Perhaps in the past our tendency has been to have a concept of ourselves as a peaceful person and then discipline ourselves to try to look or act as we thought a peaceful person should. When we have not lived up to our own concepts or expectations we fight with ourselves. But I am not addressing concepts here or any training of the personality. The possibility I am suggesting is deeper than any concept and can not be learned or imitated. The possibility for each of us is to realize that peace is already alive and present in this moment. When I use the word "peace" I am referring to a quality of intelligent conscious love. When you realize yourself as intelligent conscious love, peace will be a by-product of the direct realization of yourself.
To merely believe that you are intelligent conscious love, or to understand it, misses the point. Believing or understanding requires a concept or thought of yourself. In the noise of thinking this concept you may miss the mind-blowing, direct experience of realization. This direct experience is essential in order for peace to establish its presence in your heart. To realize your true Self directly, with no thought or concept, is to realize what is already free and at peace. Each one of us on Mother Earth, here and now, can realize this directly; each one of us, one by one in our own hearts, can realize the absolute truth. Then peace is actually a by-product of that direct realization.
Why haven't we, as a species, realized this before? Why are we living in the hell-world of our self-created violence towards each other? Why haven't we outgrown the violence and greed by now? In biological time, we are actually moving ahead quite rapidly to the moment of this Self-realization being available to everyone. Let us look at how far we have come.
Not so long ago we lived in small groups, in what one could call a pre-ego stage. The group, whether family, clan or tribe, was the survival unit. For the unit to survive, individuality was dysfunctional. The hive was all, and individuality meant nothing. It was your function rather than your person that mattered. Perhaps you were a farmer, or a gatherer or the virgin that got sacrificed. It was not Mary or Sue but "the virgin" that was sacrificed. Who you were, was your role in the functioning of the group.
In the West, only a few hundred years ago, just prior to our American Revolution, we, as consciousness, evolved to and passed through, the Age of Enlightenment. The focus now is on the life of the individual; it is about the person. We all have our rights and our capacity to be individuals. This is a huge leap in human consciousness. This individuation and celebration of the self soon gives rise to the inflation of ego. "Now I am somebody and I want something."
But the joke of individuation is embedded in our founding Declaration of Independence, which says we have "the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Not happiness. . . . but the pursuit of happiness. And of course the great joke is that the more you pursue happiness, the more unhappy you become. This is realized when the pursuit of happiness fails to lead to true fulfillment. This failure of the ego to satisfy itself leads to alienation. It is the alienated ego that longs for realization.
Realizing the failure of the pursuit of happiness reflects an enormous shift in consciousness, a consciousness our founding fathers were not yet aware of. It did not really dawn in our awareness until the 1960s. The pursuit of happiness was in full swing and reached its peak in America in the 1950s. The American consumer dream crashed as a hollow shell for much of the generation of the sixties. For the most part the parents of the fifties never heard of realization, nor would they have cared about it if they had. They were mostly busy fulfilling a dream to see if it led to happiness. It didn't. And so consciousness evolved.
We started from the pre-ego condition of being a role, evolved to individuation or ego, and have come now to the possibility of the transcendence of ego. This possibility for transcendence of the personal arises from the realization that the personal pursuit of happiness does not lead to happiness. When you realize that it is earth shattering, it is mind blowing. Then you can stop and reflect, "So what does lead to happiness? What can my life really be about if it is not about the pursuit of happiness?"
In the pre-individuation stage life is about reproduction and keeping the next generation alive. You multiply, pass on your genes, keep the children alive with the protection of the group, and that is your function.When consciousness evolves to individuation there is a slightly different sense of self. "I'm not just a multiplier, I'm not just a breeder, I can actually create my own poetic or artistic expression of whatever it is that I am pursuing to make me happy." Breeding and survival of course are still running the show. All the family, group or society roles are still in place, but now there is an overlay of a personal story with a personal destiny. It is this sense of egoic self that eventually becomes alienated and disillusioned with life. Alienation and disillusionment can swing open the door to seeing what is beyond.
