What is the Biggest Obstacle to Overcome When Seeking Peace?
I am the greatest obstacle to finding peace. I often get in my own way. While I’m off looking for peace out there somewhere, I lose sight of it. The Buddha once said: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” It is only our search for it that prevents us from finding it.
Most of us spend a lifetime trying to find peace. Especially in our Western society, we tend to seek gratification through the acquisition of things — bigger houses, nicer cars, and a larger portfolio, thinking that having those will fulfill us and offer us peace.
Allow me to make a distinction here. Being happy and being at peace are not necessarily interchangeable nor are they mutually exclusive. I’ll give you an example. In the midst of the storm in which I currently find myself, there are many moments of sadness, times of great unhappiness. But for the most part, I find myself consistently at peace. This is often a hard concept for many to comprehend. How can one be at peace yet not be happy? Conversely, there are many who are quite happy but not at all at peace.
The following parable offers a marvelous metaphor that can perhaps explain this better than I. There’s the story of a young boy who would wander off by himself into the forest. One day his father’s curiosity couldn’t be contained and he asked his young son what he does when he walks alone in the forest.
His son replied: “Daddy, I go into the forest to find God.”
The father pondered this for a moment and said: “My son, you don’t have to go into the forest to find God . . . he is the same everywhere.”
“He is the same everywhere,” explained the little boy, “but I’m not.”
The message is this story is that in order to find the peace of God, we must direct our search inwardly. From A Course in Miracles: “peace is an attribute within you; you cannot find it outside of you.” The doorway to peace always opens inward. It is the light that you will discover residing at the core of your being that you will use to illuminate the world outside of you.