Peace can come in many forms; silence, contentedness, emptiness, void, happiness, contemplation….. The opposite can be found in these places also.
I have found peace in silence and contemplation. In today’s society, it is more important than ever to get some alone time, time to sit with or without your thoughts. Sitting with your thoughts will help you realise the issues that bother you.
Sitting without your thoughts, to me means quieting the mind. Sitting in silence and noticing when that open space closes in with thought.
Contentedness can be found in many different places.
It can come through effort, and this effort shines through in the quality of our work, the restraint or good work in our actions. When we have worked hard to arrive at a result we are satisfied with, it brings us peace. We are content in knowing that we pushed hard and did our best.
What is the void and is there really such a thing? Literally speaking, the void exists in the dark vacuum of outer space, though even that is apparently filled with dark matter, but is there a void space for us to find? Is an empty void true peace or is it just devoid of everything?
For me, void space can be found in the mind, when we bring ourselves to a complete halt. That space doesn’t last long if we manage to find it, it quickly fills, like stars, with words, thoughts, feelings, intentions, plans…but without creating this space in the first place, would this debris, so to speak have made its way to the surface or would it linger at the bottom, slowly filling up.
If we keep finding the void space and it fills as quickly as we found it, is there any point in looking for it in the first place? Look and see for yourself. Find the void inside your mind and see how you feel when you touch it – if you touch it. Even if you don’t touch it, see how you feel during the journey as you search for it.
I also like the idea of void space between words. I live at both ends of the spectrum on this one, there is no in-between for me. I am either a great listener who will let people talk as I prod them in the gaps of silence with a question to open up more or I am a pest who can barely hold my self from interrupting someone at every sentence.
There is, for me something beautiful about the space between the words, both the literal white space on this page as you read and the silence that holds a conversation together. Have you ever listened to the silence that lingers when someone has told you something amazing, or the profundity that hangs when you have received grave news? Is there not something beautiful in both.
There is also the power of unsaid words to consider, not all looks, actions, touches or gestures need to be accompanied by words. They can make their own way to the listener without sound.
There is great peace in this silence. It is something we can practise, give ourselves time, and with that time the gift of silence allows us to be at peace for a little bit.
Peace can also be found in the Earth, there is nowhere more profound than the top of a mountain, the scale is vast combined with a great, wide silence than can only be found above the clouds. I have looked down from many great mountains and been humbled, delirious and oxygen-deprived with the effort to get there, to stand literally looking down at the clouds, thousands of meters into the sky.
Think of the stillness of night time, wherever your favourite memory of the night, dark and black, I bet it was silent. I bet there was peace at that moment. You were content and did not need anything else.
Think of the forest. It never stops moving but there is beauty and peace in abundance. The silence and emptiness, almost like the space between words, is the space between the rays of light as it is separated by the branches in the canopy. It is almost like the trees listen to your problems and help you offload them.
We can look for peace outside of ourselves, like when we search for the void space inside of our minds we can look to separate ourselves and see ourselves from the outside in. I am not talking about out-of-body experiences, but just observing where we are in the moment from an external point of view. The ability to step aside and objectively see where we are at only comes with hard work and practise but allows us the ability to not be slaves to our reactions and not bend to the will of our immediate wishes.
It allows us to chisel away at the exterior and work on ourselves to carve out the true version of ourselves hidden below.
“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
I hope that we can all find some peace and really take the time to be still and just be over this holiday season.