I write this one the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It feels like a new epoch has started for me, a time when I have to reexamine my life, and all my choices, with fresh eyes. I would like those eyes to be like Brigid’s—calm, kind, infinitely tender.
I have been living in peace’s shadow long enough, in a state of perpetual conflict, with my self, my life, my relationships. It’s a hard road to sustain, and it’s wearing me out.
Like so many of the cards, Peace conjures up images of my teacher, Papaji, whom I first met in India in 1993. He started all of his talks (called satsangs) with a few minutes of silence, followed by his sweet, croaky om, and then om shantih, shantih, shantih—let there be peace, let there be peace, let there be peace. And everything that followed, whatever problems or suffering or doubts were stirring in the person that sat before him, Papaji would be able to stop their mind long enough, even if it was just a fraction of a second, for a glimpse of what lay beyond the mind.
The beyond is so hard to describe, as there are no words for it. It was like looking into a breathtaking emptiness, or listening to a silence so deep and complete that the silence itself became a kind of music.
It was stunning to feel and to witness. The entire whirligig of life could stop in his presence, the endless foraging into the past and present, the ten thousand thoughts that love nothing more than to flash mob our minds.
Papaji’s constant teaching, to sum it up in two words, was “Keep Quiet.” It wasn’t so much to pipe down, as it was to just be, to sink into the deepest quiet of one’s own being. It’s what gets revealed when the mind lets itself stop. I know that whenever I attempt to sit, there are always a lot of layers of mind to work through, the biggest veil being worry. My mind loves to worry about everything, from money to missing out to not having enough closet space. So much so that when I imagine myself setting down my load of constant worries, just the thought of it is like a huge inner sigh.
Here is what I have posted on the little bulletin board near my desk to remind me of the peace that passeth all worry:
Find A Better Job
All your worry
Has proved such an
Find a better
This year, my aim is to make worry, if anything, a hobby, rather than my full time profession. My new “better job” is peacekeeper, at least of my own heart.
What are the veils, or the jobs, that keep you away from peace? How do you come back to your self?