fine without you baby, it’s alright, but I fervently want you to be well, so I set you free. When I’m with you everything is wonderful but, when you’re not with me, I’m not miserable”.
In the end, I learned that, whatever the situation, I will decide to be in peace. If I impress someone, great. If not, I will keep going. If I get rich, great. If not, great anyways. If I’m healthy, wonderful. If I get sick, let the sickness come. This detachment comes hand in hand with the determination to face what comes up with the freedom to reject whatever it is that tries to take my peace away.
“And would you be willing to give up on a successful career in exchange for peace?” Some years ago I would doubt it, but today I say: of course! There are people who defend that success is the real engine of happiness, but how many successes don’t come dragging attachments, so far away from peace? Living detached is extraordinary.“And don’t you feel sad? Do you always feel happy?”.
This has been my most recent and wonderful discovery – sadness is not incompatible with happiness.
Once again, by happiness I don’t mean fun or pleasure, but detachment, true Peace. Of course, sadness and loneliness try to sack the Castle every once in a while, but the trick has been to stay firm, as someone who seeks shelter until the cloud goes away. And everything goes away, eventually.
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