Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 24: The Peace within You > Chapter 2: Be Calm
After the brief hour of peace come the long months of storm: its purity is then contested by opposition, its light by the world's darkness. It is through the varying episodes of experience that he must struggle back to the peace and purity which he saw in vision and felt in meditation. True, he had found them even then but they were still only latent and undeveloped.
Settled serenity which can be unaffected by the disorder of our times seems theoretically unfindable. Yet some have found it!
We cannot hope to achieve such calm in a day. It must be worked for, the obstacles to it must be struggled through, before it can be won.
"Time must elapse between sowing and harvest--nay, even in the growth of such wild grass as the holy Kusa and the like, reflection on the SELF ripens into self-realization by degrees, and in the course of time."--Panchadasi
Is the search for inner peace a hopeless one? There is enough testimony to prove that it is not.
Sceptics refuse to believe that passion is unable to intrude itself into that peace-filled mind.
Once this sublime equilibrium of mind is reached, there is then the further need and practice of not letting it get upset.
Peace in the hearts of men, with peace in their relations with one another: is this an idle dream?
We do not have to fall asleep to experience this truth. Everyone has been momentarily flung into the peace-fraught vacuum state by the unexpected removal of a great fear or by the sudden satisfaction of a great desire. But very quickly other thoughts, desires, or fears rush in to fill the vacuum and the glimpse of peace is lost.
It is in the very nature of things that the good should ultimately triumph over the bad, that the true should dissolve the false. This understanding should bring him patience.
He will find that whereas there is a quick road to agitation, there is no quick road to serenity.
How can this peace become continuous and uninterrupted? That is a question often asked by many who have felt and lost it.
It is useless to expect that those who are insufficiently receptive by temperament and development will be able to feel this benedictory calmness.
Many years are needed for a man to gain this composure of self, this sureness of purpose.
Is it possible to attain such inner calm that negative thoughts and the baser emotions swirl against it in vain?
It is easy to attain a kind of artificial serenity while seated in the comfort of an armchair and reading a philosophic book, but to keep calm in the midst of provocation or peril is the test. So the would-be philosopher will try to keep an even mind at all times, to chill its passions and control its agitations.
The goal of tranquillity
A peaceful life does not merely mean the absence of troubles and strifes. It means this uncommon thing, but it also means something entirely different: a peace-filled mind.
I have written and spoken that this inner work should start with cultivating a calm, peaceable temperament. The Brahmin boy in India who is initiated into his caste and given the symbolic sacred thread to wear at the age of thirteen is also given this same instruction: "Be calm!" And five hundred years before Jesus started his public work, Chou Tun-Yi in China earned a personal compliment from Confucius, who observed, "He is a man of great peaceableness." Two hundred years later, Mencius was practising and gaining the Unperturbed Mind; later, as an honoured Confucian moralist, he was teaching others, in his turn, the same method.
He should set up as his goal this mood of sustained inward tranquillity and train himself to allow no wave of emotion or upsurge of passion to dispel it.
The longing for peace may be kept inside a man for many years, repressed and ignored, but in the end it has to come out.
Seek the centre of inner gravity and try to stay in it. Try to avoid being pulled out of it by emotions and passions, whether your own or other people's, by anxieties and troubles--in short, by the ego.
He who lives in the higher levels of his being comes into a beautiful serenity as part of his reward. This is a pointer to us. By consciously cultivating such a serenity, we prepare the way for entry into such a level.
In the end and after many an experience, he will come to see that peace must take the place of passion, truth must banish falsity, and reality must come through the illusion which covers it.
To attain knowledge of Brahman, the mind must be held in the prerequisite state of being calm, tranquil, and in equilibrium--not carried away by attachment to anything. After this is established, and only then, can you begin enquiry with any hope of success. Unless the mind is balanced you cannot get Brahman.
The importance of cultivating calmness is well known in India. The Brahmin youth at puberty when initiated into his caste status and given the sacred thread is taught to make the first sought-for attribute calmness. Why is this? Because it helps a man to achieve self-control and because without it he becomes filled with tensions. These tensions come from the ego and prevent him from responding to intuitive feelings and intuitive ideas. For the student of philosophy it is of course absolutely essential to achieve a composed and relaxed inner habit.
