Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Perfecting Peace


Happiness is so temporary. Dependent on external factors, one feels it in time-bites. We depend on the weather, on our looks, on our hair, on our relationships, on our abodes, on our gardens, on our phone calls, on our... we are happy when things are ‘right.’ Yet the state of ‘being happy’ is easily fragmented. In the long haul of life, we all know just how very many things have made us ‘unhappy’. We are not at peace with ‘this’, or with ‘that’. Indeed, as Yeats puts it, “...peace comes dropping slow.”

‘Peace,’ as a slogan can be a call to action. It can be a phrase intended to calm down the fight between children, between armies, between religions, between couples, between nations. The word can appear trite, temporary, and false. It can lose the essence of its meaning as one unhappily shakes hands, calls a truce, endures the draconian dictates of a family, a cult, a religion, a political system, a world order. One can be hard put to feel peace when one’s fundamentals are threatened, cauterized, curtailed, and jailed. In the long haul we are victims to the times. "Grant me the wisdom to know the difference," is so true.

Perfecting peace comes at the price of letting go. Attaining peace is not so much a sublimation, or a discarding of one’s wants and desires and interests, as it is about developing an appreciation for our circumstances, our things, our relationships, without being attached. ‘Attachment’ breeds dependency, whereas ‘appreciation’ frees one to love.

“I LOVE it!” is a ubiquitous phrase. Blurted at the banquet of things, feelings, sounds, sights, smells, and touch, “I love it,” is married with happiness. Yet one can become, if not ‘out of love’, then ‘used to,’ familiar with, or even ‘bored’ by the very thing that once created that sensation of love-happiness it evoked. We each have had so much in our lives, young or old as we may be. And it is not just Birthdays or Christmases that give us the presents we love. The surprise of a sunset, a harvest moon, a bird on the wire can bring about such feelings too. All these things are, however, impermanent. And so can be our ‘happiness.’ 

Yet ‘love,’ in the long-haul sense of the word, at ‘best’ is entirely a feeling one gives, always, a sense one has, always, a non-attachment to Everything, always. Appreciation is distinct from Attachment. As such, in the integrative, assimilative, absorptive, inclusive, and personal peacefulness of appreciation, as a verb, as a thing one does, it frees one to love deeply, profoundly, and as permanently in awareness of Everything Else, so long as one is ‘working at’ it. After all, one’s acculturation, habituations, lessons of the past, experiences along the way, and even the expectations within the groups one becomes involved with, creates these divisions of attachment between what was, is, and may yet be. To be attached is to depend. To appreciate, is to be free. Indeed, “...peace comes dropping slow.”

But what about the accidents of life? What about the pain and the suffering and the horror and the abuse and the torturous and the vile? What about the unfairness and the betrayal and the unexpected? What of the controls and the dictates and the censures? What of the bullies and the lions and tigers and bears? How do we accept them?

Acceptance comes at the price of compassion. And compassion arises from having ‘been there’, from recognizing in oneself, however minimally, the instincts to hate, hit, hurt, kill, and smash that which opposes our immediate sense of ‘happiness.’ Who among us has never killed an insect? Who among us has never felt anger, disappointment, vengeance, greed, or.... Well, those Seven Sins raise their heads. It is in discourse that we stand chance of nurturing evolution. And while we each ‘grow up,’ there is much of enlightenment to learn in the passage of our own passing through. Indeed, perfecting peace comes slowly. Yet in attaining it, however small the measures, one knows there is always yet more to be had. Such is love. Such is peace. And curiously, so may we include happiness too. “Peace be unto you,” is heartfelt. So too is ‘Rest In Peace’. But it is the now for now where peace is best realized. Now for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your contribution, by way of comment toward The Health of the Whole, always!