With everything going on in the world. In the news, on tv, social media and closer to home-- at gas stations, grocery stores, driving on the road, car line at after school pick up, the parking lot...it is easy to feel hopeless, that peace is an impossible dream of the naive few who dare to dream it. But with a subtle shift in perspective, one arrives at the conclusion that of course, peace is readily available to all who seek it and understand where to find it.
If you are looking for peace in the external--in another person, at the end of the next reel or short, in the myriad of entertainment options available on a multitude of streaming services, on a date with a beloved, while enjoying a piece of chocolate cake or anything else you might experience 'out there,' you will likely be waiting a while. If you are yearning for the end of a world at war, conflicts of all kind and a ceasing of the sort of trouble we see in the endless 24-hour news cycle, and you are hoping for some external event to come and fix it all--you had better be patient. Waiting for this kind of peace is futile. Sure, you might enjoy a dopamine fix or a rush of good feelings trying to fix things 'out there.' But as far as peace goes, real peace--a deep and lasting peace can only come from within. Now I know some may be reading this and thinking to themselves, hold on. Peace comes from above. It is Heavenly. It comes from my Father, from my guides, from any other higher power to whom we have entrusted our faith and hope. And while this may be true...only the deposit of these heavenly qualities has been placed within us. It is up to us, the individual seeker, to nurture, cultivate and develop this gift of peace from within.
Paul the Apostle, the great creator of most of the Christian doctrine we refer to as the Bible, wrote of peace, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" Romans 12:18. Well easy for him to say. He wasn't being bombarded by keyboard pirates on social media, horrible news on constant replay streaming right into his pocket, his great aunt wasn't sitting across the table from him wearing a MAGA hat and his nephew wasn't an LGBTQ activist questioning his gender identity. And these would be accurate statements. The troubles of his time were indeed much different, yet there were definitely troubles. In fact, Paul wrote most of the New Testament from a Roman prison. Nothing like the prison we conjure in our mind's eye today. No this would have been brutal, inhuman living conditions. And yet, he also writes "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:6-7. So yes, in this way, peace--true and lasting peace is a gift from God. However, there are things we must do--both things listed in the verse above, and additional practices that support us in our efforts to bring this peace into its full expression and maturity.
While I may not have endured imprisonment in a Roman jail cell, I've experienced a different kind of prison. I've been in the pit of despair, hopeless, godless, fretful, anxious, addicted, envious, and downright confused. By the grace of God I have been scooped out of those experiences by and large, but also by my own actions. Inspired actions I have been led to take by that Spirit that is eternal, timeless and infinite. Prayer, the practice of yoga, EFT tapping, alternative therapies like EMDR and hypnosis, a regular meditation practice, journaling and an unquenchable thirst to seek the Truth from the essence of my Soul. All of these have continued to cultivate this good and beautiful deposit of peace within me.
One of my favorite things to say while leading a yoga class through a series of standing balance poses is that 'a seasoned yogi would be able to stand in tree pose, totally undisturbed, maintaining their Drishti or inner focus, anywhere--even in the middle of Times Square.' How much practice and devotion would that level of inner focus require? This is what is required of us all. Imagine for a moment what the world might be like if each of us were able to access that level of inner peace--no matter what disturbances might be happening around us. This is our work. To discover for ourselves the practices and tools that support us each in our path to acquire this level of peace anew each morning. I encourage you to reflect on yours. And if you are wanting a little extra support for your journey visit our Offerings section to explore the ways we might be able to partner together. The majority of us humans are hurting by what is happening and has been happening for millennia on this planet. Let NOW be the time we take the reins and responsibility for our own little corner of time and space. Let us all recognize the great power we have within us to BE the change we wish to see in the world.