It is not to be a forced calm, imposed from without and liable to break down, not a suppression of feelings on the surface while letting them rage within.
The Psalmist's advice, "Be still, and know that I am God," may be taken on one level--the mystical--as a reference to the ultimate state achieved intermittently in contemplation; but on another level--the philosophical--the reference can be carried even deeper. For here it is a continuous state achieved not by quietening the mind for half an hour but by emptying the mind for all time of agitation and illusion. Towards this end the cultivation of calmness amid all circumstances makes a weighty contribution.
Half of Asia holds this faith, burns its sweet-scented incense before the firm conviction that the search for inner calm and emotional freedom is the highest duty of man.
Chinese wisdom verified Indian experience. "Perfect calm with gentleness makes Tao prosper," wrote Tze Ya Tze.
It may be possible to achieve only seldom, but it is worth trying for: let nothing shake your composure.
The quest of the deeper calm that is ordinarily experienced only occasionally by some people becomes important for him.
Hold on to serenity amid all circumstances until it becomes an abiding quality.
This is to wrap the mantle of peace around himself.
What is it that Lao Tzu says? "The disciplined man masters thoughts by stillness and emotions by calmness."
The Persian Sufi Attar's advice to the quester to "go thy way in tranquillity" amid all his fortunes and frustrations on this venture is very practical, and not only very sensible.
He sets up the ideal of meeting events, be they favourable or adverse, with equanimity.
He must practise an invariable calm, sheathe himself in its protective power.
He should learn to cultivate the feelings of peace whenever they are strongly present. He should give himself to them completely, putting aside everything else. For they will bear to him something hidden inside of them that is even still more valuable.
If at any time he feels the touch of Peace, he should stay where he is, forget all else, and surrender to it.
This inner emptiness, its equipoise, serenity, is neither deviated by passions nor pushed by extremes. Take Nagarjuna's mid-view and also the early Gautama's middle path.
Cultivate calmness; try to keep the balance of your mind from being upset.
If this kind of thought and life is followed, there comes by slow degrees a stable calmness throughout the whole being which nothing ever upsets.
These quiet moments may enter his life with greater frequency. If so, he ought to welcome them gratefully and respond to them wisely and sensitively.
The moments when a sudden stillness falls upon a man must be carefully tended, for they are as delicate as a tiny sprout of grass. Thus treated so hospitably and reverently, they will expand and lengthen and turn into a blessing.
One can keep the mind as serene as an undisturbed temple and hence be happier than when amid the mob. We must learn to treasure such moments when we think grandly, and surrender our laboured hearts to sublime peace.
Whether stricken and humbled in penitence or uplifted and exalted in meditation, one should come back to the central calm.
These moments when negatives are non-existent and peace within is vivid can only be called delicious, exquisite, and he will do well to linger over them and stretch out their time.
Great balance is needed. This can be achieved only if steadfast calmness is cultivated.
Let the mind find its repose in this delicious and desirable tranquillity.
He who has entered this balanced state has found peace.
In daily life
If his daily life makes him feel that it is taking him farther away from this peace, this inner harmony, he may have to reconsider his situation, environment, and activities.
No pleasure which is brief, sensual, and fugitive is worth exchanging for equanimity and peace, not even if it is multiplied a thousand times during a lifetime's course.
Nothing matters so much that we should throw ourselves into a state of panic about it. No happening is so important that we should let ourselves be exiled from inner peace and mental calm for its sake.
So long as a man cannot live at peace with himself, so long will he be unable to live at peace with others.
The fidgety, restless movements of the moderns merely betray their neurotic lack of self-control. The Buddhist seeker and the Taoist sage value and practise calm.
The worst result of all this hurry and tumult and preoccupation with externals is that it leaves no time for intuitive living.
Those who live in a world of turmoil need this serenity not less but even more than the yogis do.
It is never worth paying the price of losing one's inner calm to attend to any matter or to do any job. If he cannot cope with the matter or master the job without fraying his nerves, he had better drop the one or the other, if he can.
