I came across this image on Reddit today, and it really struck a chord with me. As someone who has suffered from both depression and anxiety, I decided to take a minute and reflect on its message. Two thoughts. The first is that there is a lot of truth to this quote. If I dig deep to understand my battle with depression and anxiety, I find that a lot of the pain I struggled with was self-inflicted, caused by an inability to let go of the uncontrollable. Instead of focusing on what I had, and what was happening with my life, my mind was constantly worrying about the things I had already done wrong, or the things I had yet to do right. It’s not a very happy way to live, and definitely counter-productive if you want to create positive change in yourself and the world. But how does one change the cycle? My second thought is that the message above is incomplete.
Life is not peace. Life is peace, and chaos. Yin and yang. To grow as a person and live a good life, one must understand and accept the nature of duality. Happiness and sadness; love and fear; collectivism and individuality; progress and tradition, freedom and fate. None exists without the other. Each is independent, yet intrinsically tied to the other. The contrast brings awareness, awareness informs perspective, perspective builds character, and character is empowering. With wisdom comes the ability to break cycles; the ability to create new realities. So bringing it back to the idea of time, we find that the present does not exist independently of the past or the future. Or I guess I should say that no independent moment exist only as an independent moment. Every breath, every step, is a frame in a film. The film does not exist without the collective frames. While each frame is it's own, it is also informed by the past and the future; and the mix drives the overall direction of the film. So to live with peace is to live not just in the present, but to accept the whole of time, the whole of everything. So how's this for a perspective on peace instead? "Know reality, know thyself. What can you affect? Let go of everything else."