Thursday, February 21, 2013

3 Steps to Peace

Peace is a big word.

It is big because it is the manifestation of Love in our lives and existence.

And Love is a very big word.

Such big ideas can stop a person in their tracks. It's easy to get discouraged by ideas that encompass all things. It's easy to get distracted.

All of this is ok. It helps us to see the entrance to the land of Peace. It's a small door of small deeds. Better yet, you don't need to start anywhere but with yourself. Your own thoughts and actions. You see, peace emanates from within us. It grows from the growth of our compassion, our hearts.

How do we cultivate compassion within?

There are three wonderful steps, I recommend. These are by far not the only steps, however, all major people of peace have suggested these be a part of our daily practice, and I tend to agree with them.

1). Meditation.
This is a broadly misunderstood word. Meditation is not tied to any specific religious tradition. It seeks only to bring you more into your true self, your spiritual self. By regular meditation, you can expand your awareness to the greater truths that all life is connected. At this level, you will see that compassion for others is compassion for ourselves, and vice versa. We can also come to recognize our habits and pre-programmed perspectives and begin to re-write negative programs with positive ones. There are many varieties of meditation, some more potent than others, though I feel all are good. All can take you into the silence, and all can take you to a path to find the true Self. If you've never meditated before, there are a number of groups in every town that practice some sort of group meditation. These are good places to start, as are some internet guided meditations.
Here is a nice short one by Will Tuttle:
This is a good one by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Here is an article on meditation:
Here is another good sight on all the scientific studies behind why meditation works: (this is a great form of meditation, though it takes instruction to fully engage in).

2) Veganism.
Total Nonviolence is our goal, as peaceful people. Perhaps we will never be able to fully extricate all violence from our lives, but it is our duty as spiritual beings to do as much as we can to reduce the suffering of all beings. This can be a tough step for a lot of people. The good news: a vegan diet can give you optimal health and make you feel more energetic. Veganism is not just about food though. It is not just a diet. It really is the lifestyle of bringing ahimsa (nonviolence toward all life) into our daily lives. Much of the suffering in the world stems from violence directly tied to animal agriculture. Whether it be environmental suffering due to pollution from factory farms, or clear cutting rainforests and other habitats for animal or grain farming (usually for animals), or the direct suffering of the animals involved, the suffering of the workers involved in such horrific work, or the suffering we bring upon ourselves from eating these animals and their by-products (including most diseases). When we close off our compassion to any being, we limit our capacity for compassion. The more exemptions there are in our compassion, the less we can actually be compassionate. Whereas, once we open our compassion to even one more life, our compassion grows and seeks to blossom as our true Loving nature.

Good resources for Veganism are:

3) Daily Acts of Kindness
We have to reprogram our minds, and creating positive and kind habits are a good way to start. Small daily acts of kindness will give you the courage and the joy to begin choosing compassion at every decision. It's important to realize that we cannot change the world day one. We cannot ever change ourselves day one. It is a process, and with every step we make greater ripples that end up circling the world. This is a process of fully becoming the change we want to see in the world. Gandhi's adage is still deeply true. Bringing peace to ourselves and others is a lifelong journey. The more we work on ourselves, and open ourselves up, the more we see the many blessings and miracles we are creating and that the Universe/God are creating with/for us.
These acts can be easy and small: giving someone a ride, helping a friend with something, giving hugs to strangers, paying for the next customer's food/groceries, smiling. Forgiveness is a huge act. If you can make steps to that early, you are making huge strides.
Lots of good suggestions here:
There are no limits to kindness. Use your creativity.

Peace is a lifelong journey. Each of us is at different stages of this journey. We cannot compare our progress with that of others. We cannot control others. We can only bring peace to and through ourselves. The more we become this peace, the more it becomes reflected in others we meet and know.

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

Take that first step. The whole Universe is with you.

No comments:

Post a Comment