What is the price of peace of mind?
Life is a disturbance. Can you imagine a life without any disturbance? What would such a life look like? What would such a world look like? It’s hard to imagine, but disturbance is always there in varying degrees. Let’s try to understand what is the meaning of disturbance. The definition of disturbance says, There is something that is troubling us, that is bothering us.
There’s no disturbance for a person sitting in meditation. A person who is deep in meditation, irrespective of what’s happening around, is in a blissful state. I can just sit here, close my eyes, and forget all disturbance. I can completely forget what’s happening in America right now. I can completely forget that there’s a president who was trying to overtake the country using force; I can ignore all that. I can just sit and meditate and go into my inner space.
The source of what we recognize as disturbance outside of us is definitely within us. We have the power and control over how much we want to get disturbed by the external environment. The external exists only to disturb you: To pull you out of your meditative state, to pull you out of your connection with life so that you can engage in something else. We are so addicted to this process. We are addicted to politics, religion, our family lives, our social lives, our work lives. Our life: That’s our engagement. I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong, what I’m saying is because we are addicted to it, we have to face the consequences of the disturbance that comes from there.
There is a choice. You have a choice, provided that you exercise that choice. You also have the choice to exercise the choice. Yeah, that’s the beauty of life: You are free to not only choose, you are free to choose what you’re choosing, and how much you want to do. You can choose how much meditation you want, how much peace you want, how much bliss you want, how much success you want, how much name and fame you want. Life is no rocket science. Life simply says, I’m a shop. You have come to me. I can give you anything – this is a shop of endless items. Everything is here, provided you pay the price.
You cannot expect to be the richest man in the world and not pay any price for it. That’s all life says. I’m not denying anything. Everything is there. What is it that you are offering in return? Just like you, there are so many others who are asking for the same thing. If I had two of the same thing, and if there were only two people asking for it, I would have just given it to them. You don’t have to pay any price, you don’t have to put in any effort, you just go to the shop, ask, and life will give it to you.
But there are so many of us, and all of us are desiring for those very specific things. Life only has a few of those items to offer. It has an abundance of other things: It has abundance of peace, and an abundance of happiness. What you are asking for is limited; whether you’re asking for a house, car, bicycle, or whatever, it’s limited because these are all created by human beings. Because these are products of human creation, there is a price for it.
Because we have chosen a certain way of life, we want to be involved in this way of life. We want to be a part of the human community. We want to be worthy of our human rights; we want to be seen as worthy in their eyes, not just our own eyes. That’s where the conflict comes from. When we realize that everything is available, and when we know what the price is for each item, then we can choose: “Okay, do I want this? If I want this, I’m going to pay this price. If I’m willing to pay that price, then I should not be complaining.”
One of the key ingredients, one common currency that everybody pays with, is peace of mind. When you ask for something from the external world, the first thing that’s asked for in return is a little bit of your peace of mind. Ultimately, what is the bargain? The bargain is our peace of mind, our happiness, our relaxation, our mental well-being, our physical well-being. That is what the world asks for. If you’re willing to pay that price, then it’s willing to offer something.
Choice is what separates us from others. It’s what separates human beings from animals; it’s what separates us from all the chaos and confusion that is happening around. The most important thing you can choose is to step away, but if you actually think about it, a lot of us don’t even think that it’s possible to choose to step away. We are so attached to our way of life, so entangled in the process of life, that detaching almost feels like life-negating. It almost feels like you are denying life. No! You’re not denying life, you’re denying certain ways of life. Like a person who is fond of going on cruise ships; if you ever tell him, “I’m not interested in going on cruise ships because I don’t like the idea of it” he might think you are life-negative because he has found a way of enjoying life and you are
denying that. It’s the same with a lot of things; it’s the same with a lot of the luxuries of life. Because people have become used to those luxuries, and have learned how to derive pleasure out of those luxuries, they expect everybody to have that. If people are denying those things, they think it is life-negative, which is not at all true.
Life is so complex and so varied. Each individual’s life is unique. I’m not saying that you should not be pursuing material things, and I’m not saying that you should not be pursuing worldly goals and desires. But, it cannot be at the cost of you. It cannot be at the cost of your experience of life. Ultimately, life is short. Sooner or later, you will find yourself on the other end of life where your life will simply be a reflection of what you’ve done. You know life is like that; you cannot be desiring for things throughout your life.