What is called for in our unique time is the sacrifice of the personal pursuit of happiness for something deeper, more profound and more fundamental that actually makes your life worthwhile. The result is true fulfillment and happiness that is not dependent on the pursuit of circumstances.
Now we are at the stage when what makes life worthwhile is waking up to the truth of who you are as a conscious immortal intelligent being. This is the revolutionary cutting edge of consciousness: realizing the truth of yourself, staying true to yourself, and finally, being yourself. Freely being yourself in the world.
Bringing true peace and freedom to the world starts with you as an individual. Your roles are still present, your personality is still present. Just as each of our three brains evolved above the one below it, and includes what came before, so too this evolution of consciousness includes what came before.
When you realize yourself as empty immortal consciousness, your heart and your realization serve the whole. Your realization serves all beings. It makes your life worthwhile. It gives meaning to life. This spark of consciousness then gets passed on from heart to heart, like a prairie fire. It lights in your heart and the blaze casts sparks that catch in other hearts, not by preaching or teaching, but simply by being yourself in silence. In this way the holy transmission of peace is passed on to all beings in the world, and each of us is a spark in this world play of the fire of love.
Otherwise, what is the meaning of our life? To have babies? For most people that is what it is. To have a successful career? To have lots of money? To have lots of experiences, spiritual or otherwise? To have lots of lovers or hikes or swims or sunsets? Who remembers the beautiful sunsets that our grandparents saw? Who remembers the great meals that our parents ate? What is it really that will make your life worthwhile? What is true fulfillment?
That is what we are here for. There cannot be peace without true fulfillment. As long as you are not fulfilled in yourself, there isn't peace. If there isn't peace in your heart, then there isn't peace in your relationships. True peace comes from true fulfillment. And true fulfillment comes from realizing the truth directly. This realization gives meaning to everything. It gives meaning to why we are alive, what it means to be a human; what it means to be a life form on planet Earth; what it means to be a part of the mystery of this divine comedy.
The simplest most direct way to realize the Truth, is to be still; to be silent; to stop thinking, for at least a moment. Give up all thoughts to find what is before thought, to find what is before biology. Thoughts are dependent on biology, but who you are is pre-biological. To find yourself you remove yourself from the identity as a body by stopping thinking. In the sweetness of silence, silence is realized to be always here, always available. Silence is here in noise, it is here in thoughts, it is here in confusion, it is here in anger, in sorrow, in life and in death. Always present. Then realize that silence is your own self.. You are always present as silence.
Each of us, through some divine grace, has the capacity to realize this. In realizing the truth of your being you naturally radiate peace and the world catches it one by one, heart by heart. We may not personally live to see the world lit up with a universal consciousness of love and freedom, but we will have played our part in this passion play. We can see the flame growing right now, as it spreads from heart to heart.
Eli Jaxon-Bear was born Elliot J. Zeldow in Brooklyn, New York, in 1947. His eighteen-year spiritual path started in 1971, when he was a federal fugitive during the Vietnam war. In 1978, Kalu Rinpoche appointed him the president of the first Kagyu dharma center in Marin County. In 1982, he was presented with a Zen Teaching Fan at ChoShoJi Zen Temple in Japan. After a search took him around the world and into many traditions and practices, his path and his search ended when he was pulled to India in 1990, where he met his final teacher, Sri H.W.L. Poonja.
Confirming Eli's realization, his teacher sent him back into the world to share his unique psychological insights into the nature of egoic suffering in support of self-realization. Eli infuses the teaching with his teacher's living transmission of silence. He presents a unique map of egoic identification as a vehicle for ruthless self-inquiry and final realization of true freedom. He dedicates his life to passing on the transmission of his teacher.
Eli currently meets people and teaches through the Leela Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to world peace and freedom through universal self-realization. www.leela.org He is the author of Sudden Awakening into Direct Realization, (New World Library) The Enneagram of Liberation: From Fixation to Freedom and he is the editor of Wake Up and Roar: Satsang with H.W.L. Poonja, (Sounds True).