Your Hidden Portal to Peace

By Keith Varnum

Want more peace and joy in your life? Daily stress getting to you? With terrorism, layoffs and pollution, can you feel safe and happy? Yes, you can—by tapping into a little known, and less-used, doorway to internal security. This entry is not really hidden as much as misplaced. As a culture, we’ve lost the use of this innate inner compass.

We each have our own personal portal to peace. The treasure hunt begins with an inner feeling triggered by outside circumstances. It’s a timeless game of internal guidance by external clue. For millennia, ancient civilizations and native peoples have been playing this sport for fun and good fortune.

Don’t Shrug off that Weird Feeling!

Have you ever felt a rush of recognition wash over you? Do new people or places seem vaguely familiar? Do you ever get a sense that you’ve been in this exact situation before?

This strange feeling of connection with places and people is a clue, a flag, a signal. This sense of familiarity marks a gateway to a personal gold mine of clarity and strength.

“It’s Deja-vu All Over Again!”

Yogi Bera’s famous outburst reminds us of the repeating nature of this phenomenon. The French phrase “deja-vu” literally means “already seen” or “seen before.” How? When? Where? These questions invoke the intrigue that gets us to play the gambit of a lifetime—the voyage home.

If approached as such, this feeling of familiarity can be a fortuitous opening or opportunity. This sensibility can be a portal to your intuition and inner wisdom—which, in turn, can help you make the right moves in life to bring you home to yourself safe and sound!

How Does the Game Work?

Act on the sensation of familiarity as you flow through your day. Instead of brushing aside the hazy sense of foreknowledge, follow the lead of these glints of recognition. As in a treasure hunt, one clue leads to the next until you find the prize at the end—your internal center of peace. Take my recent journey to China, for example.

A Hong Kong Homecoming

One day, “out of the blue” a metaphysical bookstore owner in Hong Kong emails me to come to China to present my workshops at her store after she likes what she reads on my website. Oddly, her name and store don’t seem as foreign as her country. My intuition screams “Yes! Go. You know her.” My rational mind moans “No!” to the notion of an expensive 19-hour plane ride halfway around the world based on a “hunch.” I can’t pin down the connection I feel to her or Hong Kong. Yet, because similar subterranean magnetism has led me to many fruitful adventures, I buy my ticket to the Far Out—I mean, the Far East.

Mystery in the Mist

Hong Kong is a funky mix of ultramodern glass and steel—and traditional mud bricks and stone. Appearing and disappearing in the swirling mist shrouding the fabled South China Sea, strangely familiar Chinese junks cruise alongside sleek ocean liners. Impressions coming and going like the boats in the fog, I see details of the inside layout of a sampan—although I’ve never laid eyes on one of these traditional Chinese vessels before!

Winding my way through narrow alleys cluttered with shacks selling everything from jade to silk, elephant tusks to exotic birds in gilded cages, I sense that I’ve walked these cobblestone streets long ago. I feel some lost connection with the bizarre goods being hocked so boisterously. At dawn, hundreds of people fill pocketsize parks with the graceful beauty of Tai Chi and Chinese Sword Dance. Goosebumps running up my arm inform me that I, too, practiced these arts in some other era.

Open-air fish tanks in front of every restaurant promise fresh, tasty morsels of eel, squid and octopus. The pungent smell of savory bird’s nest soup ricochet through my sensory memory bank. Surprisingly, it doesn’t strike me as unusual to eat the head, feet, ears, nose and testicles of rooster, pig, dog, pigeon, snake, snail, fish and insect—as the locals enjoy in this land that is not really as alien as I thought.

I wend my way between sacred stone temples dwarfed by cloud-kissing skyscrapers. Strolling through the eternal beauty and harmony of the shrine gardens, I see flickering images of myself trimming the delicate bonsai trees and tending the elegant ponds of coy and turtles graced with waterfalls and high arched footbridges.

The Gang’s All Here!

At dawn one day, my odyssey of sensory recall guides me to a train bound for a remote Buddhist shrine in the far countryside. I’m inexplicably compelled to visit this secluded site by the same mystical resonance I’m feeling with other aspects of Chinese culture.

The only way to reach this mountain retreat is to climb a steep footpath that penetrates a dense bamboo rainforest teeming with screeching, brilliantly colored tropical birds. Through a thick mantle of low-lying clouds, I encounter scores of human-sized, gold-plated statues of Buddha, situated every few feet on the ascending trail.

Each Buddha strikes a unique pose—some sitting in the traditional cross-legged position, while others laugh uproariously, or wrap their arms warmly around the shoulders of another monk. The Buddhas are young and old, male and female, Asian and Negro. Many figures are dancing and playing. A few ride an animal, such as a tiger, tortoise, elephant, bear or dragon. Baby Buddhas roost on the knees and shoulders of one large jolly fellow. Some monks are elaborately clothed, while others don only a waistcloth. Wild!

Startled, I realize I’m not using my own energy to climb. A fierce and foreboding force is catapulting me up the 500 slippery, dew-soaked steps of the hillside! At first, I zoom past each statue. Then the irresistible pull of familiarity draws me to sit and pray in front of each figure. I feel I once knew each Buddha personally—as a close friend or teacher! I flash on vivid scenes of me living tranquilly as a monk in other lives.

Rendezvous with Destiny

Yes, now I understand my attraction to these lively icons. Each Buddha radiates a unique vibration, energy or feeling. Each Buddha represents a different mood or aspect of God. As I reach out to touch each statue, I’m infused with a tangible electrical current—the vibration of that particular Buddha’s unique energy or spirit. The tingling sensation ripples through my whole body in orgasmic waves. As I connect with each successive Buddha, I dissolve more deeply into the Oneness of Being—and enter into a profound peace.

From each statue I receive a personal message, transmitted through touch and vibration. The communication from each Buddha is the same! They’re all inviting me to choose to join them in their exalted ascended state. They speak to me of the serenity, freedom and lightness of letting go of attachment to worldly affairs. The Buddhas tell me they know that I’ve read about Chinese Mountain Men in my youth and have a lifelong yearning to follow in their footsteps. They’re right on the button—I mean, Buddha! The blissful state they embody is my lifetime longing.

The time-honored tradition of the Mountain Men is that when a person has fully experienced having a family, business and worldly fame, he or she chooses to walk out of their town and up into the empty mountains to join Spirit in Oneness with Nature and God. The Buddhas whisper to me, “You know in your heart, it’s time for you to prepare yourself to walk out of your worldly adventure into the spiritual realms of the Mountain Men.” Yes, I’m shaken, scared and excited by their collective invitation! As I write this, I feel the blessing and allure of the Buddhas.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

In the Land of Oz, where does the enticing road lead the Lion, Scarecrow and Tinman? Back to themselves—that is, back to ourselves! Back to our own Courage, Brain and Heart. Follow the feelings of familiarity in your life back to your own natural clarity and joy.