A central key to attaining peace lies in achieving the poise of non-attachment. Non-attachment is sometimes confused with avoidance of action, or some kind of renunciation. But non-attachment can develop even among those who are active in the world. King Janaka was known as being non-attached while still ruling a kingdom and living amidst the luxuries that were part of his position. Buddha achieved non-attachment through overcoming the force of desire. Non-attachment is an underlying basis for refocusing the concentration of the being on the Eternal. Energy flows where it is directed. If we are attached to the life in the world, then our entire focus goes towards achieving what is considered to be success in the world, whether through development of family, wealth, fame, or other emoluments. When we determine to refocus the energy towards the Divine, or towards the principle of peace, then we set up an energetic relationship with those objects and thus can achieve the result of that concentration. That is once again the principle of samyama in action.

The question was posed: “How can we establish a settled peace and silence in the mind?”

The Mother responds: “First of all, you must want it. … And then you must try and must persevere, continue trying. What I have just told you is a very good means. Yet there are others also. You sit quietly, to begin with; and then, instead of thinking of fifty things, you begin saying to yourself, ‘Peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, calm, peace!’ You imagine peace and calm. You aspire, ask that it may come: ‘Peace, peace, calm.’ And then, when something comes and touches you and acts, say quietly, like this, ‘Peace, peace, peace.’ Do not look at the thoughts, do not listen to the thoughts, you understand. You must not pay attention to everything that comes. You know, when someone bothers you a great deal and you want to get rid of him, you don’t listen to him, do you? Good! You turn your head away (gesture) and think of something else. Well, you must do that: when thoughts come, you must not look at them, must not listen to them, must not pay any attention at all, you must behave as though they did not exist, you see! And then, repeat all the time like a kind of — how shall I put it? — as an idiot does, who repeats the same thing always. Well, you must do the same thing; you must repeat, ‘Peace, peace, peace.’ So you try this for a few minutes and then do what you have to do; and then, another time, you begin again; sit down again and then try. Do this on getting up in the morning, do this in the evening when going to bed. You can do this… look, if you want to digest your food properly, you can do this for a few minutes before eating. You can’t imagine how much this helps your digestion! Before beginning to eat you sit quietly for a while and say, ‘Peace, peace, peace!’ and everything becomes calm. It seems as though all the noises were going far, far, far away (Mother stretches out her arms on both sides) and then you must continue; and there comes a time when you no longer need to sit down, and no matter what you are doing, no matter what you are saying, it is always ‘Peace, peace, peace.’ Everything remains here, like this, it does not enter (gesture in front of the forehead), it remains like this. And then one is always in a perfect peace… after some years.”

“But at the beginning, a very small beginning, two or three minutes, it is very simple. For something complicated you must make an effort, and when one makes an effort, one is not quiet. It is difficult to make an effort while remaining quiet. Very simple, very simple, you must be very simple in these things. It is as though you were learning how to call a friend: by dint of being called he comes. Well, make peace and calm your friends and call them: ‘Come, peace, peace, peace, peace, come!’ “

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Establishing Peace in the Mind, pp. 161-162

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.