Seek Joy. Seek Peace.
Inspired by the story of Buddha.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until me make peace with ourselves”
One of my favorite stories began twenty-five thousand years ago. There are many versions of this story, but to me this is the most beautiful: A beautiful Indian Queen dreamt of her unborn child. In her dream, a white Elephant offered her a pink lotus flower — with love — she accepted the gift. And with love — the white Elephant became one with the beautiful Queen. From the Queen’s dream, the Indian Gurus predicted the Queen would have a son and he would grow to be a man of great wisdom — of great significance to many kingdoms.
Nine months after the Queen’s dream she gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama — known to the world as Buddha, The Enlightened One.
The King was saddened by the loss of his beautiful Queen, (dying shortly after giving birth to Prince Siddhartha). The King compensated his dispirit and his son’s loss by fulfilling his every desire. Siddhartha ate excellent food and wore beautiful clothes — he wanted for nothing. He had no pain and no worries. It was as if he held a magic wand and poof! His wishes instantly appeared.
Shortly after his 29th birthday, Siddhartha followed a strong urge to explore the country outside the walls of his secure domain. The unaware Prince was shocked by his experience; he saw misery and pain — elements of the human condition that were kept from him in his perfect, protected Palace.
Siddhartha continued to secretly visit the outside world: On one such trip he met a Sage, and it was that fated meeting when he began to question why people had to suffer.
At twenty-nine years old, in grieve and inner-torment, Siddhartha left his wife, son, and father — he abandoned his life of luxury — and stealthily rode off into the night in quest of answers.
Siddhartha lived as a pauper. He possessed not a penny — he had no place to live — even begged for food. But his spiritual hunger was far greater than his indigent circumstances. Years passed as Siddhartha went from one Guru to another, meditation to meditation, but he found no peace, only greater intensified suffering. Siddhartha was near death from starvation when he rested alongside a river shaded by a Bodhi Tree.
In his fragile state, Siddhartha recalled a childhood memory when he sat with his Father alongside another river bank, under a Rose Apple Tree. He remembered the profound connection he had with nature that day. He remembered the joy and peace.
For days, Siddhartha remained under the Bodhi Tree. He sat and meditated until he realized the answers to the questions he was seeking came from within — this is when he transformed to Buddha, The Enlightened One.
Recently, I also discovered peace in a strange, unexpected way. No, I did not denounce all my worldly goods and go sit under a tree (as did Siddhartha), but I did plop myself on my couch with a box of kleenex and cold medicine for several days.
At first, I felt the pressure. The anxiety of tech-disconnect, writing-disconnect, and household-chores-disconnect. I didn’t have the oomph to do anything but be a couch potato and do one of my favorite things…watch classic movies. Comedies, drama, noir, documentaries, black and white film, color film — I couldn’t get enough! The couch was my command-post and movies were my magical escape. After the third day, I realized how wonderful it felt to let go…to be gratis from worry. The strongest attachment I had was with a box of kleenex and my love of film. It was glorious! Peace consumed me in a delightful way — I was living (as Eckhart Tolle says) in The Now. The peaceful feeling reminded me of joyful moments from childhood: Eating a bowl of summer cherries under an old Oak tree. And hanging upside down on the monkey bars, my curls free to dance with the breeze.
I can only guess my head-cold-epiphany and childhood memories were a taste of what Buddha felt when he sat under the Bodhi Tree and recalled a pleasant moment from childhood.
Thank goodness he did sit under the Bodhi Tree. And thank goodness he transformed from a seeker to an Enlightened One. Buddha’s path of struggles and successes helped lead the way for many of us to achieve our own personal enlightenment…to achieve our own peace.
Let’s be real; our lives today are fast-paced and stressful. We are consumed by the chaotic happenings often out of our control. Perhaps this is why it’s so important to connect with our inner-guidance. To find moments that make our heart smile. To find moments when the frustration and responsibilities of our crazy world…cease.
Questions: Should we follow the chaotic happenings outside our being? Or is Buddha’s belief that turning inward for peace the best choice? Will seeking answers from within offer unearthly knowledge and joy beyond our expectations?
For me, the word Buddha is a powerful reminder to seek truth from within — to seek joy — to seek peace. His spirit encourages everyone to sit under a lovely tree, meditate, and be one with nature. To watch movies. To laugh. To eat bowls of cherries. And maybe, with great care, hang upside down on the monkey bars.
In Love, and Peace
© Beach T. Weston 2017
Like what you read? You’re invited to Beachify your inbox
Originally published at www.beachweston.com on July 20, 2017.