We are now moving to a point in our evolution where we need to be consistent in our state of being no matter who you are, or who you are with or what you are doing or what’s happening. Recognize that you are the one that is denying yourself the experience you wish to have and that you are allowing other people, or what’s happening in the world or what’s happening in your life to do that.
Peace has become more and more compelling. Within the experience of peace is a rising bliss. It’s like an intoxication. Even though life might be turbulent, no matter how absurd it gets, for some strange reason it just doesn’t matter.
We are realizing more and more that it’s not worth leaving the peace that we are feeling for anything.
Have you ever been in the midst of that very personal sense of peace called, "sitting in front of the TV with a nice pizza"? Then the phone rings, or a neighbor drops by, and . . . boom! Your slice of heaven is replaced with simmering resentment toward the person or event seen as disturbing it.
Everyone on the planet is either operating from their peace or from their pain. When you trace everything you can’t stand about the world back to its origin, you’ll find pain.
When I look at the people I grew up with, they didn’t know any better. Were they bad people? No, they just didn’t have a choice. Society wasn’t constructed for them to thrive, the system wasn’t constructed for them to get ahead. People in states of survival make choices that don’t make any sense to other people who aren’t surviving.
Either we are at peace wherever we are -- because this peace goes with us -- or what we call our peace is a product of some pleasurable condition over which we have temporary command. In situations like the latter, though largely unconscious to us, we sense that our peace is conditional. We know that we must work to keep certain prevailing conditions in place in order to remain at peace. And this, of course, means that we will resist any movement that threatens our desired estate. Clearly such a tentative peace is not true peace at all, because it dwells side by side, in league with an unseen conflict that is a basic requirement of its very existence!
We desire to find the path to peace, joy, and freedom. We strive to feel lovable, worthy, and secure. We know that if we do our Inner Bonding work and open to our connection with Spirit, we will feel all of that. Yet we don't. We put off dialoguing for days or weeks. We stay stuck in our misery or numbness. Why? What are we so afraid of, if we open to learning about loving ourselves?
I searched for many years for the answer to this question. Over and over, I would find myself falling out of grace and joy and into anxiety and stress. Each time it was because I failed to take care of myself in some way.
The problem is that all our feelings live in the same place in the heart. Pain resides in the same place as joy. We cannot numb out our pain without squelching our joy.
What’s your sense of peace?
Enjoy four kinds of peace.
“Peace” can sound merely sentimental or clichéd (“visualize whirled peas”). But deep down, it’s what most of us long for. Consider the proverb: The highest happiness is peace.
Not a peace inside that ignores pain in oneself or others or is acquired by shutting down. This is a durable peace, a peace you can come home to even if it’s been covered over by fear, frustration, or heartache.
When you’re at peace – when you are engaged with life while also feeling relatively relaxed, calm, and safe – you are protected from stress, your immune system grows stronger, and you become more resilient. Your outlook brightens, and you see more opportunities. In relationships, feeling at peace prevents overreactions, increases the odds of being treated well by others, and supports you in being clear and direct when you need to be.
Can you stay open to the pain of others?
Be at peace with the pain of others.
Humans are an empathic, compassionate, and loving species, so it is natural to feel sad, worried, or fiery about the troubles and pain of other people. (And about those of cats and dogs and other animals, but I’ll focus on human beings here.)
Long ago, the Buddha spoke of the “first dart” of unavoidable physical pain. Given our hardwired nature as social beings, when those we care about are threatened or suffer, there is another kind of first dart: unavoidable emotional pain.
For example, if you heard about people who go to bed hungry – as a billion of us do each night – of course your heart would be moved. I’m usually a pretty calm guy, but when I visited Haiti, I was in a cold rage at the appalling conditions in which most people there lived. On a lesser scale but still real, a friend’s son has just started college and is calling home to tell his mom how lonely and miserable he feels; of course she’s worried and upset.
When we get married (or enter a committed romantic partnership), we hope for peace and love to rule the day, day after day and year after year. Because life presents difficulties, our peace can be shattered and our love may be in danger of dissolving. Just as mindfulness helps us to sit with the challenges of daily life and appreciate what is present, it can help us to appreciate our partners and sit with the hard moments that inevitably arise. Though we can’t avoid the problems, when we practice mindfulness in our relationship, we can handle difficult moments with compassion and love, rather than resentment and anger.
At first, practicing mindfulness in a marriage may feel uncomfortable or unnatural. Eventually, as you plug your practice into your daily routine, it may feel easy and wonderful! Just remember, there is nothing wrong with you if you have challenges in your relationship. When two people come together, there will always be places and moments in which they seem to clash. The objective is not to avoid problems altogether, but to create a practice that allows you to sit with these hard times and manage the difficulties together in compassionate connection, so that you can repair the rupture and move forward together with kindness and love.
How do we continue to bolster and reaffirm the peace in our lives?
Peace is our natural state of being. First of all, you have to remember who you are and remembering who you are means, remembering how you feel as peace, because this is who you are in this beautiful presence. And this presence is experienced as peace in every moment.
That’s why it’s important to live in breath. Awareness is quite honestly the only practice you’ll ever need because the more you abide in the breath and more you witness each inhalation and exhalation, the more you are remembering the peace that is your natural state of being.
Stress, anxiety, and depression kill your inner peace, but unfortunately, they are an integral part of human existence. The pandemic has made these issues more rampant than ever, and most people struggle to find mental peace. Relationships are suffering, social isolation is a real challenge, and WFH stress is making things worse. It is hard to live normally when the fear of death and financial uncertainties looms large. But you need not give up hope. Despite the challenges, things can look up if you take the right approach to rediscover mental peace. Here are some tried and tested ideas you must embrace right now.