Tranquillizers and antidepressants sell by the million in highly advanced countries such as England and the U.S., but peace of mind is no nearer; indeed, this enormous sale is a sign of how far away it still is.
He must find and keep a centre within himself which he is determined to keep inviolate against the changes, alarms, and disturbances of the outside world. Human life being what it is, he knows that troubles may come but he is resolved that they shall not invade this inner sanctuary and shall be kept at a mental distance.
The serene life is not subject to emotional crises. It has clearly worked out, in the hours of contemplation, its wise attitude towards life and men so that no situation that arises can sweep it off its feet.
Take your experiences with as much equanimity as you can muster. Like Buddha, keep no illusions about life's delightful side: observe its imperfections and inadequacies, lament its transiency; but, unlike Buddha, enjoy its offerings while they are still here. Only--value your peace of mind above all amid the good and the bad; keep the precious inner calm.
But such calm, such satisfying equanimity, can only be kept if he does not expect too much from others, does not make too many demands on life, and is not too fussy about trifles.
Even when a situation becomes quite critical, a here-and-now matter, he should not give way to panic. The first move after the first shock should be to restore and maintain calm, the second to consider what he is to do--a question for which he should look not only to thinking for an answer but also to intuition.
However adverse or difficult a situation may be, it is not only in conformity with the Quest to keep one's equanimity but in the end it is to one's advantage.
A great mind is not distressed by a little matter.
He learns by practice to live within a measure of inner peace while working in the closely packed, crowded world.
He will learn by practice to discipline his own emotional reactions to every situation, however provoking or irritating it may be. The cultivation of inner calm, the growth of mental equanimity, will be set up as a necessary goal.
If the world tires you, if the evil deeds of others torment you, you can find blessed peace and healing refuge by turning within.
Marcus Aurelius: "When you happen to be ruffled a little by any untoward accident, retire immediately into your reason, and do not move out of tune any further than you needs must; for the sooner you return to harmony, the more you will get it in your own power."
Patience is needed, and confidence in the path chosen; resignation is better than rebellion.
He does not need to turn his back on the world to find peace.
In the stillness we find the perfect shelter from the unease brought by so many human presences, with all their radiating auras.
Remember to recess back into consciousness, to the centre, when other persons are present. This instantly subjugates nerve strain and self-consciousness.
To remain in obscurity and to pass unnoted assists inner peace. For the contrary attracts other persons' thoughts which beat against one's head and buzz in one's mind like flies--this is an annoyance.
He will develop a rhythm of response to intuitive feeling and reaction to outward environment which will be in faultless harmony and put no strain of conflict upon him.
It is easier to feel the fine excitement of a sacred presence, and most especially the Overself's presence, than to relate it to and unite it with the prosaic everyday human routines.
When confronted by turmoil, he will remember to remain calm. When in the presence of ugliness, he will think of beauty. When others show forth their animality and brutality, he will show forth his spiritual refinement and gentleness. Above all, when all around seems dark and hopeless, he will remember that nothing can extinguish the Overself's light and that it will shine again as surely as spring follows winter.
The belief that this kind of beatitude is valueless for practical life can only be expunged by personal experience.
When the evils or tribulations or disappointments of life become too heavy a weight, if he has made some advance he has only to pause, turn away and inward, and there he can find a radiant peace of mind which offsets the dark things and counterbalances the menacing depressions.
This truth, taught by Greek sage and Zen master, that action is best done from a tranquil centre, is logical in theory and provable in practice.
If trouble comes, first take refuge in the Void, then do what reason and practicality suggest.
That some unexpected and unpleasant event may surprise him to the extent that his composure breaks down, is another possibility to which the same rule applies--rise after every fall.
He is to cultivate a smooth calmness under all conditions until his emotions are never taken by surprise. He is to keep self-possessed at all times so that no contingency finds him inwardly unprepared for it.
The better he is poised, the more easily he will adjust to unexpected situations.
Such great serenity gives an effect of great reserves dwelling behind it.
He who has enough confidence in himself to be at ease can keep his nerve, his emotional equilibrium, in the most varied situations.
The changes and happenings around him, the temptations and tribulations he encounters will not affect his precious inner calm.
