So, the remaining question is: Has my journey resulted in “peace?”
Since I’m still on the journey, and will continue for the duration, it is difficult to say, but that is simply parsing words. And another answer would be: “That depends on one’s definition of peace.” Neither is satisfactory to me.
As I had said earlier, mimicking others before me, it’s the journey, not the destination. The destination for all humans, according to my cosmology, is death. So that certainly will result in peace, since there will be no pain afterwards, as far as I know. Yet others have suggested that this pain could possibly continue.
I grappled with this question during the writing of what you have just read, and have realized it is actually unimportant, yet seemed to be a good title at the time, or at a minimum, an attention-getter. I will say I no longer am tormented, depressed, or unhappy as I used to be, but that has been a long slow ascent into what I’ll continue to call peace.
I will also say that writing my amorphous thoughts and ideas and making them available to others using cold, hard type and fonts, required looking deeply inside myself, while at the same time allowing me to gain much value from the ongoing inquiry. May it continue to be so.
Further, my marriage to Liz and establishing a new life near Santa Fe, with all the challenges it has to offer, and in particular in the somewhat remote and beautiful prairie where we live, has helped.
But there has been a dramatic shift in my attitude due to the inquiry within myself, and as I wrote this, I had to look deeply at what was important to me, as I never had before.
Since it seems increasingly probable that I will shortly start to experience the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease (as I said before, I’m still in denial, but I’m also an aware and smart denier, and know that it is likely coming), I see each moment as an opportunity to live more fully, to be far more available to - and interact with - other people, and to just experience each moment of life as an ongoing gift.
I’m not sure if this experience I’m having would have been as sweet without all the earlier drama and pain and uncertainty in my earlier life, and perhaps it doesn’t matter. I do know that I do not look back now (other than by writing this work), and do not spend much time looking into the future, but I do spend most of my time in the present. That is a major shift in my consciousness.
And I think that is probably my answer, and interestingly, it has just occurred to me as I was writing this.
Spending one’s life in the present moment, although quite difficult for many if not most of us, especially me, is how one achieves the seemingly elusive “peace” I had used in the title.
I am reminded of this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
If we can agree that peace comes from fulfilling one’s purpose in life, then the answer is self-evident.
Most religions, movements, books, studies, and other arenas of human inquiry all seem to say the same thing: Life is to be lived now, in the present moment, in fulfillment of one’s purpose, and one’s ability to let go of the past and not spend useless time contemplating the future, likely results in a more peaceful present.
That is my experience, right now. And for me, that is really all there is.
Thank you for allowing me to share these thoughts and this work with you.
Be at peace.