There will come a point – a midpoint – where life will turn inward, whether you want it or not. Your attention will turn inward. More than looking at what’s happening on the outside, you will start seeing how you reacted to those experiences; what you did when you were a child, what you did during your growing up years. You’ll start reflecting on things. Already life is short, and then it only gives you half the time for creating, to desire things, the rest of the time it leaves you to quiet contemplation and reflection. Now, what would you do during that time if you have lost all your peace of mind, if you have lost all your stability, and if you’re still thirsting and hungry for things that don’t matter to you anymore? You simply have to force yourself. You know they don’t matter to you anymore, but you continue to push yourself.
Now that is the point, the midpoint, where you will choose disturbance or internal peace. That’s the moment when an individual does not choose that internal reflection, he simply chooses chaos and
confusion. Disturbance will always be there, because humanity is an unsolved problem. We are the problem. Wherever we go, we create problems for ourselves, for people around us, or for the environment. Amidst all this we try to retain a positive state of mind and we try to create things, we try to build things; that comes from our inner-spirit. There is something within us that is really positive. Just the world, the way it is, it’s a very chaotic place, a very confusing place where you’re dealing with unresolved emotions and unresolved thought processes. You can only help so much and beyond that, even if you have the desire to help, you would not be able to, and that only disturbs you more. “I wish I could do this.”
You know the solution for a lot of problems people are facing. You know you can give a piece of wisdom and advice to a lot of young people because you’ve lived through those experiences, provided they’re willing to listen. Nowadays young people are living in their own multiverse – not even universe. We live in the universe. We come from one universe, one reality; they come from a multiverse. They don’t know whether to listen to Facebook or Twitter or to human beings. I mean the world is becoming more and more complex. There is a flood of information that is coming from everywhere.
There was a time when information was limited to our environment, our workplace, our home, our community, so we could focus. Focus was easy before. In fact, we didn’t have to put any extraordinary effort to focus. A fisherman’s son was a fisherman; he did not have to focus to be a fisherman. A carpenter’s son was a carpenter. Plain and simple. Because he was born and brought up in a certain environment, learned certain skills, didn’t have YouTube to learn how to cook or drive a car or anything else, he was just stuck in his world and there was no need to focus. He would wake up in the morning and live in an environment that induced him to do certain things.
We don’t live in such a world. We live in a world of choices. Too many choices! Every moment we can choose what to do, and we can be doing so many different things. All these ideas are flooding in from everywhere. I mean, the Internet has completely opened up the world for us. It has given us a lot of power and a lot of ability, but at the same time it has made the whole experience of life very chaotic. When you don’t know what to keep your focus on, what to put your finger on, ask yourself this question: “What is my life?” You will not be able to find it. Your life will be very similar to the lives of people around you, the experiences of people around you, because we are all being conditioned by the same thing: the media – social media. Again, there’s nothing right or wrong about it. Without all this we would be very primitive, but intelligence is annoying. How do we use all this?
You have to use technology for your benefit. You have to use social media for your benefit. You have to use it not in a negative sense, but you have to use it for your benefit and for the benefit of people around you. Otherwise, you will simply get sucked into it. It’s very easy to lose your state of being, your sense of aliveness, and just become lost in it all. It’s a lot easier to lose focus in today’s world because you don’t have to do anything; just wake up in the morning and don’t have any goals, don’t have any desires, don’t have any purpose, just live. You would be lost, because somebody is there to grab your attention.
Even if you want to step away from everything and just be by yourself, the world will not let you because it has invested in you. You can look at Google, Facebook, Twitter, and all of that. They all look like very innocent creatures, just being there to provide you all the information you need. But there is another side to it: They are dependent on you more than you are dependent on them. They are dependent on your attention. You have to go on to those platforms and spend your time, and energy. Now you are paying the price – the ultimate price. People don’t realize what that price is. The way they make money is by grabbing your attention. Because you are paying with your time, with your energy, you have to understand that every moment you spend engaging with the social media you are paying the price. Nothing is free; it only appears to be free.
Basically, the time that you’re spending there could have been used for something that can help you. You could have used that in your meditation. You could have used that in some creative work. We should realize that entertainment is a tiny part of life. Entertainment can be a part of life, but life cannot be a part of entertainment. You cannot put entertainment as the most important thing and then attempt to arrange your life around it. Your primary focus, your primary goal, your primary vision should be sculpting that image of who you are: This is me. Whatever that image might be doesn’t matter, but that identity has to be clear. Whatever it is, once you pick that identity and you hold on to it, that is your stability.
From there, you can deal with all sorts of disturbances, because when there’s too much disturbance you can fall back on something that is your own. As of now, the problem is that a lot of people are not aware of that most important thing: Who are they? What is most important to them? They get very easily sucked into other things.