Let nothing disturb your inner peace – Swami Chinmayananda
Had man been just an animal, he would not need anything more than physical comforts and security, but as a highly evolved and developed psychological being, he wants emotional satisfaction.
Being highly intelligent, he is restless and impatient with all imperfections. He is not merely a physical structure consisting of his body; he has a mind and intellect also. The materialistic needs of the body can satisfy only the physical man, which is only a third of an individual; two-thirds of the individual is not taken into consideration when materialism strives to satisfy merely the basic needs in a community.
Materialism is wonderful, no doubt, but it burdens man with endless anxiety and craving to possess more and more, to acquire and aggrandise and to live with slavish attachment.
It is natural for man to seek his fulfilment and happiness only in thoughtless intemperance, in toiling for and reaching the temporary gratification of his physical passions, mental urges, and intellectual hunger. Is it not a fact that, in recent times, more people are killed by worry that work?
Man in his present misconceived civilisation has learnt to waste himself and his precious time in the inevitable trifles and tensions that beset his life.
Acquiring and spending, we lay waste our powers. Each of us seeks the same goal. We all want nothing but unadulterated, unbroken, absolute joy and peace among the sensual objects that constitute our world. But sensual objects have a false glitter of joy about them. The joy soon fades away. At the loss of such joy, the worldly seekers strive hard to multiply their capacity for purchasing more and more of the same fleeting joys.
If peace and joy is the goal of every living being, and all are day-to-day struggles are to gain that peace, is it quite natural to ask, “What is peace?”
Surely we realise that the question is not about any phenomenon in nature outside, where laboratory experiments and factual representations could facilitate understanding. The question is essentially a subjective enquiry into a state of satisfaction felt within and lived by the individual with or without reference to the external circumstances of the world outside.
By peace, we mean a mental condition in the subject lived by him and recognised as such in the absolute sorrow-less silence in his own within.
Therefore only by looking within, and observing the happenings and occurrences during the various mental conditions can we conduct an enquiry into peace.
In short, self-analysis and introspection are the very beginnings of all philosophical inquiries into self-perfection. They are the perfect means of achieving a real vital blissful living. As long as the values respected in life are of indulgence in feeding these physical demands, attention-getting diverted outward, and the chaos within cannot be ended. We will, therefore, strive to understand the entire inner processes by which the experiencer can adjust and purify his equipment.
The Rippling Action of Desire
In every one of us, there are, at any given moment, a hundred desires struggling to seek their fulfilment. In those rare lucky ones among us who gain in life at least a seeming fulfilment of some of their desires, we observe how each fulfilment is but the breeding ground for a dozen other complimentary desires, each an attempt to complete the imperfections of the phantom joy achieved!
Let us analyse a simple desire and observe what exactly happens within us. “If only I had a son,” is the beginning of an entire unending chain of life-long anxieties.
The person wishing for a son feels that possible circumstances in his life do not serve his conception of full or complete joy, and do not, therefore, give him that texture of joy or peace which he demands of life.
His solution slowly gets crystallised in his vague desire that a son would complete his joy. His desire is thus an unconscious effort on his part to have a fuller expression of himself.
The desire for a son is at the beginning only a localised disturbance in the mental lake. But a million ringlets of concentric disturbance follow, and the widening ripples of thought come to splash upon the vast banks.
The desire motivates an endless array of thoughts; thoughts thus motivated by each desire get projected into the waking state world, and among its sense objects they manifest as actions. Successful actions end in their desired fruit which is but the objectification of the subjective desire.
His thoughts, as they gain vitality from his desire, soon make him their slave. When these thoughts find their expression, then the seeking of a bride, the meeting, the talk, the transaction, the procession and the wedding happen. The desire for a son, which caused the emotional whirlwind, dragging him through a distance of sweat and worry, at last, condemns him to the thorny fields of fatherhood. “Ah! My son has arrived! My great son!”
All joy, but alas, only for a fleeting moment! The pleasure is immediately followed by his constant run for the milk-powder and feeding-bottle, the doctor, the nurse, and the chemist! Soon the individual is shuttled between the toy shops and the home, the school and theatre, the bookshops, and so on. Every day that very thing-of-joy, the son, provides for the father a thousand hopes, fears, plans, failures, disappointments, and sorrows.
“But at least in that sacred moment when he cried out ‘My Son,’ don’t you think he had a taste of some joy?” If one is tempted to ask this, one is entirely right. Hence it is that in the very beginning, we admitted that sense objects do provide joy, but only a false glitter of joy.
“If there be any joy-content at all in the sense objects, why don’t we arrest the moment of our experience and prolong it to any desired length of time?” Let us patiently continue our enquiry; probably we may come to discover the very secret of permanent joy.
From what we have so far observed, it can be inferred that the joy-in-the-son was not in the son, but in the particular condition within the mind that the birth of the son occasioned. So then, the source of joy is not in the external world of objects but is deep within us. Whenever the mind is at perfect rest, an effulgent flood of the inner bliss pours out its satisfying joy.
The desire for objects creates disturbances that shatter our real nature of Shanti, peace. The struggle and urgency of the individual to get his desire fulfilled represent the urge of truth to assert itself. The spirit within is asserting to come back to its essential state of fullness. The tension in the bowstring is from the consistent pull of the stem of the bow to regain its straight nature. The stress of life and its pains are from the benign pull of the truth upon untruth!
We have thus understood that desire breeds thoughts and thoughts propel us to action. When the actions end in successful fruition, the result is the calming of the thought-storm, which in its turn produces the feeling of joy and peace in the subject.
Hence the conclusion is self-evident; the solutions for all the sorrows of life now becomes an open secret. Renounce desire – thoughts will end. When the desire agitation is hushed up, eternal peace is experienced. This experiencing of the all-full satisfaction and contentment, which is independent of the external world and the daily circumstances, is the perfect, achievable, and to-be-achieved goal of life.
Remember, Gurudev says “Live for others – there is peace; Live selfishly – there is worry and restlessness.”
Reference – An Enquiry Into Peace by Swami Chinmayananda
Originally published in SpeakingTree.in