I want a life of peace and hate stress and tension. So, I do everything to avoid tension and stress and yet they manage to find me and take away my peace. Sounds familiar? Well, here is what seems so obvious and simple to the point that it manages to escape our complex-loving brain:
You wouldn’t begin to dream of playing the most beautiful melody with a guitar without ever touching one or having access to one. Would you? How come we’re blind to this common sense when it comes to our ideal life? Tension is the instrument we need to play with, to be able to create the melody of a peaceful life. This is so simple; I can’t begin to imagine how and why we’re not all seeking tension to practice?! Well, luckily there is no need to seek; life is generous enough to throws us opportunities from left, right and middle.
In a guitar lesson, the teacher says “if you want to play a melody, this is how you hold the guitar”. Pay attention to how you’re holding it, are you relaxed or tense? Hold your fingers like this and voilà, before you know it you can hear yourself playing your first chord. Same with life – best instructor ever and, there’s no charge! – It hands you tension knowing you want to live a peaceful life and says “now, hold it, you can do it! How does the tension feel, what happens to your body/breath and mind when tension starts?”As you answer these questions, you begin to wonder if you can do the opposite to start peace (not stop tension, but start peace!) You’re in the process of finding an inner balance despite the tension when you realise, the session is over. You might leave the session, thinking you didn’t play that well this time and pretty sure the instructor is losing patience with you or you might feel you’ve cracked it now and won’t ever play badly again. In the first case, wrong! And in the second case? I’m afraid, wrong too!
You see, what we miss is that we’re practising and are already playing. A melody can be heard the first time we pick up the guitar although there’s an infinite depth to how soulful it can become with practice. As we become more competent, the instructor hands us more difficult pieces in order to mature our skill. It’s a never ending process. So next time tension comes your way, don’t run if you want peace. Grab it and play the ‘piece’! Hold it, look at it, see it for what it is, see ‘you’ as you hold it, connect to you, connect to it and see if a bit of peace can be felt underneath it all. Look for it within tension! Running away, shrinking away when it’s there is only an indication that ‘you’ have forgotten the link between peace and tension, between the guitar and the melody. Peace cannot escape you, you’re the one escaping what holds your peace!
When we find peace and ease during tension, all that we want to know about how to handle the situation that created tension in the first place will come to the surface and, we’ll just KNOW. Our job is to find peace in a place it can be noticed the most – within tension. Just in the same way that light can be found the easiest in darkness. The smallest sparkle of light can never go unnoticed in the darkest of places.