If you want peace of mind
“If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, the whole world is your own.”
This wonderful statement of Sri Sarada Devi, a 19th-century Indian saint, is profoundly significant. Who doesn’t need peace of mind? At some point in our lives, we most probably will look for it. Especially spiritual seekers will make peace of mind a prime life’s purpose.
How can not finding faults with others lead to peace of mind? Or what do these two things, peace of mind, and finding faults with others, even have to do with one another? The answer is on the one hand very simple, and on the other, very hard to comprehend and practice. The simple part is that we stop wasting time judging others. The hard part is that it requires us to turn within. To stop directing our energies towards worrying what others are doing is of course good for the simple reason that we have energy left over to direct it to more constructive things, like looking at our own faults and making inner improvements.
The harder part is to turn within. Turning within can be interpreted in many ways. One way can be understood as going within by becoming aware of something divine within. Another way of going within can be seen as starting to focus on repeating a mantra within or repeating prayers or chants.
In other words, it’s directing the mind from the outside to the inside and learning to hold on to an internal awareness rather than an external awareness.
By being constantly focused on what’s around and outside of us, we are in a perpetual state of action-reaction, a never-ending cycle of externalized energy. This makes the mind restless. It also reinforces subconscious tendencies that, when left unchecked, will dominate our lives. Subconscious tendencies are little habit machines that control how we think, act, and react. These are the results of conditioning in our early childhood and, of course, from past lives. These habits never change unless we try to make this subconscious world conscious through meditation and other awareness exercises.
So by redirecting an outer state of criticism towards an inner state of awareness we can start to catch these little habits and change them.
Making little changes
Each and every time we criticize someone we send a little, almost imperceptible, negative energy current into our heart and mind. This effects our overall energy signature, and, perhaps worse, shoots little impulses into our subconscious mind, reinforcing and strengthening our old thought patterns. These then, as a consequence, become stronger, making us criticize even more and thus keep feeding the cycle of action-reaction, me versus them, strengthening this subconscious notion that we are different.
The moment I’m different, I need to protect this sense of differentiation, I need to uphold it, feed it, justify it, and so on. And so Sarada Devi says: “No one is a stranger, the whole world is your own.”
Because if it is not, this sense of difference brings about fear. The ego, the sense of ‘I’ needing to protect itself and survive. Fear makes us discriminate versus love, makes us nationalistic versus universal, individual versus One. And we will never find peace as long as there is differentiation.
Peace, therefore, is found when we become aware of our inner dialog, change it, and start identifying with the eternal part of ourselves, our Self, our Soul. This Self is a part of the universal ocean of awareness of which we are all part. “Learn to make the whole world your own” can become an actual experience. There is peace in Oneness. This Oneness is an internal state of spiritual awareness, of spiritual realization, and is equivalent to peace.
May we try to see everybody as part of ourselves.
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