I've been looking for peace.
For years, I thought peace was an environmental condition, like clear skies and quiet rooms, and I figured that living in a household with a husband and three rambunctious boys meant that peace was way beyond my reach. I found lots of other things: smashed Cheerios, dirty underwear, ABC gum, and other stuff in all kinds of dark, dusty places, but I never found one scrap of peace.
More recently, probably because I keep getting older, I've decided to look for inner peace. But it, too, is a slippery and elusive sort of beast. It disguises itself as dreams and ambitions and some form of spirituality, and I find myself running off in one direction or another, thinking I'm chasing peace...but then discovering the path I'm on has steered me off course from what I'm most in search of.
But then peace drops little hints along the way like ET and his Reese's pieces. Like reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love which was interminably long but started niggling at me anyway about smiling meditation. Or a nugget from a woman in one of my workshops who shared a quote from Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor's book Traveling with Pomegranites, about how the soul represents "the deepest impulse [of the psyche] to create wholeness." And a comment from a woman I interviewed today, in which she distinguished between peace of mind and peace of heart.
I know all sorts of people who are looking for wholeness and peace through diet and exercise and religion and acupuncture. And some who look for peace in their big paychecks and houses. Some find peace when their kids make the honor roll or win college scholarships. Some define peace as resting at the end of the day with a clean house and an extra gallon of milk in the fridge. Some think peace means having a loving family and friends, or giving back to the community. Some would say God's love is peace.
All that's good stuff, don't get me wrong. But something's still missing. None of those qualify as peace, at least for me. Peace, I've come to think, is that feeling on the inside, that feeling of absolute wholeness in the mind, and yes also in the heart, but maybe most of all in the gut, where one no longer needs to understand anything but at the same time understands everything, at least everything that matters, which as it turns out is quite simple. So simple that kids get it, and dogs get it, but is usually too hard for us grownups to get. What matters, and therefore what opens us up to peace, is pure, unselfishish love.
That is peace. Love. Love is peace.