A person who is peaceful has control over Inner Space. This is accomplished by initiating a series of choices to clear this space. By space I mean a mind that is empty of thought, a body that is relaxed and calmly breathing since there is no interference with worry or stress. The will suspends judgment, thus sublimating the ego so a willingness to trust Spirit - to align with Dharma - by waiting for guidance from within before going into action arises and takes the lead. This, to me, is the path of peace.
It all begins just with you, alone with yourself. You have to take charge of your existence. Only you know when enough is enough. Only you can put the brakes on old patterns. Only you can initiate new behavior, but you can know when the time is ripe for you to withdraw in order to bring harmony and peace into your personal Inner Space. If you don't have it within, how can you share it with others?
The work on the path of peace requires objective awareness of your self: your automatic patterns of behavior - are they healthy? Do they make you feel safe or do you just do them to avoid conflict?
Do you speak the truth and use diplomacy to resolve issues or do you keep silent?
Are you afraid of change? Is it because you don't trust your intuitive guidance system with Spirit?
Is this because you go through your spiritual routine everyday - " I do my yoga and meditate every morning" - but once you are done, your mind snaps right back into fear and worry. If this happens to you, you have not surrendered to Spirit: your routine is just a routine you do to fool yourself.
Be honest with yourself. Peace requires it.
A person who is peaceful lives life with gratitude and knows that one's personal connection with Spirit is the most important one in Life. The experience you create for yourself must be number 1 . It must come before you consider the needs of others. I know this statement contradicts what most spiritual texts say, but you are not being selfish, you are being self-oriented. You must place yourself at the center of your experiences. You must love yourself first and surround yourself with others who support this attitude. Being at peace with yourself means you are owning you as you: your authentic self - you are thinking and acting and feeling the way you were created to BE! Doing so eliminates your need to justify staying in relationships to please others or to avoid conflict because those are just ways we lie to ourselves. Believe me, after counseling people for over 36 years, I have heard every excuse in the book as to why people are not honest with themselves. But, honesty is one of the qualities that leads the way on the path of Peace.
So what is stopping you from being you?
The greatest barrier to peace is rooted in Egoism: the ignorant belief that one person should have power and control over others; one person should be the master over the many. Throughout the history of mankind, we find that leaders who embrace egoism, disrupt peaceful civilizations through their actions, words and selfish drive to make one group superior to all others. They promote selfishness and cruelty: they are aggressive - they lie, kill/assassinate dissenters and promote war.
Greed underlies their thoughts and actions. Among the masses, egoistic people support these aggressive leaders and focus on what is lacking in their lives and they blame others for this lack. Egoistic people ignore harmony with Mother Earth; they see her as something to be used to empower themselves and enslave the many. They lack empathy since that is a behavior that stems from seeing one's place in the whole scheme of what is. Their world is too small to care.
Harvard professor of Psychology, Steven Pinker, shares his research and ideas about violence in his book, " The Better Angels of Our Nature". In his discussion as to the logic of violence, he quotes Thomas Hobbes (1651): "So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel.
First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. (p 31)."
Competition, we understand. Diffidence is defined as "lack of trust and self-confidence; and glory, well that is self-evident in leaders - past and present. So, if violence is never the path to peace, then it is important to increase the virtue of non-violence in your life. We can conclude that it is important to be non-competitive with yourself and others (turn it off when you can). Also, surround yourself with people who earn your trust - who have your back. You can also work on building self-confidence by applying yourself to every task at hand and then giving yourself a pat on the back upon completion....be nice and supportive of yourself! And recognize that glory is over-rated...slow, but sure success wins the race.
Once you stop quarreling with yourself and others, you can start looking for peace in your life. Don't bother looking to the world outside as a place to start your search. Start on the inside of you.
May I Suggest You...
Take time during your busy day to close your eyes and just watch your breath...a few minutes is all.
Observe just being alive. Slow down your breath to slow down your heart ... let your body rest. Experience being calm.
Slow down your mind - Single-focus your awareness on one thought. Or on the space between thoughts is a great practice.
Think "I feel calm" over and over. Say it silently to yourself and let all other feelings dissolve.
Stay "present" with yourself" by loving yourself just as you are - in this moment, in this day, and be profoundly grateful for the people who love and care about you - who share your hopes and support your dreams.....give yourself the gift of Peace!
Hari OM Tat Sat,