Amid all the vicissitudes of human affairs, and the distractions of historical upheaval, he will keep this central peace.
The more he gathers in this peace, the less he feels the need of artificial stimulants like drugs or tobacco or alcohol.
Amid the chances and changes, the happenings and episodes of everyday life, he practises keeping unaltered within--in temper and temperament.
He is never disturbed by untoward events or perturbed by untoward personal events. His mind floats in a sea of calmness.
He walks on his serene course, kept to it by remembering where his true allegiance lies.
There is serenity and certainty of the mind when he is in this state.
The wise man cannot spare a single hour for repining as he cannot spare a single word for recrimination. He will maintain his imperturbable calm, his reserved air, his refusal to dispute any question.
The qualities of calm
Tranquillity--the first psychological quality taught at his caste-initiation to the Brahmin youth; much admired by Benjamin Disraeli because seldom met with in society; prized by Marcus Aurelius and his Stoic sect as the best of virtues--this is to be practised by those who would become philosophers and sought by those who would become saints. Yet for others, who must perforce stay, mix, and work in the world, it is not less valuable to smooth their path and reduce their difficulties. The first it does by putting men at their ease, the second by bestowing clearer sight. For them too it is the defense against rancour, the preserver of humour and peace, and, lastly, if they desire, the way to be in the world but not of it. As Lao Tzu wrote: "There is an Infinite Being which was before Heaven and Earth. How calm it is!"
He who attains this beautiful serenity is absolved from the misery of frustrated desires, is healed of the wounds of bitter memories, is liberated from the burden of earthly struggles. He has created a secret, invulnerable centre within himself, a garden of the spirit which neither the world's hurts nor the world's joys can touch. He has found a transcendental singleness of mind.
As his centre moves to a profounder depth of being, peace of mind becomes increasingly a constant companion. This in turn influences the way in which he handles his share of the world's activities. Impatience and stupidity recede, wrath at malignity is disciplined; discouragement under adversity is controlled and stress under pressures relaxed.
How soothing to the nerves, how healing to the wearied mind is this quality of utter calm.
Depression cannot coexist with this realization of the presence.
That state is a joyous one which brings with it freedom from lusts and passions, wraths and resentments, servitudes to cravings, and enslavements that prevent growth.
Vasistha: "To those who have gained internal composure, the whole world becomes calm."
Sruti: "Whoever has his standby in Self--all desires harboured in his mind turn away." (P.B.: He has freedom of the spirit.)
The inner calm which philosophy preaches and the philosopher practises, while not an anodyne to assuage the pains of living, does help the struggle against them and the endurance of them.
When this peace falls upon him, equilibrium establishes itself spontaneously in emotion and thought.
The great calm which now holds him absorbs and thus causes the disappearance of passions, negative emotions, and fears.
The fruits of the Spirit are several but the list begins with inner peace. The agitation and anxiety, the desires and passions are enfeebled or extinguished.
It is said in the ancient texts that constant sama (calmness) and samadhana (equanimity) provide conditions out of which knowledge of truth can arise.
The man who has found this wonderful serenity cannot be tormented by the denial of desires and longings or excited by their satisfaction.
It is a peace so complete as to lift him beyond the world.
Such is the peace which he attains that he can say with Chuang Tzu, "Within my breast no sorrows can abide; I feel the great world's spirit through me thrill."
In those high gathered moments when truth and beauty become loving allies to possess us, we ourselves become inwardly aloof from tormenting desires.
Here, within this delicious calm, he will find the inspirational source of such diverse qualities as courage and benevolence, poise and honesty.
The man who is established in the Overself cannot be deflected from the calm which it gives into passions, angers, hatreds, and similar base things. Calmness has become his natural attitude.
Those desired moments of the mind when peace falls are rare, but they exist and are still to be found. The solace they can confer becomes with time the most prized possession of those few who have touched it.
It affords a satisfaction free from anxiety, unmarred by painful changes.
If he can attain this inner poise, no event can bring him unhappiness, no person can bring him harm.
From this deep calm, certain valuable qualities are born: courage when tragedy confronts him, strength when battles must be fought, and wise perception when problems arise.
