What are those seeds? Fear and desire are big ones, but less in their own right than for how they affect how we live our lives and trigger responses to the world around us. Misperceptions. Misunderstandings. Confusion. False images. Faulty communication. Expectations. Judgment. Unclear or conflicting intentions. The list is long and far beyond our ability to cover in a few paragraphs.
Perhaps the most insidious, however, are the set of characteristics that make up our personalities and the awareness with which we direct our attention. For together they determine what we will focus upon and how we will interact with that aspect of reality presented for our consumption in any particular moment.
Yet, how many of us truly put our attention on peace, or consciously manage the expression of our personalities in ways that enhance it, either within us or in our outer affairs?
Life serves us up the chance to choose peace, yet most of the time we don’t. Instead, we keep falling into the same patterns we’ve formed over a lifetime (or in some views, over many lives) – patterns of thought, emotion and action that keep bringing us more of the same.
Your personality offers many wonderful attributes you can show the world, yet you’re probably like most and keep expressing many that do little to enhance your peace. To the contrary, when reality keeps serving up situations that allow you to choose another way to respond and interact with your life, you probably too often return to the tried and true behaviors that in fact breed conflict, and I daresay, even unhappiness.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You could choose to exhibit another aspect of your personality. You could choose to let go of control. You could choose to acknowledge your fear or desire, and instead of giving in to the impulse to impose your will to avoid or attain it, inhibit that response so others might have the chance to come forth.
When others do you harm, or exhibit behaviors you don’t agree with, you don’t have to take up arms to get back at or oppose them or shake your head in disgust. You can, though, use those instances to recognize there is something within you that is being tweaked by their actions. Even when you don’t immediately know what that is, you can acknowledge that something within you is crying out to be healed, and rather than judge the situation or yourself, bless yourself for carrying this condition within you and all that it is allowing you to know about yourself.
I don’t pretend it’s easy to shine the light of introspection within, or to create a space between the stimulus of your outer world and the reaction that is triggered from your inner one. But I do know that the more you can direct your attention to all that is going on within you and expand your ability to deal with it in better ways, the more you will be able to create peace within you – and in your interactions with that outer world that throws down the gauntlet and demands you take up arms against it.
Soon you will be celebrating the high holidays of your religious traditions, with trees and lights and gifts galore. This year, why not give yourself an even greater reason to celebrate – the gift of your own evolution into a state of peace?
Peace can be yours. But you must want it – bad. In every moment. Enough to break free of the attributes and patterns that have enabled you to deal with a cold, cruel world. Enough to take on new ones that are better suited to creating true peace in you and with your world.
Use your awareness. Begin to recognize the triggers that set in motion the things that steal your peace. See how you normally respond, and consider whether some other response might better serve to bring you that peace.
After that, it’s simply a matter of choice. Choosing peace. Or choosing to stay in those comfortable patterns of actions and attributes that keep you from it.
Go now and find your peace. Until then, my peace I give to you.
God bless you indeed.
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John Dennison is a peacemaker and problem solver who offers perspective to meet challenges in a better way. A lawyer by profession for over 30 years, he holds out a vision of a better tomorrow and offers a path to get there through the difficulties that hold us back.
He spearheads several projects, including PeaceOptions.com to challenge the beliefs and practices that keep us locked in struggle and conflict, and MissionLaunch to enhance the efforts of those working to build a new world.
A spiritual teacher by avocation, John also authored Whispers in the Silence — Living by the Light of Your Soul, a guide to self-knowing and the process of personal development behind most spiritual traditions.
For more information or to contact John, visit him at JohnDennison.com.
- The way to peace is not through conflict
- What are you doing for peace?
- Is Discontent Denying You Peace?