A song we’ve sung in New Thought churches for decades says, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me…”
Over the years, we’ve seen peace demonstrations turn violent and speeches heralding peace in angry and defiant language. This approach has never worked and it never will.
Peace begins with me. Although we share this world, we each have our own experience of it.We all respond in a very personal way to any particular event. Harry becomes enraged when someone steps in front of him in line. Audrey feels victimized, and George sees it as a chance to be nice to someone in a hurry. Harry angrily confronts the line jumper. Audrey settles for dirty looks and carries her resentment around all day, and George just forgets about it.
What’s the difference? Consciousness.
Everything in life is an out-picturing of consciousness. I think of consciousness as our personal mental atmosphere – our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and general tendency to be positive or negative.
You’ve been taught to manipulate outside events and circumstances to get everything the way you think it should be. You’ve learned to seek approval and agreement and that you must be right all the time. You’ve had a lifetime of movies, TV, and advertisers convincing you that having more or better “stuff” will make you feel secure or special in some way.
No amount of “stuff” will make you feel peaceful very long. No amount of agreement, approval or respect from others ever has a lasting effect. Have you noticed that shortly after you get it, you start to worry about losing it?
Before you can see clearly through your own eyes, you must have clarity of mind. It’s impossible to have either when you’re emotionally charged or mentally biased.
Your actions and reactions, whether conscious or unconscious, will determine the amount of peace you feel inside. If you are peaceful inside, you’re less likely to overreact to things going on around you.
On the other hand, it’s difficult to be peaceful when anything could set you off balance and into a self-destructive pattern.
So, while it seems like a “Catch 22,” you have the power, and the choice is always yours to make.
The secret is simple. Peace happens within when you can emotionally accept what’s going on around you without a negative reaction. The more you can accept, the happier you become.
If that sounds impractical or impossible, consider this question: Who decides what’s acceptable or unacceptable in your life? You do, of course. Now, then, all you have to do is make a lot more things OK in your life and peace will be yours.
So how do you do that?
The decision to do this is one of the most powerful you will ever make. The more you practice it, the better you get.
Be patient with yourself as you learn to operate consciously. It’s a change of lifestyle (or mindstyle) and it’s a life-long practice.
There are plenty of self-help books and processes around to help you blow off these feelings rather than blowing up. Get into the habit of meditating regularly. Take a workshop or class. There are plenty of offerings in this magazine.
Remember that getting upset always makes things worse.
Peace and anger cannot exist in the same place at the same time. When there is peace in your heart, there will be peace in your world.
Marla Sanderson has been a student of spiritual practice for more than 35 years. She began as Assistant Director of The Next Step, a psychic and spiritual community in a New Mexico ghost town. As workshop leader, teacher, practitioner, and minister, she has led relationship and personal growth workshops, taught psychic development and meditation, Living Love, and the Science of Mind. Marla is available for workshops and speaking engagements. She recently founded the New Thought Center for Creative Living. www.newthoughtctr.org