Peace beyond aches, pains and illness

How can one be in peace when one's body is racked with aches and pains or illness? For sure, it is very easy to verbalize or intellectualize about peace. But to actually move beyond the thinking to the beingness — peace — does not require a laborious disciplined method. Understand that other synonyms of peace are silence, stillness, unconditioned mind, wonder or a calm where there is total freedom from disturbance or agitation.

To say it is simple can be misunderstood. Friedrich Nietzsche's profound statement, "It is the small things that makes for the best happiness," hits the nail on the head. I do not see it as a huge stretch to substitute peace for happiness.

So, one of the simplest and most important functions of the body is breathing. I could not agree more with Eckhart Tolle when he says that watching your breathing a few times each day for a year is equivalent to attending many seminars and lectures. You begin to notice that after each inhalation and exhalation there is a brief pause or stillness or calm (peace). Listening to the waves at the coast, suddenly the roar of the waves stop and there is that brief silence. A great description that comes to mind is the title of one of Goldsmith's books, "Thunder of the Silence."

Many of us have pets, children or grandchildren that can be a gold mine of simple pointers to happiness or peace. Again, these brief pauses or gaps can become more frequent to the degree we become totally attentive or watchful. For example, our 2-year-old, very affectionate Muffin is perpetually on my lap purring and kneading as I watch my breaths. Even with the television on, and my 12-year-old granddaughter chatting with grandma; I slip effortlessly beyond the mind and chatting to a soothing peacefulness.

On our daily hikes, master guru Irish Terrier Chi is continually pointing to and demonstrating being the unconditioned mind (peace) in his incredible attentiveness.

Children and grandchildren are incredible pointers or signposts to peace and stillness if we but become open and look attentively at their intuitive, creative play. My grandchildren gallop, skip, hop, run in or out of the house. One with a stick and the other with different horses immersed in an ongoing running dialogue that can best be described by what Lao Tzu (The Tao) calls "wonder into wonder."

So, dear reader, you must be asking, "Well and good, but how do these simple pointers help one experience peace, freedom from these daily aches and pains or nagging symptoms of illness?" Whether it is your pets, children or grandchildren, these brief gaps, pauses of stillness, calmness and silence can become more frequent and transformative. How so? It is simple and does not involve thinking or analyzing the antics or behaviors of your pets, children or grandchildren. You need to make a relaxed habit of becoming very attentive. Eckhart Tolle is correct: "The quality of your future, short- and long-term will depend on the quality of each and every now moment." The simple watching of your breath as you observe your pets, children or grandchildren or with any activity or experience will create more and more of these gaps of silence, stillness or peace. Transformative, and maybe it could be called a miracle. Your aches and pains become less and gradually disappear. And, yes, even long-standing symptoms can magically disappear. These bodily symptoms are actually dissolutions of forms and even death can be a huge spiritual opening by one becoming more and more present.

Jim Hawes, a retired Medford school teacher has published "Ageless Child," Balboa Press, available for purchase through or Barnes and Nobles and is working on his second book, "Consciously Growing Older."

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