Inside all of us is the essence of who we are, although we bury it with superficial objects that keep us trapped in patterns and situations that are not always pleasant or enjoyable. Yet the greatest irony in life, is that we and we alone hold the key to our own peace and happiness.
Sometimes when life seems too much to bear, we have to remember what a great opportunity is being presented to us. Instead, we'll look at our life and create a mental list of all the things that we need to "fix" in order to find peace and happiness. "When I'm in shape... when my finances are straightened out.... When my stock goes back up.... When I find my soulmate.... When I... when I....., then I'll be peaceful". One excuse blends into another until the list is too long to even take the first step and peace seems a distant goal.
Today's Inspirational Luminary, Matt Kahn, is known as the "Buddha in blue jeans". Rather than fitting the image of someone in long robes, barefoot in a third world country, Matt can be found in downtown Seattle. But don't let the image confuse you, for he lives each moment of his life as a living meditation.
He's also the most peaceful person I know. His teachings about love, acceptance and peace have transformed thousands of lives. He encourages us to go deeper, to the core of who we are and be present with the reaction, not the resolution.
According to Matt, all of the changes going on in today's world are but a part of our transformation. Ironically, he believes that when the world seems to be falling apart around us, that's the easiest time for us to find peace. Let me repeat that, for it seems contrary to what we believe- When the world seems to be falling apart around us, that's the easiest time to find peace!
Peace is not an achievement or a goal; at the core, peace is what we are and who we are.
The changes we're experiencing in today's world are just distractions. When all else falls away, what remains is peace. Change is a constant part of life. Our feelings, thoughts, friends, bodies, time, location, goals and dreams- they all change.
What doesn't change? The space deep within us always remains the same. There, in the stillness we can connect to the peace that we are. From that place, we can let life come and go as it will without needing to resist it or suffer from it. Instead, we can rest in the stillness and be unaffected by the changes of life.
The biggest question is how to tap into that sense of stillness. Just asking ourselves this question sets the mind on a contradictory mission to turn this into a concept, try to organize it and figure out how to be peaceful.
Matt believes it helps to realize that emotional reactions are just growing pains. Our emotions are here for a very good reason and act as a warning system to us. When we experience emotional reactions, that's our body's way of acting as a traffic signal and screaming, "Stop! Red light!". Instead of plowing through the problem, be still. When you next have an emotional discomfort or pain, stop what you're doing and just be still with the feeling.
Resist the urge to try to fix it. Instead, just notice what you're feeling and accept what is. Feel it. Be with it- without fixing anything. Let go of what you think it means and just be with the feeling, for feeling transfers into suffering only when we give it meaning. Just recognize it and feel it. It's here to remind us that this is a time that we need stillness the most.
By being still, the painful situation reveals its impermanent nature. This too shall pass. And interestingly enough, I've found that he's right- when I let go of what I feel about the feeling, it disappears.
According to Matt, the most important time to meditate is when we have an emotional reaction instead of when we feel happy and peaceful already. By observing our inner red light and taking the time to be still when it flashes, we can learn to live without conflict. In stopping to be still, we step out of our reality and allow our consciousness to transform.
"What I know to be true is no matter how turbulent the rollercoaster of life seems to be, or however many times I swing from one emotional high, to any emotional low, this life is a precious gift of experience I honor and treasure - no matter what form it appears to take", says Matt.
And I have to agree with him. No matter the level of craziness, life is still a beautiful gift for all of us to embrace and enjoy. Learning to add peace into our lives will only enrich a very beautiful experience.