August 12    

Today's quotation:

Peace is not something you can force on anything or anyone-- much less upon one's own mind.  It is like trying to quiet the ocean by pressing upon the waves.  Sanity lies in somehow opening to the chaos, allowing anxiety, moving deeply into the tumult, diving deeply in the waves, where underneath, within, peace simply is.

Gerald May

Today's Meditation:

To find peace we must allow anxiety and chaos?  That sounds incredibly contradictory, but on second and third thoughts, it makes a whole lot of sense.  In my experience, the times when I've felt the least at peace have been the times when things have been going wrong and I've been upset at my inability to control what was going on.  Once I learned that this need to control situations was one of the things that was preventing me from feeling peace, though, life became different, and I was able to find peace even during some of my most trying times.

We can't force peace.  If we have a friend who is stressed out and anxious, we can't cause that person to have peace.  We might teach some strategies for finding peace and give our support by listening and trying to help, but we can't bring that person to a peaceful point-- we can only help them to try to find the peace inside themselves.

I absolutely love sitting in a warm home while storms rage outside-- thunderstorms, blizzards, hailstorms-- whatever they may be.  There's a huge contrast between the calm indoors and the tempest outdoors, and it's lovely.  And it's possible to feel that way when the storms are family conflict, work issues, fear, or any of the other things that we go through in life.  In a storm, I have faith that the home I'm in will keep the weather from harming me; in another type of storm, I can have faith that I will get through anything that life throws at me, and get through it well.

As Plutarch says below, if I keep my mind untainted, I can experience peace in any situation in which I find myself.  I can face the storm and know that things will be okay because I'm ready to face the storm on my terms.  Finding our inner peace is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, but it does take time and effort to reach it.

Questions to consider:

When do you feel the least at peace?  The most?

How can allowing chaos and anxiety to be help us to reach a peaceful state?

How can we keep our minds "free from guilt and. . . untainted"?
For further thought:

Nothing can produce so great a serenity of life as a mind free from guilt and kept untainted, not only from actions, but purposes that are wicked.  By this means the soul will be not only unpolluted but also undisturbed.  The fountain will run clear and unsullied.

Plutarch

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