I often give introductory sessions on meditation to groups. It is always a major surprise to them how relaxing and calm they feel after only a few minutes of a very simple meditative exercise. Many say they come because they want to experience some inner peace or tranquillity but they never expect it to arise within themselves.
Why we naturally desire inner peace and tranquillity
Most of us are very busy. We go from one task to another and there seems little time for true relaxation. So is inner peace within reach for people leading normal busy lives? Or is it the preserve of monks and nuns, or the wealthy?
Living in a society where virtually anything can be bought, perhaps we are conditioned to think that tranquillity can only be acquired with money or by a complete change of lifestyle. With money we might go to a spa or on a retreat, and we can buy relaxing music and so forth to listen to. At greater cost, we could have the experience of spending time in a flotation tank or some other artificial environment.
But we don’t need to do any of these things in order to experience inner serenity. Perhaps those who come to the introductory sessions are expecting me to give them something but really all they get is the opportunity to be with themselves. And that is the amazing thing – peacefulness is not something separate from any of us; it is us, it is our true nature. We don’t need anything external in order to find it.
Being more in touch with who we really are
Fulfilment can only come when we are peaceful inside. It is only when we are peaceful that we begin to be more in touch with who we really are. That is the simple reason why each and every one of us, consciously or unconsciously, desires inner peace and tranquillity. It is natural to want it but it cannot be bought; we have to discover it for ourselves. A very busy person might say that they have far too much to do and that they thrive on stress and stimulus. Their whole system is in a more or less permanent state of excitation.
If we are like that, we tend to seek more and more things to do or to experience and try to find fulfilment that way. But we are not in touch with our true nature. In fact, we are blind to the possibility of its existence simply because the mind and body are highly agitated. Because we are so uncomfortable, we think whatever it is we want from life is to be found “out there” rather than “in here”. At some point, though, we will know that “out there” is not the answer and that we have to look within.
For online meditation tuition, my Meditation Course contains four approaches to inner peace.