Journey to Peace

Peace is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate peace when we stay in our hearts and connect with our Core Self.  We do not get lost in the drama of life with its push and pull, attack and defense, blame and shame. By resting in our hearts we avoid unnecessary struggle and contention with others.  When fear arises and we feel anxious, we know that we have moved up into our heads and it is time to re-center.  So we refrain from saying or doing anything that will intensify our fear or that of others, and we focus on connecting with the love in our hearts.

Opposite States of Consciousness:  Inner conflict, contention with others, trying to manipulate or control when it is time to submit and let go.  We lose our peace when we Identify with fear- driven thoughts and emotions or with ego agendas that put pressure on ourselves and others. When this happens, we need to get out of our heads and back into our hearts. Then, we can re-connect with love and trust in the flow of life.

The Teaching

Peace is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate peace when we stop resisting life and fighting unnecessary battles.  Like moving water, we find a way to flow over or around obstacles.  We go where we can when we can.  We do not try to beat down walls that are stronger than we are. We are not contentious.  We aren’t looking for a fight.  Our goal is not to live in opposition to any person or idea, but to find a way to transcend personality traits and belief systems.
     When others contend or rage, we find the place of quiet within.  We settle in and settle down to the place of peace where the heart is calm and the mind is open.  That is true tranquility, like the surface of a lake on a clear day when only gentle breezes stir the water.   
     We submit and surrender to the energetic flow of life.  When the lake flows down into the river, we move with the current, knowing that to swim against it will be ineffective and will only exhaust us.  When we come to a fork in the river we change direction without great difficulty. 
     Life brings us opportunities in the right time and place.  We do not have to make them happen.  Pushing the river does not make it flow where we want it to.  It is a waste of time and energy.  Indeed, all ego agendas are ineffective and futile.  They create tension and striving.  Stress builds up within and frustration grows without.
     Better to let go of the need to stand above or apart from others.  Better to merge into the stream of life.  Living in fear and self-preservation leads only to self-destruction and conflict with others.  There is no end to this.
     That is because our ego expectations can never be satisfied.  As soon as one need is met, another one arises. That is the endless drama of life when we live and react in fear, when we are always looking for “more” because we don’t feel we are enough.
     To be serene, we must know that we are enough.  Nothing is lacking.  No pieces of the puzzle are missing.  At worst, they are just temporarily misplaced and we will find them when we relax and stop looking.   To be serene, we must trust the universe and have faith in its inherent goodness.  Without trust and faith, it is impossible to surrender.
     Self-importance and the need to control are obstacles to peace. If we really want peace, we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously and learn to accept that at any given moment God may have a better plan than we do.   Yes, humility helps, and so does patience, because the timetable of the divine plan may not match up with our expectations. 
     Our perfectionism also must go.  We must be okay with being an ordinary human being who makes mistakes and we must be okay with the imperfection of others.  To expect ourselves or others to be perfect is a recipe for crucifixion.  Do we really want to go down that road?  Or are we willing to be more gentle with ourselves and others?  
     To put it another way, the only thing that is not perfect is this life is our need to be perfect. When we don’t need to be perfect any more, one of the major obstacles to peace is removed. 
     All this comes down to understanding our true place in the universe.  We are one facet in a many-faceted jewel. We are not the only one who shines.  All facets shine together.  All beings are wedded together in a great symphony of life. 
     If we know that Spirit is in charge and not our egos, then surrender is possible.  We can learn to hold our fear gently so that we do not live in reaction to it, causing all kinds of mayhem around us.  Holding our fear gently helps to quiet us down so that we can reconnect with love.   And once we are connected to love, we can find our way back into the flow of life.
     Perhaps the most important journey we take in this life is the one from the head to the heart.  Yet we focus on taking a different journey, seeking the holy grail out there in the world where we continue to meet resistance and struggle to survive, often at the expense of others.  Even when we try to help, we end us interfering adversely in the lives of others.   As hard as we try we cannot fix others.  Indeed, the fixer himself is the obstacle to peace.
     Neither the Seeker not the Fixer succeeds in the end.  Both are worn down by the struggle. They return home exhausted, depressed, without hope or faith.  While they set out on what they thought was a God-inspired journey, they return home dispirited, bitter and angry at God.
     As we know, it is not easy for the Don Quixotes of this world to admit defeat, to acknowledge that their romantic quest was egotistical and doomed to fail.  It is not easy to come to terms with the fact that the Grail cannot be found in the world, no matter how far we travel or how diligently we look for it.
     In the end we came back to the place where we began.  We have to take a few deep breaths and bring ourselves back into our hearts.  That is where the Grail is found, not in some far distant place or time, but right here and right now, breath by breath, thought by thought.  
     We like to think that some of us are more advanced than others and so we can take short cuts to the mountaintop.  But soon we find out that every shortcut we take ends in a cul de sac.  What we thought would save time only extends the time necessary to take the journey. 
     It becomes yet another experience of false pride, another lesson in Humility.  And so we return to Beginner’s Mind.  We are all beginners.  We all start from the same place, over and over again.
     If you are not patient you cannot be at peace.   A Course and Miracles says only “infinite patience brings immediate results.”  Is your patience infinite? If not, you might have to wait in line for a while.  And, in the end, you may realize that what you desired and asked for is not really what you want or need.

The Practice

Today, when you are anxious or disturbed about anything, practice breathing and coming into your heart.  Slow things down.  Let everything be as it is and be gentle with yourself and others.  Nothing is worth losing your peace over.  Your peace is more important than all of the ups and downs of your ego agenda.
     Today, surrender your ego expectations and connect to love so that you can understand and align with your spiritual purpose.  Stop trying to manipulate and control, stop trying to be perfect or to demand that others be perfect.   Your ego needs are misguided and will only bring suffering to yourself and others.
     Today, you need to go deeper.  You need to take the journey to your heart and connect with love.  Then you will come back into the universal flow.  Bring love to the child who does not feel worthy of love.  Give him support, encouragement and hope.  He does not have to jump through hoops to get love and acceptance. You can give it to him right now.
     Bring love and peace will follow.  It is truly the spontaneous result.  And, of course, the contrary is also true.  Withhold love and there will be no peace in your heart or in the world.
     Today understand that your spiritual work is not out there in the world.  That is not where the holy grail will be found.  Your spiritual work is done within your own consciousness.   Clear your mind and open your heart.  Breathe and be.  
Sink into your Core Self.
     That is where you are connected to the Source of Love.  Once you are connected, you will be a beacon of peace and an instrument of love.  You won’t have to make anything happen, because it will all happen effortlessly through you. You will be an open vessel, a conduit for divine love and purpose.
     Of course, you can only do this if you are willing to surrender your little will to the greater will.  If you are afraid of God and think he will punish you if you make a mistake, you cannot be a conduit for love.  Love cannot flow through a contracted heart.  It needs a heart that opens and stays open.
     Today ask yourself throughout the day “Is my heart open?”  If the answer if “No,” then realize it is time to acknowledge your fear and hold it gently until it settles down and your heart opens again.   If the answer is “Yes,” then you know you have found the place of safety and tranquility within and the peace of God abides with you.

Journaling Question

Where are you at war in your life and how can you come back to peace? 

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