Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Secret of Inner Peace

Here is a story from the life of Buddha that highlights the importance of a calm mind in achieving inner peace and harmony:

Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers.

While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake.

They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, “I am feeling thirsty.  Please 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 consumed.  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.”

When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside.

Your inner peace spreads around you and in the environment and helps you make better decisions.

Conversely, you could be in very peaceful surroundings, where everything is wonderfully beautiful but if your inside is disturbed, then that beauty is of no use to you.

For you to be peaceful, peace has to be generated from deep within you - from your being to the mind, and from the mind to the environment.

For example, even if you have the best music system, you cannot truly enjoy music if you are mentally disturbed.

In fact, it is more important to be in a sublime state of inner peace and to be in harmony with oneself in order to relish the finer things of life.


Paul Swendson said...

Stillness may be an increasingly lost art. Here in the United States, part of the reason that so many of us are often stressed out is that we rarely spend time doing nothing. There is always some type of diversion or distraction.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

You're right - the key to stillness is DOING NOTHING.
Wel, I DO NOTHING quite often.