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A banner made for the Peace Fence in 2007 that is now on a tile in front of the Ashland library.

Inner Peace: You can find the peace that is here now

In these times of political and social divisiveness, we want peace. We want political peace, we want social peace, we want personal peace.

When we recognize, at the core of all of that, that we want spiritual peace, we might bring our restlessness to become avid seekers, striving to quiet our unruly thoughts, desires and passions. Always striving, always seeking for something that is idealized in the future, never here and now. Or maybe here and now, but only now and then.

In the midst of all the turmoil, what if we get really radical and cut through to the root of it all, in the here and now? In the depth of that, we will discover that Presence that is always here, always now. And that becomes the ground of Peace, the Ground of any cause we might promote. And it is personal, it must be personal, if we are to be the change we want to see in the world. And yet it is more than personal, for in it we discover a universal Ground that sustains us all.

So when you have a moment, go inside and experience what is here and now. Completely accepting it as it is, the resistance falls aside. Even the resistance can be accepted, as simply what is in the moment. Whatever the content is, when you deepen into it, you uncover a deeper Peace that doesn’t come and go, that is not even in time. Your connection to that, your entrance into that Presence, is through being simply present to what is here now.

Yes, enter into the sensing that is already happening, already present, in what you ordinarily frame as your mortal, imperfect, fleshy body. Deepen into that sensing, into the breathing, until you recognize that you are sensing and breathing into the Presence — even that the Presence is what is sensing and breathing, and always was.

Although the experience of every moment passes, when you glimpse that Presence, you recognize that it was always present, as if in the background. When it becomes foreground for you, you recognize that it permeates all of your experience, seamlessly, without separation. You recognize that you have always known this. You recognize it as your deep nature, that your own being is not, has never been, and cannot ever be, separate from that.

You can recognize this non-separation as the very root of Peace, and you can recognize that the core sense of separation, disconnection, alienation, from Being, from Presence, is the primary root of the lack of peace. And that it was never really true, just a misperception.

Is there any foundation more fundamental? Is there anything you can trust more completely, beyond beliefs, platforms, and promises? Is there any cause to promote that is more positive than this Presence and its Peace Here Now? In yourself, and with others. Not as a political party or campaign slogan, but as a way of being, as how you are.

Ed Hirsch conducts free, drop-in weekly groups in The Practice of Presence at a local Ashland residence. Contact him at presenceofone@yahoo.com for more information.

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