On the other day I came across this picture (found on the internet) and remembered this beach in Rio de Janeiro. I was 12 years old when I first visited it. My family and I fell in love with the place; it was uncivilized – water from wells at each house, no electricity on many roads, no pavement on the roads, no telephone lines, no sewage pipes either. A year later my grandfather sold all he had, which wasn’t much, to buy a house there, with the intent that when he passed away, the family would still be able to enjoy it. We used to go a lot; it is 90 minutes away from the city.
So many things have happened at that beach that I could never forget. One of them was my first encounter with peace. You could be thinking now, “Oh! Poor kid… Had she never had peace before turning 13?” That’s not what I mean. I am talking about infinite peace, a feeling that takes over your whole body and soul with a deep sense of peace, assuring you all is well, and everything is where it is supposed to be.
One day, there I was, playing in the water at a sandy hill in between bigger waves in a deeper part and the little calmer water reaching to shore. I had two friends with me at the time, and each one of us was doing their own thing, having fun in the water, where we would play for hours. Their father was there too, sitting on the sand. I found this area where the sand was piling up so much that the water was barely coming there, but it still would pass like a gentle stream. I lowered my face enough to have those gentle tiny waves caress my cheek. In minutes I was transferred to the depth of that encounter between my cheek and that holy water. It literally washed away all worries I had at that time, and I discovered peace, losing myself in that moment, not wanting to come out of it. Ever. And there I stayed, ecstatically enjoying my first moments spent in real deep peace; it is a wonderful feeling I will never forget, which proved to me there is more, way more, than the eyes could see. Peace is not just the lack of arguments between your parents, it is not just being accepted by your classmates as part of the group, it is not just being sure of what you want to be when you grow up. Peace is much more than that; it is a feeling deep inside your heart that everything is okay, no matter what your perception used to be before reaching this state. The ego steps aside and you can see with the heart’s eye how the universe plays beautifully with us, and you are where you need to be in your journey. Are you going to stomp your feet and negate your situation or accept it and finally decide to move on or flow with it?
Of course, these were not my perceptions at that time. I was only 13; I was just flabbergasted with peace taking over my body, and knew there was more to it than I could understand at that time. And no adults in that phase of my life would be able to explain it to me, so I kept it to myself. My friends eventually came to see what I had been doing for so long; I remembered they tried to do it, too, but could see no big deal. They called me up to do something else. I truly did not want to leave that place, but I knew it was time, and I had had enough taste of that delicious peace to save it with me and later further investigate it.
I went to the same beach many times after that, never having the same experience again, to my disappointment. I knew there was something special about that day, and even after trying to recreate it, I just couldn’t find the same sensation. Many years later (decades actually), I started meditating, and I did find that deep peace again. But, better than that, I found out it is always there – inside us! It had nothing to do with how the swell was going that day at that particular beach where I happened to be. I just quieted my mind enough to let go of all my worries, and dug deep inside of me (and all the treasures we carry or think we carry inside us) to find peace, buried under everything else. Many times I have sat to meditate, and many times I have found it inside me, never in the same way; every day is different, but I know, I just know, that deep inner peace is inside me no matter what. So, what are you waiting for? Start digging!