Peace – How To Find It
What do you do when you get into a heated discussion with a family member or a friend? How do you respond in a way that communicates how you feel and doesn’t annihilate the other person? In the past, we have talked about the importance of expressing our feelings and stating our needs. There are also ways, however, that enable us to moderate our strong, negative feelings so that we can create the space for the state of inner peace that we are all trying to attain and keep.
External peace is a highly valued state of being. In my practice, I frequently ask clients what it is that they want. Most people answer, “Peace.” External peace is directly proportional to our internal level of it and the way to peace in the world is first finding peace within our self. There are two very significant ways to peace. The first one is to accept reality for exactly what it is. And, love it. Byron Katie, the great enlightened teacher, says that when you fight and argue with reality or what is, “You lose. Only 100% of the time!”
Accepting reality as it is is a spiritual practice. It takes vigilance and clear intention to recognize that the way God runs the world is far superior to how we think He should. It means that even though things may look as if God is nowhere to be found we trust that there is a higher reason we are not privy to for why things are happening the way they are. And, that the way it is happening is perfect. Piece of cake, right? It is the goal and we are all working toward it in our own way.
In a serious, stressful situation when the mind overtakes our ability to sustain a state of peace, accepting reality as it is is challenging. We attach deep meaning to the thoughts surging through our brains. We become convinced that they are, in fact, true. When these thoughts are stressful and agitating, the emotions they engender are difficult to handle. At times, in order to be free from these kinds of thoughts, we engage ourselves in all manner of outside activities to avoid the negative and uncomfortable feelings that arise because them.
Eckhardt Tolle says that these thoughts are our the result of our ego and we need to tell our egos to step aside and allow the feelings we are avoiding to surface. We are always be able to process them because God never gives us anything we cannot handle. In addition, he says that our divinity is both equipped and capable to deal with these feelings. He says to allow yourself to feel them. In my own life (when I remember to engage in this practice), those agitating, uncomfortable feelings are replaced by a state of peace in a relatively short period of time simply by allowing myself to experience them.
I think that what really happens when we engage in this practice is that we bring ourselves back into the present moment. And, being present is all about empowerment. Being present and feeling empowered often creates a state of peace.
The second significant path to peace is just as challenging. It is also as rewarding. In this practice we learn to recognize that we do indeed create our own reality. It’s that the world is actually just a reflection of our own internal state. If our internal state is that of peace, peace is what we will experience out in the external world and vice versa. What we see “out there” is what we experience inside.
For example if our partner is irritating and annoying us because of their critical, judgmental behavior, we need look no further than our own critical, judgmental tendencies. We can ask ourselves, “Where am I being critical and judgmental myself of others? Is it my partner my children; my boss?” If these don’t become the obvious targets of our criticism and judgment, then it might also be helpful to see where we are being critical and judgmental of ourselves. As Oprah aptly declares, “You spot it; you got it!”
When we engage in the practice of this recognition with intention and the full awareness that we are being shown something valuable and important about ourselves, it will become very obvious what is being mirrored back to us. This practice is a humble form of pure surrender and is no walk in the park. I was working with a client applying this type of technology to one of their family issues and they just looked at me and said, “Oh no! We don’t have to go there, do we?” We did and they found a place of peace. Making everything be about the other is usually really not what’s happening and it’s disempowering.
Recognizing that the world is a mirror enables us to see the source of these negative, agitating feelings within and heal them and let them go. If we are in the midst of an argument or heated discussion with another person try not to point your finger at them. When we point a finger, three fingers turn around and point back at us. Try to stay away from “you” statements. Generally, when using “you” in a conflict situation there is blame involved. It is best to just talk about what we are feeling and experiencing. This helps us to see our own responsibility in the situation without making the other person bad and wrong.
In every practice where peace is the ultimate goal, it’s always about letting go and healing. It is about contributing to peace in our own hearts and to peace in the world.