Mind over Matter?
The most important thing that I can do is to cause you to reflect, contemplate what you have been given, and make you think about the possibility of having peace in your life.
In some ways, you are very much like me. As human beings, we have a need. It is not a need created by society or by religion. It is a fundamental need to be fulfilled, to be in peace. It is easy to toss around the word “peace.” But what is peace? Is it just hearing wind chimes? No traffic? No airplanes or trains buzzing by? To some people, that’s exactly what peace means. And it’s sad that external noise pollution becomes so irritating that when we find ourselves in the absence of it, we call it “peace.”
Or is peace a feeling? An undeniable feeling not born of thought. Everything that comes to us is born of thought. We get good news, “Things are going my way.” We get bad news, “Why is this happening to me?” It doesn’t take much for us to get unsettled. It happens when we’re in traffic and somebody honks their horn. Even if they are honking at somebody else, we get irritated, “How dare you honk at me.”
Your son or daughter tells you, “I failed,” and you get upset. So is peace simply not being upset? It’s sad but true that some people think when you don’t get upset you must be in peace. Well, there are people who are in a vegetative state, and they don’t get upset over anything. So, what is peace?
Something that is not born of thought, but felt. Something that resides in the ocean of answers, not in the ocean of questions. We have learned to question everything, but we have not yet learned how to accept the answer. Your life. Your being. What does it mean to be here, to be alive?
People read books. I’m not against books. One wall of my office is just filled with books. But what am I looking to the books for? Can they really give me that answer? Can a book really satisfy my hunger? There are beautiful books of water scenes. Can that satisfy my thirst?
You cannot just say, “I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry.” The other day, I got up early, had a small breakfast, and went to speak. And my stomach was growling. I was thinking, “You’re not hungry, you’re not hungry…” but it didn’t quit. You can say, “Oh, it’s mind over matter.” But not for the basics, not for those things that really matter.
One time, my father visited a place where there were a lot of holy men. One of the men was standing on one leg praying to God. There was a sign saying he’d been standing on one leg for so many weeks and hadn’t spoken a word. My father went right up to him and said, “Oh God, why did you give him a second leg? He doesn’t use it. And why’d you give him a mouth? He doesn’t use that, either.” This man got so upset he said, “How dare you say this!” And the second leg came down.
So, what is peace? I can’t tell you what it is. I have felt peace, and I can feel it every day, but I can’t tell you what it feels like. Just like I can’t tell you what sugar really tastes like. If you want to know what I am tasting, you need to taste it, too. Then and only then will you understand what I am talking about.
This life is a gift. I want to understand it as clearly as possible before I lose the ability to understand it. I want to know what this miracle is. A miracle requires an eye to behold it—a person who truly understands what a miracle is. The most amazing miracle is the coming and going of this breath. Out of nowhere it comes, and to nowhere it goes. From this breath comes the gift of life. And life makes all the other miracles possible: You can be. You can admire. You can be thankful that you exist. You can feel and give kindness.
To know in life that all is well. We only think of this in times of trouble. Do you know that you’re fine? You always were and always will be. We live in a world of fear. But there is something within you that you should not be afraid of, and it is the ability to enjoy this life, to appreciate this life.