Q: I know that peace will eventually come but at the moment I need to make a great effort to get even a little taste of it.
AS: Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once told a story about a jnani who had done a lot of tapas in a jungle. One day he went out of the jungle and met a poor man who was carrying a bundle of firewood.
This woodcutter saw that the jnani was radiating peace and bliss. 'Swami,' he asked, 'it seems that you have so much happiness. There is no trace of worry at all on your face. You are obviously a great man. Please show me some way that I can become rich. I am very poor. I barely make a living by cutting this firewood and selling it in town As I have to struggle a lot to survive I often get very frustrated with this way of life.'
The jnani asked him, 'Where are you cutting this wood?' and the man replied, 'Just at the edge of the forest.’
The jnani told him,’ Tomorrow go further inside and see what you can find there.’
The next day the woodcutter went further into the jungle than usual and found some sandalwood trees. He cut these trees, sold them in the market and made a lot of money. But he was not satisfied with this money so he came back to the jnani and asked how he could make even more.
The jnani repeated his original advice: ‘Go further into the jungle.’
The next day the woodcutter went deep into the jungle and found a lot of brass vessels which someone had abandoned there.
He thought to himself,’ The further I go into this forest more riches I seem to find. I will leave this brass and go a little further.'
In the middle of the forest, he found some gold and became a wealthy man.
I am telling you this story to show that when we desire to get away from all the troubles that identifying with the body causes us, we can go inwards, towards the Self. Instead of toiling and suffering in the mind, which is the outer edge of consciousness, we should move towards the Self, the center of our being.
As we start to move inwards we experience the peace and bliss of the Self in a very diluted form. The deeper we go, the stronger the experience becomes. Eventually, a time will come when we don't want to leave this experience at all. Instead, there is a continuous urge to go deeper and deeper into the Self.
When you lose all desires and attachments, the pure gold of the Self will reveal itself to you. In that final state, you don't experience peace and bliss. You ARE that peace and bliss. In that state, you are the equal of Siva.
You are saying that you have to make a great effort to experience even a little peace. Don't worry about this. Your effort will pay off sooner or later. If you persevere the peace and bliss will come unasked. If you give up your attachment to all thoughts except for the thought of the Self, you will find yourself being pulled automatically into the peace of the Self. If you practice intensively and correctly, you will find that the experience of this peace is addictive. When this happens you will lose interest in everything except the Self.