“Inner peace is impossible without patience. Wisdom requires patience. Spiritual growth implies the mastery of patience. Patience allows the unfolding of destiny to proceed at its own unhurried pace.” – Brian Weiss
The above quote reveals a secret I found unlocked and practised by many in Eastern cultures. A secret so simple and yet so profound that it can impact the lives of many.
On a recent journey to Vietnam and Cambodia I was overwhelmed by the peace and open joy the faces of many locals expressed and exuded as I came into contact with them. Despite the often oppressive surrounds of poverty, heat, the smell of decay and noise of crowded towns, I found most of them to have an inner peace and tranquility so many of us with more material wealth struggle to attain.
It appears that there is crisis in the western world, largely brought on by social trends that distract and prevent us from doing the things that keep us healthy, centred and connected with our inner selves and our place in the world. Somehow it seems capitalism has created a rat race in which many of us get stuck. Working hours for dollars, paying off large debts and then worrying how we will pay for those bills and debts, many are walking around with the burden anxiety, the wish to lose weight or spend more time with our families, is it any wonder that there has been a rise in the purchase of botox treatments for furrowed brows. We feel discouraged, distracted and entangled and we don’t know how to escape the oppressive spiral.
In contrast to this, the less regulated, freer, more communal people I met on my travels spent much less time worrying about the future and regretting the past and instead seemed far more in touch with the present moment. A stark example of this was their approach to the atrocities of wars and their welcoming former enemies with open arms noting that the past is the past and instead celebrating and living for the joy of the moment.
It seems that while we’ve been eating our insides out worrying about the then and the when, they’ve found the secret in the now.
What I experienced spending time in the homes and towns of these peaceful, smiling people was that when the restless activity of your mind slows down, you start to get a glimpse of the taste of inner peace.
Spend a moment and reflect on your own life. Why not take a leaf from their smiling life and end any struggles you may have with regret, worry or fear. After all as Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hahn says: “Each minute we spend worrying about the future and regretting the past is a minute we miss in our appointment with life.”
I loved every minute of being absorbed in their tradition and culture, experiencing the richness of the colours and sounds and being present in the moment, without judgement or expectation. In what ways will you engage more fully in life and see each moment as an opportunity for change and improvement and a chance to experience peace and joy?