How to Find Peace in a World of Conflict.
The great Christmas theme is, Peace on earth and goodwill to all. We all desire peace yet it seems to be such an elusive quality. When you look deeply into the human mind you find a state of agitation which drives all conflict, and it comes from our habits of straining, forcing, reacting, and holding on to limited perceptions – the demands that life is supposed to be a certain way before we can be happy.
This continuous agitation stops you from going deeper into the heart to find the living springs of inspiration, joy and peace that live there. It keeps you on the surface where you are tossed around by all your emotional reactions to what the world is supposedly doing to you. Peace can only come to you when all this has been emptied out and you drop into a place of stillness and silence in the heart.
The challenge is that by and large we live in a very mind based world. We believe that we can use our minds to navigate our way through life but in so doing we may end up sacrificing our peace and wellbeing. We have minds for very good reasons and we can accomplish great things with them. When our minds are clear, committed and focused then there is no limit to what we can create and achieve. However, this is not the same as enjoying the deep peace that passes understanding.
The mind needs to be balanced and complemented by the awakened heart, which means you do not have to choose between the two. This is the mistake many make when they go looking for peace: they believe they have to give up being focused in the world and living a mind based life. Rather it is a matter of adding what is missing, and that is found in the heart.
The daunting challenge is to let go, which can be terrifying for some. As you let go of fixed ways of thinking and behaving you may feel empty inside and start to lose interest in your life in the way it has been. You may believe you have become depressed and then fill the void again with something external. However, if you can allow the empty silence and stillness then you find that it is actually full of the peace that passes understanding.
Peace is here right where you are – all that you could want and all you need to be. It has always been here but we cannot see it through the agitation of the mind. All peace in the world starts with each of us finding that depth of peace within. This means finding peace with your life story, with your body, with your own shadow, with your relationships, with your so-called enemies, with the world at large, and especially with all those people, events and situations you hold in judgement.
Notice I said to find peace with your story, your shadow, and so on. The secret key is acceptance, which sounds very easy but is a huge challenge for most. The vast majority of us have been conditioned into believing we are only worthy or good enough if we are a certain way. So we grow into adulthood trying to be like that yet also aware we have many tendencies and habits that run contrary to it. So we become split with one part trying to suppress or eliminate other parts which are judged as unacceptable.
We become conflicted and will never find any real peace until we heal the split. A journey of healing is required where we come back to accepting the fullness and wholeness of who we are, embracing both the light and the dark. But remember that embracing does not mean indulging. If you have an issue with anger, for example, then accepting yourself is not a licence to indulge the anger whenever you want. You accept yourself as being whole and worthy of love, as you uncover and heal the roots of the anger. Then peace becomes possible because you start to feel unified and integrated rather than spilt and broken
Peace is what lies beyond resistance and judgement, so If you do not feel the depth of peace you want then look at all the ways you hold judgement against yourself, circumstances, others, or the world. Those judgments destroy your peace.
And remember that peace is not passivity; it is a dynamic state that transforms the world. I am not saying you just have to accept whatever life throws at you. The way of deep true peace is exhilarating and inspires us to live for something rather than against anything. It is the attitude expressed by Mother Teresa, “I am not against war; I am for peace.” Actions that are inspired by such peace allow for the entry of Grace into the world and into our lives.
You are the light of the world. Do not hide your light but let it shine so it can bless and uplift a world that is crying out for it.
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