What is peace of mind and how to be at peace?
Sadhguru explains the meaning of "peace of mind" and offers insight into how to be at peace.
Sadhguru: What is peace? People say that sitting on the mountain and meditating is peace. Somebody else may drink alcohol and become very peaceful and so on. Whenever your ego is satisfied, you are very peaceful. Wherever you go, in that place, if people are willing to support and boost your ego, in that place you are very peaceful. Only in those places where your ego takes a thrashing, that is where you are not peaceful, isn't it?
If you have to go and sit on a mountain to be peaceful, that peace is not yours, maybe it is the mountain. When you come down you will have the same problems again. Any fool can be peaceful on the mountain because you are there only for three days. If you live there for three years, you will have problems there too. Vacations are generally very short – which is a good thing. If you stay there a little longer, you will realize even that does not work. Because it is very brief, before you can create new problems you are back in your old problems. So people shouldn’t complain about the shortness of their vacation.
Generally in the world, when people talk about peace of mind, it is only about somehow making their ego comfortable. Instead of being in a disturbed state, they wish to be comfortable. But the very process of trying to make your ego comfortable is the whole process of discomfort also. The more a person tries to be peaceful, he only loses his peace and goes off track. A person who is trying to be peaceful will never actually be peaceful. Just the reverse of this process will happen.
Generally, the peace that you achieve is only about making yourself comfortable. When you look at the mountains, you are peaceful. Suddenly an elephant rushes out of the forest straight towards you — all your peace disappears. This peace is of no great significance. It is better to be disturbed because if you are disturbed, at least you will search. If you become peaceful you only become complacent. Complacence is the greatest enemy. Disturbance is not your enemy. Your complacence is the greatest enemy and this kind of peace will create only complacence.
Peace can also come out of achievement. When you have achieved something you feel very satisfied. You feel like you are complete, a whole being. This lasts just for a moment. This feeling of wholeness is not really wholeness. When your wishes are fulfilled, when your ambitions are fulfilled, or when everything is right for you, when the situation around you is comfortable for your ego and your body, these are the times when you feel peaceful generally. But this peace is not peace. Peace means nothingness. Peace is not something that you create; peace is not something that happens. Peace is something that always is. What happens on the surface is disturbance.
This is just like the ocean. On the surface of the ocean you will see waves, tremendous turbulence and turmoil going on. But if you go deep down, it is perfectly peaceful. The fundamental quality of existence is always peace.
Peace of mind is the “A” of life
Right now, most human beings think that having peace of mind is the highest goal in their life. Such people will only rest in peace. Even your dog sits peacefully if you give him enough food. Maybe he is not blissed out but at least he is peaceful. That state is considered as the highest by most human beings on this planet – including the so-called spiritual people. They say peace is the highest goal. Peace is not the highest goal. If you want to enjoy your dinner today, you must be peaceful. If you want to enjoy your family, your work, or your walk in the park, you have to be peaceful. Peace is the A of life, not the Z of life. It is the most fundamental thing. If you don’t have anything else, at least you must be peaceful.
When I was in Israel some time ago, I was taken to a restaurant where a dinner was arranged. There are different types of restaurants. Some restaurants are known for good food. Some are famous for their ambience. But some are famous for the conversation that happens there. In Tel Aviv, this was the restaurant which was supposed to have the most intellectual conversations.
People started coming in and one person said “Shalom” to me. I said “Namaste” and asked, “What does Shalom mean?” He replied, “This is the highest way of greeting. It means peace.” I said, “Why is peace the highest way of greeting?” For me, peace is not the highest way of greeting. Maybe if you are born in the Middle East, peace is the highest way of greeting because every day you see so much happening around you. If people are dying in your neighborhood, you will definitely think peace is the highest way of living. But if everything is peaceful around you, you are looking for some excitement.
To be peaceful is definitely not the ultimate goal because only if you are peaceful and joyful will your body and mind work at their best – and that is the basic parameter for your success and efficiency in the world. Your efficiency and your productivity is not dependent on your desire to do something, it is dependent on your capability. Your capability is impaired when you are in some state of unhappiness, frustration or depression. So, if you are interested in productivity, the first and foremost thing is to create a pleasant basis for yourself, that to be peaceful and joyful is not an issue for you. It does not depend on anything – this is how you are. Now, your body and mind will work at their best, and you can effortlessly create what you want to create.
Editor’s Note: Read Sadhguru’s insights into the basis of conflict, misconceptions about peace, and how each of us can help create a generation of peaceful human beings.