Inner peace, gosh that would be nice to have all the time and in all situations, don't you think? However, when life isn't going the way you’d like it to go inner peace is probably the most difficult thing to find! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a pretty peaceful person. But when you have paid thousands of dollars to visit a tropical island in the middle of a cold hard winter and all you get is rain, well, you cannot help but feel disappointed. And there goes that inner peace!
I started thinking about this while in Hawaii watching the rain come down. You make the most of a bad situation, what else can you do? But what if my judgment about what was taking place were incorrect? What if this rain was the best thing that had ever happened to me? We've all heard that Buddha, Jesus, and just about every other teacher, old or new, state that there is something far greater than yourself guiding you.
Wait a minute, would this "greater being" really put me in a situation that was difficult? And if so why would I listen to such a "greater being"? Difficult situations could run the gamut from living with unreasonable family or living in chronic pain all the way to living in a dire situation such as war or famine. Maybe my judgment of what is expected of me in a difficult situation is incorrect. Maybe there is something more than just making the best of it.
"Mathematical numbers from one to infinity are each complete numbers, and each in itself carries no distinction of quantity; but people make the discrimination for their own convenience, so as to be able to indicate varying amounts." This quote from<i> The Teaching of Buddha</i> by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai suggests that your human mind needs to define and judge what is happening. We do this every day and for every situation.
Yet this is little book, The Teaching of Buddha, goes on to say that the Buddha transcended the pitfalls of the mind because he understood that what was impermanent had no value. And inner peace, which is permanent, can only be found in that which has true value. So what the heck is that and where do I find it? That is the million-dollar question with an answer that often includes descriptions that say there are no words to describe either the feeling or what it encompasses. Not very useful.
Perhaps the answer is that you are a complete being, like that mathematical number. There is nothing wrong with either with you or your situation, and there is no need to make the situation fit what you think should be happening in your life. Perhaps what you need to do is forgive yourself for thinking like a human being and ask that “greater being” to help you think with their mind. If that were to happen do you think that disappointment would come with the rain? I’m not sure but my guess is that neither the weather, nor the pain, nor anything else would make a difference in your overall feeling of peace about a situation whether deemed good or bad.
And if your overall feeling is one of inner peace, like the mind of that “greater being,” then that’s a really good place to be.