Wise action comes out of composure, not out of passion or lust, which put the mind in a feverish state and blur, even falsify, its vision.
Whoever achieves this gemlike serenity will no longer be sensitive to criticism, however vulgar it be, or susceptible to insult, however venomous. This does not mean he will always ignore them. He may even humbly study the one to learn about his shortcomings and calmly reply to the other to fulfil his public duty. But he will not feel personal resentment nor express emotional anger about them.
Right judgement is more easily made in a calm atmosphere. It is confused, upset, or even blocked by passion or tension or strong negative moods such as depression.
Where this attitude of philosophic detachment is lacking, one's sufferings under the blows of karma will inevitably be more intense.
This freedom from inner conflict, this disburdenment of troubling complexes, this liberation from gnawing unrest, releases his mental and emotional energies for concentration upon his work.
A serene, cool mind is more likely to grasp the truth of any situation in which it is personally involved than is a turbulent, excited one.
Caruso: "It is essential that the singer should bring to his study a complete calmness. Unless he is calm, how can he hope to control his will? Moreover, a calm mind facilitates the task of completely relaxing the vocal organs."
He becomes established in a calm when dealing with the world or when alone with himself, a calm which leads to freedom from moods, which remains the same whether he is provoked by someone's nasty sneers or flattered by pleasant compliments.
Suzuki always kept imperturbable, always calm, whenever and wherever we met. As Herman Hesse said of him, when Arthur Koestler's criticism of Suzuki appeared in The Lotus and the Robot, "He does not allow himself to be touched."
If he puts up a curtain of equanimity between himself and his troubles, this is not to evade them but rather to deal with them more effectively.
If he has real inner peace he will never know the mental shock and nervous collapse which come to numbers of people when bereavement or loss of fortune comes. Such a calamity may not be preventable, but the emotional suffering it causes may be cut off at the very start by a philosophic attitude toward life generally.
If a man can train himself to keep calm not merely in pleasant periods but also in distressing ones, he will be in better form to do what can be done to mitigate his trouble. Without such self-training and with panicky nerves or fear-stricken mind, he will be in worse form. A calm man's actions when calamity besets him are more likely to be right than a frantic one's.
If he is to keep this inner peace, he must keep no care on the mind. But this does not mean that he is to become casual, indifferent to responsibility, and neglectful of duty.
As the inner peace advances, the outer problems recede; as truth permeates the mind, harmony re-arranges the life.
He will then be able to endure with unruffled mind what the average man can only endure with exhausted emotions.
In this desirable state cares are forgotten, agitations are lost, and a godlike peace descends on the man.
The problems that once tormented him do not seem to exist any more. But have they really been dissolved by the exaltation, by its calmness and satisfaction?
Present troubles are mentally put at a distance so that inner calm may be restored: then they can be more properly attended to.
The more you can let yourself stay in this wonderful mood, where the sacred presence becomes so vivid and so positive, the less will you be troubled by, or at the mercy of, negative moods or other people's negative thoughts about you.
Not to lose this inner peace amid difficulties which may crush others to the ground in despair, not to lose faith in this deeper source of fortitude and support--if this should be called for at a certain time in a quester's life, he will only grow inwardly by taking the challenge, even if he fails outwardly by the seeming result.
The work of the day will be better cared for if it is done in an atmosphere of serenity than if it is done in an atmosphere of anxiety.
The attainment of inner peace does not guarantee the freedom from outer conflict. But it does reduce the likelihood of such conflict.
He will gradually build a habit of applying this balanced and poised attitude to all his problems, be they worldly or intellectual. It will be a habit that will bring them to a quicker and better solution.
To practise being calm at the onset of troubles, whether one's own or someone else's, is not the same as to practise being callous.
Does the phrase "peace of mind" suggest that he will not suffer in a suffering world? This can hardly be true, or even possible. As actual experience, it means that his thoughts are brought under sufficient control to enable him to repel disturbance and to retain sensitivity. The sacred stillness behind them becomes the centre.
