Peace, Joy and Love are beautiful aspirations at this time of the year, and usually thought of as particularly Christian hopes or practices. But rather than aspire, better to find that you yourself are the source of peace and joy and love.
Here at Buln Buln on Christmas morning is a very peaceful place to be. Lovely. But peace can’t come from a place outside us; Joy really is not something “to aspire to”; Love is not what we do by behaving nicely to others.
Reflecting on these qualities at one time of the year is better than never noticing at all. But what we really have to understand is that peace and joy and love are inalienable qualities of human existence, and we’ve only forgotten them because we have made ourselves dependent on other things or other people to bring them to us. We have become so habituated to it that most of us cannot even imagine that oneself might truly be the source of peace and joy and love.
What about peace?
Of course it is easier to be peaceful when there are no frustrations and when we are in holiday mode instead of pushed by a busy work schedule. Yet if the bedrock of our self-experience is not peace, we will be more like a ping-pong ball, flying off in any direction from the smallest tap of anything external. Peace may be better expressed as peace in oneself. So the work of the Christmas season might be to find out what it is in your own self that brings messiness or agitation… and look it in the face, clearly and calmly, because it has not ever come from an external person or situation.Your peace has only ever been disturbed by your interpretations of what you perceive, and reactions to it. Look at that in yourself until there is acceptance of self and others. And then, is it not easier to relate to others peacefully, so bringing peace to the earth?
What about joy?
Children, trees and presents, are they the source of joy? Why, certainly not! If there is not joy in your heart, these externals will leave acid in your heart and your speaking. Is it so hard to see that you yourself are the source of joy? Try this: allow even for a millisecond that you are joyful and contented. And in that brief moment, see if there is not also a sneaking feeling of hope and trust and optimism. Oops, does it close over too fast? Then try another brief moment of allowing, and another, and another… until you get the full experience. An inch of allowing, and before you know it, mile upon mile of joy that also affects those who are still looking for an external source. But show them how to be joy… don’t hold them only to yours.
What about love?
Gosh, what a tangled web is love, full of misunderstanding and tragedies. Here are a few misunderstandings of what love is:
I’ll love you if you’ll love me. Noooo – that’s a bargain, not love
I love you because you love me. Noooo – that’s an ego-grab
I love you because you are a nice person. Noooo – do you think love is about your judgments of other people?
I love you because I need you. Nooo – that is narcissism, and it really means, “Love me because I need you.
Love is the fabric of your being. Does that sound poetic? What if it is so? You are made of love, and you shortchange yourself by shrinking your being to a few ego-grabs – a bit of peace here and there, a moment or two of joy, a snatch of love or affection.
Well, whether you like that or not, it remains that you are indeed the source of love in your life. If that is not so, you will have to roam ceaselessly trying to get enough of it from somewhere else. That is the narcissistic approach to love… getting as much as you possibly can from others, in constant need of ego-stroking. Narcissists in fact are not able to love themselves, so needy are they for the love and admiration of others.
Discovering that oneself is the source of love transforms us. The needy ego is dissolved. The hurt from bumping into the limitations of others heals both self and possibly those others.
And as with joy and peace, it starts with a moment or two of allowing.
So my Christmas wish to you is not that peace and joy and love should come to you and all of goodwill, but rather that you will grasp the initiative: you are the source of peace and joy and love – allow it, moment by moment.