“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” Mahatma Gandhi
Many of us have been watching as spectators seeing all the disruptive behavior in the United States, much of which is fairly disconcerting no matter where you are on any issue. Seemingly, we are exhibiting more disdain for those who are different from us: whether it is color, religion, political affiliation, stance on any particular issue. We used to respect one another and understand what made the United States the great country that it is was: the fact that we could love one another even without agreeing on all of the issues. We understood there are many sides to every issue, and working through our differences made us a better nation. This has deteriorated to a point where many find out only one of your positions on any given issue, or the color of your skin, or your political affiliation and there is an immediate anger, even to the point of hatred followed by unbecoming behavior totally disregarding the fact that we are countrymen. All of us are Americans.
We also have the massive changes in technology, and other advancements that can cause yet another level of consistent disruption. The demand on our ability to “change on a dime” adds stress for many, and for quite a few, just drifting into resignation that we will never catch up.
So, moreso than what I have been accustomed to for my many years, finding peace within to avoid the conflict swirling all around us, the chaos, is a concern for many. Faith based people are deeply entrenched in this fight so at times it is hard to see how Biblical teachings has taught such anger and hate, but it has given it new power. Inner peace has been a practice of the Buddhists, a lifelong endeavor, and now prolifically adopted throughout the US as well. All of us, even us Christians can grow and learn from this beingness as it is truly Christ-like as well.
Some are making a bad choice of self-protectionism: to become an introvert, “climbing back in our shells,” ignoring the world around us, living a passive existence with no incredible experiences or drive to make life better in this world as we all have something more to contribute. That is a lose lose…as when you give up, the world never hears your voice. Who would chose that? Hopefully not you!
Some basic steps supported by many entrenched in this work are as follows:
1. Evaluate mistakes from the right perspective: every mistake is a lesson that causes you to grow so take the approach of thankfulness on each of the learning processes. Never ask “what is wrong with me?” Rather respond by saying “look at what I have just learned to make me better!” Every coin has two sides…which one do you default to?
2. Understand that you are not a victim to anything or anyone. You are responsible (able to respond) to each and every situation so take responsibility for the choices you make. Victim mentality robs you of stepping into your power, taking responsibility (not blame…but “ability to respond”). Choosing victim means your life becomes defined by excuses, and we all can come up with many reasons “why not.” The whole world pays a price for that!
3. Avoid falling into the process of people pleasing. When you fall into this behavior you are giving your life away to others, allowing them to define you and control you since your focus becomes making others happy. Operate from your own free will and listen to your inner calling, undefined by other’s opinions or needs. Honor those with whom you have differences but never step into their world and sacrifice you.
4. Release any and all grudges as they absorb your thoughts and emotions. Forgiveness is a positive, life changing path – not always easy but always right. When we get stuck in these events by having continuing negative thoughts, they truly rob us from moving forward and achieving personal fulfillment. It is a lose-lose scenario. But we do “get to be right.” Oh, how this one program steals so many dreams!
5. Stop chasing after perfection. When we chase perfection, we are being controlled by something outside of us, a standard we may have made up or others have given us, and find ourselves miserable when we cannot reach it. Inner peace is about your acknowledgment of your own strengths and weaknesses, with an acknowledgment of who you can become in the future.
When we come from the sense of knowingness of who we are, being good with that and then working on being more, this is a place where true growth can occur. Patience you say? Absolutely, as you are on no schedule but the path you have chosen may be making your life miserable. Self- inflicted pain comes often until we are more enlightened to notice its source…ourselves.