It is easy to misunderstand this deep unfathomable calm of his and regard it as a chill, impassive, impersonal, and remote attitude. But in reality if one could explore its heart, it would be found to be a beautiful benevolent and wise feeling.
It is not that he has no likes and dislikes--he is still human enough for them--but that he knows that they are secondary to a true and just view, and that his inner calm must not be disturbed by them.
It is not that the years pass by unregarded, nor that he is dead to human feelings, but that at this centre of his being to which he now has access, there is utter calm, a high indifference to agitations which compels him to treat them with serene dignity. He is a dweller in two worlds more or less at the same time.
A frozen calm, which chills with its iciness, is not what is meant.
His calm is inscrutable to those who themselves know only agitation.
He himself, though utterly calm, can sympathize with, and fully understand, those who are agitated or worried.
It is not a dull apathy, this equanimity.
It is not correct to believe that the stricken body of a sage suffers no pain. It is there and it is felt, but it is enclosed by a larger peace-filled consciousness. The one is a witness of the other. So pain is countered but not removed.
While within himself remaining imperturbably calm, he will yet be sensitive enough to register the moods and feelings of all others who cross his orbit.
Some people mistake philosophic calm for fatalistic resignation. This is because the philosopher will seem to endure some situations stoically unperturbed. They do not know that where he finds that he cannot work outwardly to improve a situation, he will work inwardly to extract the utmost spiritual profit from it.
To keep contained within himself and thus preserve the precious treasure which he has won, and yet not withhold sympathy from others nor interest in them, is another balancing act he learns with time.
The more he practises this inward calm, the less he shows concern about outward situations. If this seems to lead to a kind of casualness, it actually leads to inner peace.
To say that outer events will not affect him at all is to say something untrue. What happens in him is that they do not affect him in the same way as they do others.
This state of mind and heart is attainable by regulated life, purified emotions, and the practice of mystical exercises.
This calmness comes partly from this self-imposed training of thoughts and feeling during the day's activity, partly from practice of meditation, and partly from knowledge of the World-Idea and the profound trust in the World-Mind which it engenders.
Holding on to the future in anxiety and apprehension must be abandoned. It must be committed to the higher power completely and faithfully. Calmness comes easily to the man who really trusts the higher power. This is unarguable.
He teaches and trains himself to feel the peace beneath the tension.
Think of the Overself as an ever-deepening calm. It may seem to come spontaneously after you have practised it much and found the helpfulness.
With sufficient intelligence, reverent devotion, and personal purification, it is possible to enter one day into this experience of being enclosed within the divine mystery, enravished by the divine peace.
This moving of consciousness to a higher level will come about by itself, if the calm is patiently allowed to settle itself down sufficiently, and if there has been preparation by study, aspiration, and purification.
The mind which is purified from desire may easily be calmed. The mind which is calmed may easily be abstractly concentrated. And, concentrated, it may then easily be turned upon itself.
Before the Overself can stay with you, the feelings must be brought to a condition of calm, the thoughts must be turned inwards and centered there. Otherwise the outer difficulties will not let go of your attention. All this often includes the disengagement from strong desires and sensual passions. This inner work leads the practitioner--if he is willing to go so far--deeper within the self. What does he find there if efforts are successful? A beautiful quietude, an unearthly sense of having moved to another plane of being, a closer communion with spirituality. It is true that at its deepest points the working of intellect gets suspended. It is, however, a temporary condition.
Passion of any kind is a bad counsellor; and in its blind mood nothing drastic, nothing irrevocable, should be done.
When desire is quenched, peace is found.
He has brought over from earlier births a number of subconscious memories, tendencies and complexes, unfulfilled desires and unexpressed aspirations. These have to be dealt with, either by increasing eradication or by diminishing satisfaction, so that they no longer interrupt the calm tenor of the mind.
The closer he comes to the source of his being, the farther he goes from depression and despair.
One consequence of inner rule is inner peace. The more there is mastery over lust and thought, the more there is peace.
There is no room in that complete inner quiescence for vain useless emotions or violent disturbing passions.
The impulses which arise within and the temptations which come from without may attack his peace. If he would keep it, he must overcome the desire to gratify the one and to yield to the other.
