This is a really beautiful piece written by Craig Metcalf (one of Greenville’s yoga teachers and a kind friend). I can see how much he has grown since we first met six years ago. My favorite line here is in the last paragraph. There is so much behind these words. We hope it inspires you to look within and find that sense of inner knowing.
What exactly is peaceful action? At first glance, it may seem like a pretty straight forward concept; action coupled with a peaceful intention. When we think of action, we tend to think of an outward phenomenon; what we do on an external level of existence. This would include our actions of body and speech. These are, no doubt, important to consider. After all, what we do and say has a tremendous effect on how our lives and the lives of those around us unfold. But there is a third basis for action which is very subtle and not easy to understand, yet it is the most important to consider; the action of mind. From the mind is where our actions of body and speech arise. Mind is the maker and master of all our outward expression. Be it peaceful or un-peaceful, every single undertaking is first generated in the mind and then makes it way out of the mind into the world at large either through wholesome or unwholesome intentions. Therefore, we can say that peaceful action begins on the internal, mental, and deep spiritual levels.
Training the mind in universal loving-kindness and compassion is an excellent spiritual goal and definitely worthy of our attention. But no matter how lofty our ideals, we will not find a deep sense of universal peace without first learning to truly love our selves. This is not love of one’s self in any narcissistic or egotistical sense. This is not the type of “love” which has us going about feeling better at the expense of those around us. This is a Spiritual Love that many of us have never known. We have not known this type of love simply because we do not understand our selves; we don’t understand how our mind functions and why it functions the way it does. In short, we don’t know our full potential as human beings. Not knowing the mind, we suffer from mental delusions about whom and what we are. The great news is that we can begin now to know our selves. When we begin this journey of peeling away the layers of fear, anger, worry, and confusion which have plagued us for so long we find untold riches; a spiritual wealth that, once discovered, will allow us to soar to great heights in every area of our life. Knowing ourselves on a much deeper level will naturally give rise to greater inner peace and, thereby, our external actions of body and speech will naturally flow forth with increased grace and dignity. We will find it effortless to be nice! When we know ourselves, from the inside out, we will more intimately know everyone and everything. We will see and feel our deeper connection to the world around us and will naturally shed our feelings of being separate and disconnected. With the arising of this re-connection to the whole arises simultaneously a greater love and caring for all those we encounter.
This is not an outer seeking. This is an inner knowing. I, for one, am so terribly tired of seeking; seeking perfection, seeking approval, seeking to be liked and loved and accepted and cared for. These will never truly manifest until we learn to see these things from deep within our own being. An old saying goes something like this: “If that which you seek you do not find within, you will never find it without.” And this pretty much sums up the practice of inner exploration. It’s a beautiful process and deeply awakening.
from Craig: My journey on this path still has many miles ahead. With each step, life becomes more peaceful. I encourage each of you to join me on this journey of non-seeking. We will be discussing these and other topics at my upcoming workshop at North Main Yoga on Saturday, March 9th, 2-3:30pm. Everyone is welcome. Donations will be accepted for Safe Harbor, a local women’s shelter.