No matter who you are or where you come from, we can all agree we live in a world of turmoil. We could all use a collective deep breath and a time out to get our feet under us. Without a doubt, we all would like to find a bit more peace in OUR world. To find peace we need to focus on those two words, OUR WORLD. What does peace in OUR world mean to you? Take a nice deep breath and think about that a moment. Remind yourself that you only have power over YOUR world. Finding peace has to begin there.
I believe most people feel such turmoil because they are uneasy in their own lives. Of course, the political world is a mess, but it has been before and we've made it through. In this overly connected world we tend to look beyond OUR world and focus on the entire world. We have this uneasiness about OUR world because we've let our connectedness take our lives out of perspective. As a practitioner of mindfulness, I take the time to meditate and focus on letting go of the noise around me and try to put my current situation into perspective. It's not easy, people pull me out of perspective all the time. It takes work and practice, but it's worth it.
The real answer to finding peace in OUR world lies within us. We must ask ourselves, are we happy in OUR situation, OUR job, OUR relationships, OUR place in the community? What are we doing to have peace within OURselves? What practices are we following to be peaceful in OUR lives? Meditation, prayer, community service, church, are we doing anything other than watching social media or the news??
We have the power to control OUR world, not the entire world. We have fallen into this habit of wanting to be at conflict with everyone we disagree with. In this way, we marginalize people, pull away, dismiss, and fall back into our own little bubble of agreement. Again, we have to ask, are we happy in OUR little bubble? What can we do to bring change into OUR world to be at peace with those we may not agree with? We have to find that peace in ourselves.
To bring the change we want to the world, we have to begin with OUR world, the best resources are there, inside of us. Can you say that you treat yourself with the compassion, respect, understanding, and love that you want to see in the world? Take a deep breath and be honest with yourself. If you don't have it for yourself, how can you expect to ever see it in the world? If not in YOUR world, how will it appear in the entire world?
Oftentimes, we find we are harder on ourselves than we are on those around us. We are more likely to forgive someone else, than we are to forgive ourselves. We can fall in love with someone, without giving ourselves love in return. We have to start offering ourselves the forgiveness, love, compassion, understanding, and respect that we want to see in the world. By bringing these offerings to our life, we will find it easier to share them with the world. We will start to recognize them when they appear. Rather than focusing on conflict, we open our eyes to the wonder that is right there in front of us.
The world challenges OUR peace every day. It tries to tell us who we should be, what we should eat, where we should go, and what we should think. It tells us we need to make more money, where we should be living, and who we should be friends with. The world does its best to keep us separated into groups, pushing us to judge others for their differences. We allow it to happen because we are already so comfortable at judging ourselves. All this pressure causes us to be out of balance, it can be overwhelming and cause us to disconnect from others. It certainly doesn't foster a peaceful existence.
To overcome this, we must work on ourselves spiritually. Not necessarily in a religious way, but in finding a spiritual balance of the body, mind, and soul. Our spiritual wellness is just as important as our physical one. It requires practice, just as much as your body requires good food and exercise. Finding this inner peace and spiritual balance is a challenge and it takes work.
We must start by embracing who we are, our authentic self. Not the person others expect us to be, but the you you are before anyone else tells you who you should be. I recently went to a funeral of a friend and during the eulogy the speaker said "No one can deny he lived an authentic life". Can you say that?
The path to being authentic means we accept all of ourselves; the good, the bad, and everything in between. We understand that we are conflicted, complex beings with lives that are full of struggles and challenges. We have to let go of the need to be someone else, stop longing for the things we don't have, stop worrying about the future or dragging the baggage from the past. These things are denying us OUR peace. As long as we continue to do this, the outer world will lack peace as well.
When we are conflicted internally we see conflict eternally. What we project to ourselves we spread to the world around us. If we work to find inner peace, we can bring peace to almost any situation and we can learn to put the outer turmoil into perspective in OUR lives.
Peace works like a magnetic field, what we put out comes back to us....so does LOVE! When we embrace it, we can share it. What manifests within surrounds us in its field and comes back even stronger. Always remember the words of the song, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me". Trust me, it's much easier to sing than it is to do. But, if you invite the peaceful practices of meditation, prayer, self-discovery, and authenticity to be as important in your life as the outside noise that you tune into from the television, radio, or social media, you will find you have all the information you need, within.
Let it begin with me....no one can argue that one more peaceful person would be a good thing in this world.