What is Peace?
I saw a sign today that read: “Learning to Ignore Things is One of the Great Paths to Inner Peace.” The moment the impact of those words sank in, my spiritual consciousness said, “What? That cannot be true! To ignore means to “overlook” or “pretend something does not exist.” How does pretending something does not exist when you know it does, bring inner peace? How is the person who wrote the sign defining “inner peace?”
The word peace has many faces. One kind of peace is found at the expense of another’s peace; another defines it as that which is the opposite of war; and still another finds peace by sitting still or relaxing in bed. Finally, some people simply “go along with the program” even they do not believe in it, to find peace. None of these give peace. As you read this article, focus on a meaningful definition of peace for yourself.
Webster defines peace as ” an undisturbed state of mind.” Wikipedia says inner peace is “a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep one strong in the face of discord or stress.” Both definitions give us pause, but the second one seems to get closer to a sense of peace beyond the physical realm of thought–a peace developed not by “things,” but by inspiration and regeneration.
The Dalai Lama says “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make inner peace with ourselves” What does he mean by that statement? He is saying one’s outer world is a reflection of his inner self. You say, “No it isn’t! I didn’t tell America to go to war with Iraq” or “I have nothing to do with the crime and murder in the world. I don’t hurt anyone!” All of that may be true, but your peace is not defined by what someone else does, but by what you do. Peace is a state of thought. If you allow your peace of mind to be disturbed by what someone else is doing, you have not mastered peace within yourself. The foundation of peace is the capacity to change thought so that your inner self is restful, calm and you can say unequivocally, “Everything is alright!” We will tackle how this is accomplished as the article progresses.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). What is this peace Jesus is speaking of? How does one attain it?
The world’s peace is based on the world’s opinions, rules, laws, likes and dislikes, which are changeable, depending on the perception and place one resides. Culture, ethnicity and religion are also deciding factors. Jesus was offering to mankind an unchangeable peace–one that remains intact while everything else is swirling around us. We get a glimpse of this by his second sentence, “Let not your heart be troubled.” The heart is one’s core, the foundation of his being–everything emanates from this core. This is not a human heart, but a spiritual discernment of heart–a divine state of thought. Filling consciousness with love, joy, contentment, kindness and grace, there is no room for anything else. So fear, bitterness, anger, greed and all the et ceteras of evil, have no foothold. A troubled state of thought is derived from fear–fear of something or someone. Following the declaration of Jesus, one can be assured of lasting peace. The question then becomes, how do you get this peace?
All of us want this peace, but are we willing to make the sacrifices to achieve it? When family relationships go sour, are we willing to do what it takes to make them fresh and whole again? If your spouse cheats on you, do you work hard to forgive and get that inner peace? What about the job where you did the work, worked the long hours, made the tough decisions, and the boss gave it to someone else whose efforts were less? Do you keep a troubled heart or do you purify your heart?
I struggled many years in my educational job to get promoted–received the highest degree in the country, had a work ethnic beyond reproach, performed at a very high level on the job, but someone else always got the job. I was troubled by this for many years, but finally did the work to reach that level of peace Jesus speaks of.
What did I do? How have I found inner peace?
What are the footsteps that lead to an inner peace?
- Increase your understanding of God. How can you serve a God you have no understanding of? Would you try to work a job you have no understanding of? Would you discuss a book you have no knowledge of? Is not God more important than these? I see God as incorporeal, supreme, divine and infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth and Love. What does all of that mean? It means He has no physical body (bodiless). He is all intelligence and that intelligence is not based on material knowledge, but divine wisdom and understanding. So in order to get it, you must seek it in the right places–the Bible and other spiritual materials. God is Spirit, not flesh and blood, so why would he make things out of flesh and blood? He is Soul, not physical sense, therefore, in order to communicate with Him, one must leave physicality and approach spirituality. He is divine Law–Law that is always equal, just, orderly and impartial to everyone. He does not pick and choose! God is Life. Life is eternal, therefore, there is no death. God is Truth. All He knows is true. Therefore, He neither maintains nor tolerates evil. God is Love and that love is unconditional and impels all of us to progress beyond a sense of mortality into the realm of immortality–here and now.
- The man God created, being made in His image and likeness expresses all that God is. This precludes him from being conceived in sin at any time and in any place. I know you read in the Bible that man is conceived in sin, but do you understand why it was placed there? It merely shows a false sense of man–the man of mortal thinking. The real man has already been shown in the first chapter of Genesis–the one made in His image and likeness. Accepting this as reality starts you in the direction of believing that you can achieve righteousness while living here on earth. As long as you believe that you are a sinner, you will act like one, and excuse yourself by saying, “God gave me free will so I chose sin. Anyway, I was born in sin!” Such an attitude sets one up for failure.
- Discover attributes that lead to inner peace. Do you know that the prophets and Jesus guide us into recognizing that certain attributes help us to understand who God is? Sprinkled throughout their teachings and examples, we find words like calmness, restfulness, lawfulness, unconditional love, forgiveness, wisdom, faith, hope, joy and purity. These are guideposts to peace. Suppose something occurs in your life that causes turbulence and stress, you can wallow in it or do something about it. What do you do?
- Replace impure thoughts with pure ones. My replacement would go something like this: “God is Principle and Principle is orderly, perfect and powerful! I reflect Principle, therefore, I cannot be stressed out, disorderly and imperfect. I have the power of God on my side. There is nothing that it cannot heal, erase or correct. To believe otherwise, is to separate myself from God, and I know God fills all space and is ever-present, so I am never separated from Him. The thoughts that are trying to convince me that I am alone, unattached from God, helpless, are simply beliefs of mortal thinking, not thoughts from God. I have the capacity to not listen to them” Some may say this is wishful or positive thinking. I assure you it is not! Try it for one week and then write a response to this blogpost. It does work, but you must be honest, diligent and persistent–just as you would on anything you wish to succeed.
- Listen to higher levels of thought–mental suggestions. Have you ever heard a mental suggestion that told you not to do something and you did it anyway and the results were disastrous? Some call it “conscience.” I call it “angel messages.” When you hear a mental impulse, ask yourself if it is something you believe God is saying. Simply say, “Is this God talking to me? Would God do what the voice is suggesting?” If you cannot honestly answer Yes, don’t do it. If you can, do it! You see, God sends the Christ to each one of us in a way that we can understand. The problem is, we have ears, but we hear not. Listen and obey!
- Practice correcting mortal thoughts with immortal ones throughout the day. The first time you do this, it may be very difficult. You may feel silly or believe you are wasting your time. I assure you that you are not. Why do I say this! I believe the true nature of man is not the physical structure, but the spiritual consciousness. We are all made of spiritual thoughts and ideas, and when we seek them, we find them and they guide our actions.
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