March 28    

Today's quotation:

Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves.  If we are at war with our parents, our family, our society, or our church, there is probably a war going on inside us also, so the most basic work for peace is to return to ourselves and create harmony among the elements within us--our feelings, our perceptions, and our mental states. . . . We must recognize and accept the conflicting elements that are within us and their underlying causes.  It takes time, but the effort always bears fruit.  When we have peace within, real dialogue with others is possible.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Living Buddha, Living Christ

Today's Meditation:

Inner peace--this is something that all of us would be striving for if we could but get a taste of it.  We have a world that keeps us so busy, though, if we follow its demands, that most of us never even realize that we aren't at peace inside, and that finding that inner peace should be one of our primary goals.  This is something that's even more important than that promotion or that new house--with inner peace, we have the chance to make a paradise of this world simply by seeing it from a perspective of peace rather than of conflict or pressure.

Most of us don't take time to foster peace, to put ourselves in situations in which peace can grow like a flower, at its own pace and in its own time, coming to bloom and bless us with its presence.  We may want to improve a relationship, but our own lack of inner peace doesn't allow us to come to terms with the other person involved because we may be afraid we're being taken advantage of, or we may need for that other person to make certain concessions to make ourselves feel better.

"Harmony among the elements within us"--this is a very nice way of expressing what we strive for when we strive for inner peace.  I may be feeling happy today, but I may be perceiving that someone else is being unfair to me--and what's going to happen to my happiness if that's the case?  Our perceptions of the world go a long way towards making our world, and if our perceptions are skewed, our mental states and our emotions can change, too.  If my mental state is centered in fear, that changes my perception, too, as well as my emotions.

Before we can make any real peace with anyone else, we must have peace within, and that's a quality that is worth any and all effort we put into it--though I have to say that much of inner peace comes from letting go of the concept of putting effort into it.  It's a fascinating paradox, but who said that inner peace is supposed to be easy?  That said, with the right attitude, inner peace can be surprisingly simple.

Questions to consider:

How much of inner peace comes from accepting the world exactly as it is, rather than how we wish it were?

How much of inner peace comes from letting other people be themselves, rather than expecting them to be and act as we think they should?

Why do so few of us develop inner peace before we try to pursue outer peace?

For further thought:

Few find inner peace but this is not because they try and fail, it is because they do not try. . . When your life is governed by the divine nature instead of the self-centered nature you have found inner peace.

Peace Pilgrim

more on peace



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