January 26

  

Today's quotation:

The surface of life is also in a state of constant flux, with good days and bad, victory and defeat. To maintain, as the ocean does, a deep inner calm, while the storms of misfortune, reverses, fears and worries lash at the surface of life, is to discover the secret of serenity.
   Years ago, when Thomas Edison's factory burned down, he wasted no time bemoaning his fate. Immediately after the disaster the reporters found a calm, quiet man already at work on plans for a new building.
   When Emerson's home was destroyed by fire and his precious books were being reduced to ashes, Louisa May Alcott came to console him. The great philosopher said, "Yes, yes, Louisa, they are all gone, but let us enjoy the blaze now. Isn't it beautiful!"
   Some people are ocean personalities. In their inner depths they are not defeated by what happens to them.
   The towering waves of circumstances cannot reach us when we go deep within to seek the peace that passes all understanding. While the surface of life is in turmoil we can find an inner calmness to see us through.


Wilferd A. Peterson

Today's Meditation:

Peace.  May peace be with you.  What a wonderful part of life peace is, and how little of it we tend to see in the hustle and bustle of daily life.  It's there, though--it's just not in the headlines, not on the newscasts, not on the game shows or reality programming.  It's not in the advertising, because ads depend upon us losing our inner sense of calm in favor of a strong desire for a product or service.  Thich Nhat Hanh says that "Peace is every step," and every major religion urges us to develop our peace, for only when we're at peace can we get everything there is to get out of life.

Why is this?  I suppose it's clear when we think about the lack of peace--it's a sense of dissonance, a sense that something's wrong, even if we can't identify the problem.  When we have that dissonance, though, it's difficult to go forward in other areas without taking care of that dissonance first.  "I'll be happy or content as soon as. . . " or "I won't be happy until. . . " are the two most common ideas that dissonance creates in us, and even though when we're feeling good we can see the flaw in that logic, we're not always feeling good, are we?

Peace can come only when we see truly what really matters and what really is not significant in our lives.  Losing a job is quite a blow, but it really does nothing to the person we are in our depths--unless we let it.  If we lose a material possession, that's all we've done, and spending hours agonizing over the loss will only hurt us and make us waste our valuable present moments on agony.

Peace comes from inside of us, as Wilferd says.  It's there in each of us, yet we often keep it locked away, rarely to be let loose into the light of day.  Instead, we allow anxiety, worry, stress, jealousy, and all of the other parts of ourselves--everything from Pandora's box, if you will--out into our selves, and they determine how we feel.  They rob us of our peace by blocking it off, keeping it down, and overwhelming us with their own needs.  Anxiety needs us to worry if it's going to stay alive, so it keeps our minds filled with worrisome thoughts.  Peace needs us to let go if it's to thrive, to let go of results and expectations, while all of the negative things want us to try to maintain control, an effort that is doomed to failure.

Emerson and Edison knew there was nothing they could do about their buildings.  So they made use of the present moment as best as they could, and they didn't lose their peace.  Let your peace to the surface, and try to create conditions in your mind in which peace can thrive.  It can only benefit you, in both the short and long runs.

Questions to consider:

Is there peace within you?  Do you let it be a guiding force, or something that just comes out every once in a while?

What kinds of steps can you take to develop your ability to be peaceful, to think peaceful thoughts, to see things in peaceful ways?

Is it possible for us to contribute to the peace of the world?  Will our peaceful nature have any effect on the rest of the world?

For further thought:

The important thing to remember is that peace comes from within your own heart and mind, not from some outside source, and when you refuse to be disturbed by things about you, life will flood your being with dynamic energy.

unattributed

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