The unclouded evenness of his mind is precious to him: he tries to keep it undisturbed by frenetic passions.
This preliminary injunction to nourish calm is given very seriously. The student is expected to practise it as if he were never short of time. Both lack of patience and the hurrying attitude--so marked in the modern West--are condemned.
Seek continually the deepest tranquillity possible--this also is a yoga path.
Haste is not only vulgar, as Emerson noted, but it is also irreverential.
Peace reigns within him because desires do not reign there.
One secret of preserving the stillness after returning to outward activity is not to let oneself be hurried, not even to seem hurried. Cultivate a leisurely approach.
How can a man obtain dominion over an unfavourable environment from which he is unable to escape? There is but one way and that lies entirely within himself. He must turn away in thought from its contemplation and fix his mind firmly upon the radiant Power within. Thus he will be uplifted.
That deep inner state keeps him calm and deliberate: it makes hurrying seem a kind of madness and impatience a kind of vulgarity.
At this stage of inner development take care of the hara, centre of balance, by not moving abruptly and hastily but slowly and sedately. He should walk more gently than before among his fellows yet not less purposively or determinedly.
This evenness of temperament comes gradually of itself as he lives more and more with the deeper part of his being.
We gain more by learning to depend upon the silent mind within rather than the noisy rituals without.
If calmness is the friend of the quester, haste is the enemy of calmness.
The man in a hurry is the one who is more likely to commit an error than the man who is not.
By assiduously learning to live inwardly, he may develop slow deliberate and unhurried movements, while his eyes develop a far-away look.
The man who has learned the art of staying within himself finds peace.
There is an inward way to that stillness.
When one knows that the Real always is and that all disappear back into it because there is nowhere else to go, then one ceases his terrific hurry to get somewhere and takes events more calmly. Patience comes with the fragrance of the eternal. One works at self-improvement all the same, but there need not be any desperate bother about the task. There is plenty of time. One can always do tomorrow what one needs to do today.
The practice of philosophy brings more peace, more freedom from frantic passions of every kind. Calm reigns within the walls of a true philosopher's mind.
If philosophy does not help him meet each troubling situation as it arises with inner calm and without destructive agitation, then it is not true philosophy.
Because an even mind is necessary if inner peace is to be reached, philosophy instructs us to take both the troubles and the joys of life with calmness.
When the I is no longer felt then all the problems and burdens associated with it are also no longer felt. This is the state of inner calm which philosophy seeks to bring about in a man.
If you would become a philosopher in practice, then the first step is to cultivate calmness.
It is this deep calm which especially marks out the philosopher and makes him what he is. In most cases it has not come to him easily.
The tensions inside himself and the circumstances outside himself combine to determine what kind of mood prevails at any given time in the average man. But the philosophic aspirant needs to achieve a deeper stability than this, a greater fixity of attention.
The first fruit of philosophy is to bring the calm repose of the soul into the activity of the body.
With the passage of well-spent time and the coming of well-deserved Grace, he will finally reach the serenity and mastery that characterize the last stages of the path.
It is often not easy to preserve one's calm amid provocative or passion-filled events, but that is precisely what a philosopher must set himself to do.
The first thing to note about an attained philosopher is that he constantly stays in his innermost calm being, a condition generally reflected in his outermost active physical self.
Philosophy places a high appraisal upon this quality. It says, blessed is the man who can keep serenely balanced and inwardly progressive amid the carking troubles and exciting pleasures of the modern world.
It is the business of philosophy to show us how to be nobly serene. The aim is always to keep our thoughts as evenly balanced in the mind as the Indian women keep the pitchers of water which they may be carrying evenly balanced upon their heads. A smugly self-satisfied, piously sleek complacency is not the sort of exalted serenity meant here. It would indeed be fatal to true progress, and especially fatal to the philosophic duty of making one's personal contribution toward the betterment of human existence. When such equilibrium of mind is established, when the ups and downs of external fortune are unable to disturb the inner balance of feeling, reason, and intuition, and when the mechanical reactions of the sense-organs are effortlessly controlled, we shall achieve a true, invincible self-sufficiency.
The Notebooks are copyright © 1984-1989, The Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.