The most important thing I struggle with in my life is to become peaceful with myself. War in our world begins at home. For me, I must welcome unconditional surrender, and lessen how I create my own suffering. When I embrace my shadows, and cultivate inner kindness, inner peace becomes more possible. I find that I must accept, not resist, what is true. Showing up and dealing with my issues works much better for me then avoiding them. However, knowing when it is a good time to address my inner demons is something that takes skill. Being kind with myself is a work in constant progress. Just because I feel uncomfortable does not mean I must run from things. Sometimes my cowardice comes back to haunt me. Nurturing a deeper soulful relation with myself, I will be able to become whole and happy. I can find more pleasure with my life when I find how to perform a careful examination of what truly causes me discomfort and how to best address it. This critical development is all about healing, praying, spending time in nature and finding friends to support me.
Such an inner transformation has profound implications for the outer physical work we must constantly be reminded to do. Violence and war in our outer work is so prevalent. Even though we may be in a serene setting such things as the way we drive our cars, talk to one another or even run around conveys bellicose acts.
After much searching and exploring the source of my despair I have realized one thing. All I can do is cultivate my own peace and lead by example . Without some understanding of myself my problems and the world's problems will not go away. I write this struggling with my own life and future. My self education is not just about becoming better at what I do but to address my most fundamental challenge, what I fear most in myself. I cannot find peace if I do not go into myself and see or become more intimate with my soul. What truly is intimacy? Intimacy means to me that I must trust myself and come closer to what is true. Such familiarity calls for many forms of spiritual practice.
The more I can embrace my stress and anxiety as well as the world's, the more harmonious I live. Without my individual awakening to the separation between myself and the world, only suffering occurs, and I sense that our own fears will haunt us until we address them. Only then can the possibility of peace begin.
To find my peace in the world, I must remember to constantly practice inner peace. Developing this mental calm comes through accumulating both understanding and knowledge to keep myself strong in the face of dissatisfaction, stress, or anxiety. Being "at peace" keeps me in better health, and without being "at peace" the opposite happens, and I experience unhealthy stress and anxiety.
There are many forms of violence from which to learn. One of the greatest terrors is how we disconnect ourselves from our world. We humans are part of, not separate from, the other 30 million diverse species on this planet. Can we acknowledge that ultimately the land owns us; we do not own it? The more we all can search our souls to live in harmony the greater we counter the hysteria of terror. We now are at the crossroads to either respect or disregard our delicate world. Just the simple act of caring or showing kindness has a tremendous ripple effect. Each one of us must cultivate more compassionate relationships because we all share the same future. Can we as a people have the courage to find deeper truths and explore what is calling for attention?
We must invest in non-violence and more sustainable ways so to support the cultivation not the devastation of land, cultures, indigenous people, species, and ecosystems. Can we shift our culture that depletes to one that replenishes? Finally, non-violence must be also promoted in our media since the press must be careful not to reinforce further violence.
Our prosperity on this tiny planet will only continue when we develop a renewed respect for what we have here and now. Certainly we must show tough love and protect ourselves from those wishing to harm us. Non-violent action will happen when together we pray, meditate and work towards future life. If we can shift from a society that supports violence to one that fosters peace then we may develop a new sense of hope over the despair and alienation many of us feel.
We will continue to be tormented until we come together with kinder acts that benefit all things on this fragile Earth. We are no longer separate individuals but a part of a greater whole. We must now act with grace to behold what we have been blessed with. Our freedom will only flourish when we evolve from our own personal interests to a global effort to insure our survival. This earth and we are both one and the same. Suffering is no fun. I must remember ways to listen, have faith, relax, show grace and celebrate my boundless heart. By accepting what is, and changing what I can, I liberate myself and enter a peaceful place.
"Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances." - Mahatma Gandhi
There are countless ways for us to discover how to be at peace. The following are several examples:
1. Cultivate thoughts and actions that respect's life with reverent reflection and mindful action.
2. Learn new ways to cherish, not destroy things. Explore the self-concept of less "me" and act as more of a holistic "we".
3. Remember to observe my relationships instead of judging them.
4. Learning to apply an attitude of being "with" instead of "against" in the appropriate settings. Learn that in death we embrace life's new possibility.
5. Enjoying each moment with wonder and care.
6. Appreciating life's harmony and interrelationships.
7. Accepting blessings curses, loss, adversity and success as the same.
8. To love all things including oneself with divine reverence.
9. "Praying together" instead of "preying on others" by learning to build bridges instead of walls and speak to what can be of mutual benefit.
10. Awaken in my meditation by breathing in compassion and exhaling pain, frustration, exhaustion, anger, or disappointment.
11. Focus and accept the "right now" with what is right, not what is wrong.
12. Practice showing my love for all things, sharing my joy and seeing that life is balanced by the positive and the negative.