When it comes to happiness, there’s a big difference between “peace of mind” and “piece of mind.” I speak of “piece of mind” as in, “I’m gonna give her a piece of my mind.” Ever heard anyone say that? Maybe you’ve said it yourself? Maybe it’s a regular thing in your life. If you really want to find happiness, you need to stop giving people a “piece of your mind” and start searching for “peace of mind.” Perhaps this story from Buddha can help…
Peace of Mind
Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, ”I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.”
The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!” So he came back and told Buddha, ”The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.”
After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.
Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, ”See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be … and the mud settled down on its own and you got clear water… Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.”
What did Buddha emphasize here? He said, ”It is effortless.” Having ‘peace of mind’ is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment, such that people around start feeling that peace and grace.
Finding peace of mind is not about taking action and putting forth tons of effort. It’s about slowing down, being patient, and letting things settle. I know when I feel stress building up in me, like when in a hurry to get somewhere and traffic is slow, I tend to stop for a second and simply slow down. More specifically, I stop, focus on a spot in the center of my chest, and do nothing. I just stop. It is pretty much effortless. To find that moment of peace, we just need to stop and wait.
It can be very difficult to be patient, stop, and wait, especially when life is coming at you at 100 miles per hour. But if you really want to find peace of mind, be patient, let things settle down, give it some time. Let the peace that is within you bubble to the surface. It’s pretty effortless, but you have to be disciplined and aware.
Make it a habit to slow down and let things settle before you take action.