Start your day with meditation
Rediscovering mental peace is all about restoring balance. Purging negative emotions can do the trick because they are probably overshadowing positive thoughts right now. A session of meditation and deep breathing every morning can give you the best start. It will take only a few minutes to focus on inner peace and positivity, and you will feel happy throughout the day.
The next time something dark or disturbing tries to steal into you to wreck your contentment, do not consent to be drawn into its seemingly important considerations. Instead of sinking into this yawning abyss, rather than running after something to resolve that rift, better to remember this truth: the peace you long for also longs for you. Then, whatever you must do, find your way to it! Here’s a good place to start.
Come awake to the backdrop of stillness within you, and while being aware within it, watch your own thoughts and feelings trying to drag you into the noisy world of their worry and fear. If you will go silent before them, they have no choice but to enter into the silence with you. This is how we turn the table on these thieves of peace. They cannot live with you in the light of higher self-awareness. In this mansion there is room for only one.
You can work at this exercise anytime you remember it. Try it now. Look past the familiar forms around you, including those reactions in you about them. Don’t think about the moment unfolding before you, see it; Be the whole of life in the perfectly present moment. This Now is where the spirit of peace resides. Drop the minutiae, the too-familiar sense of self found in sorting through the particular. Place your attention in the awareness of your thoughts instead of losing yourself within them and what they tell you is happening.
“In order for me to become a vessel, to be used, I had to have my attachments broken. You can’t be a true vessel if you’re attached. You have to be emptied out.”—Julia Butterfly Hill
The idea of becoming a vessel, or conduit, for selfless love to flow through you into the world is part of many spiritual teachings. To be of service in this way can become one of the highest aspirations for those on a deeply committed spiritual path. Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent two years living in the branches of a 1500-year-old redwood tree to prevent it from being cut down, has described her own preparation for this dedicated act of service. She let go of all physical attachments in terms of possessions, but then Mother Nature emptied her of everything else in a fierce wind/rain storm that brought her face to face with the possibility of her own death. She was “emptied out” for the task ahead.
Be Present with Feelings and Guidance
Unless there is actually something dangerous happening in this present moment, being fully in the moment brings a release of stress.
The wounded self is addicted to focusing on the past or future – ruminating about the past, perhaps with regret – and worrying about the future – trying to control it. If you notice your body while you are ruminating or worrying, you will notice that your body is tense. The tension is your inner guidance letting you know that your wounded self is in charge and you are abandoning yourself.
When you notice this, shift into being in this present moment and notice the peace and relaxation that floods your body.
A lot of people have felt they couldn’t breathe.”—Van Jones
Last November, when a new President and Vice President were elected in the U.S., many of us cried tears of relief. We felt we could breathe again, even if just for a moment. Not that the huge problems that face this country had been solved, but lighter, more compassionate voices were speaking at the national level. Possibility was appearing once again, where impossibility had ruled. Hope was arising within us, and the distant dream of a peaceful resolution of divisions seemed somehow closer. Now, in the wake of last week’s violent break-in at the Capitol building in Washington, it is even more important to hold onto that dream and to move forward in peace.
No one fails to react when public violence is flagrantly incited, which happened at the Capitol this week. As a political philosophy, or a way of life, disorder doesn’t work. Violence might not be inevitable, but chaos is.
But in the face of chaos, some facts remain constant and stable:
- Peace is a state of awareness.
- To advance the cause of peace, you must be at peace.
- External conflict reflects the inner conflicts of human nature.
- No dispute is ever settled unless both sides achieve a level of mutual satisfaction.
When politics comes down to rigidly opposing views, all of these facts are being ignored. Nothing gets resolved so that all sides achieve mutual satisfaction, and therefore grudges simmer, awaiting sudden eruptions and the pot boils over.
What would my life be like without me? Well, for one thing, it wouldn’t be “my life.” It would just be life—being, expanding, evolving. Exactly what it is without the filter I apply to it with “my.” As I continue along the path my soul has chosen for this lifetime, I see more clearly the limitations of language. “My” is a convenience for conversation, but the possessiveness we feel about so much in life is reinforced by that simple two-letter designation. In fact, nothing is mine. Even my soul is not really mine, nor is God. There is a limitless universal Spirit that we are one with, beyond description or possession. Caught up in “me,” “I,” and “mine,” our vision is restricted, dead-ended. Many times, our identity is so busy defending itself and its viewpoint that we can’t see the beauty and wonder around us or the love in the hearts of those closest to us. We lose friendships in arguments and misunderstandings.
“You will always have some haters. In fact, I believe if you have some haters, you're probably doing something great.” — Kute Blackson
You will always have haters in your life, your haters are people who gossip about you, talk negatively about you, hate on you for some reason. You will always have some haters in your life. It’s inevitable. It’s life. In this episode, I share a simple practice and ideas to learn how to deal with other people's hatred towards you. If you really want to be free, you must make peace with yourself and know you will not be able to please everyone. No matter what you do, you will have people who do not like you and will talk about you. Listen to this important episode and learn how to be at peace within yourself, so that you can be freer in the world.
Sometimes the twists and turns of life on Earth can feel like loss or emptiness, especially now. Yet the greater significance of our experiences may not be completely understood when they occur. Time brings perspective. There are no mistakes, and we are never really lost. Everything we experience provides an opening into greater awareness and an opportunity to grow and trust in the trajectory of our own lives.