3 November, 2011
Inner peace is what happens when you stop thinking and focus on noticing what is happening now. How do you notice now? By using your senses and allowing yourself to respond to what you sense now. Thinking includes judging, evaluating, wondering what other people think.
Inner peace is the absence of those thoughts. Or it happens when you are not focusing on them.
In the same way we can tune out and ignore what is happening around ourselves, we can also let go of the thoughts that are happening inside of ourselves.
In kung fu panda 2 Shen tries to defeat a prophecy by destroying a village of panda's. In so doing he starts down the path that makes the prophecy real. The same thing happened in Kung Fu Panda 1 when master ShiFu sends Crane to the prison to tell the guards to make sure that Tai Lung stays locked up. He sets of the process that brings Tai Lung back to the temple where he was raised.
That which we fear, especially if we focus on it, we make real.
Even though Shen is bad, his attempts to defeat the prophecy have a positive side effect. Po learns inner peace, experiences it for himself and in a relatively short period of time. It's as if Shen being bad enable Po to find his own goodness, his own higher self.
I think that is something that can be applied to real life. The bad things that happen to us aren't necessarily bad, not if you take a broad view of things (My life is a movie with a happy ending.) Instead they are a chance to become better versions of ourselves. We become better, the best versions of ourselves possible. And in the process we create a story and we experience it. And if things go well we can revisit that story from time to time or make a movie out of it to entertain friends and children.
In chinese the word for cautious is made up of two characters. The first is the character for little and the second is that for heart. Little heart. I'm not suggesting here that you shouldn't not be cautious. There are times when caution is highly recommended. But it also shouldn't fill our lives. (and I'm writing to myself when I write this.) There are times when we should step into our fear. Ignore the thoughts that fill our heads and instead immerse ourselves in now. Then we can grow, then we can become the best versions of ourselves possible and even better then we can truly experience what life has to offer with a big and open heart.
Death, destruction, the end of the earth may await. But joy, wonder, a rich life are there also.
I think the most relevant quote if from a John Cusack movie from long ago (Better of Dead). Once in a while you just gotta say "what the fuck." And when you take that step, do it with your eyes and your senses wide open.