Three Steps to Personal Peace
The 11th of November is a poignant day as millions of people across the world take time out of their busy schedules to come together in silent prayer and remember those who have paid the heavy price of their lives to buy our freedom. Looking around at the people gathered today makes us come to realise that 99% of humans on this planet regardless of religion, nationality, age or sex share the same vision for world peace. It restores our faith in humanity to see so many with heads bowed silently praying for an end to current hostilities in the World. It is even more sad, therefore, that, despite this common goal, the majority of us, simply don’t think this is achievable. But why not if so many of us want it? The answer lies in the fact that most of us feel powerless on our own. We do not understand that by achieving our own personal peace, our behaviour will encourage others to do the same. Our one voice will turn into two, and two into four and in just the same way as a stone in the pond has a far reaching ripple effect so our small acts of peace will be contagious. So where do we start?
- By Allowing Everybody the Five Freedoms.
Freedom of Speech. All of us have a right to our opinion and a right to be heard. Even if you don’t agree with a person, listen to what they have to say and their reasons behind their point of view. However extreme their opinion, you can normally find a small nugget of truth in what they are saying or find some common ground on which to build.
Freedom of Religion. Almost all religions have an underlying message of peace at the heart of their scriptures and yet religion seems to be the cause of so much crisis in the world. Accept that all people have the right to worship their own personal God in whatever way they see fit or to choose no religion at all. This can be summed up with one single word. “Namaste” (The God in me recognises the God in you).
Freedom from Want. A roof over your head, food on the table, a basic education and access to healthcare. It is so sad to think that something that many of us in the Western World take for granted is a luxury to a good chunk of the world population.
Freedom for the Environment. We are so privileged to have the abundant natural resources of the world at our disposal and it therefore makes sense to treat mother Earth with the respect and kindness she deserves. She is our life support system after all.
Freedom from Fear. Arguably the most important. This can be achieved by implementation of the other four freedoms. Nobody should be scared because they lack any of these basic rights. These are our birthright and we can play a pivotal role in achieving these freedoms by empowering others to find theirs.
- Switch it Off.
When we look back to the turn of the century, it is remarkable how much we have progressed technologically. But like a child with a box of matches, our ethical and moral evolution has yet to catch up. Our children seem to be born with “intel inside”. Hand them the latest gadget and they can navigate their way around it in seconds without any coaching or instruction manual. We are all addicted to social media and we can find out about what is happening anywhere in the World almost before it has happened. We have access to twenty-four hour news channels and, in addition, film and television producers battle with each other for our ratings using gratuitous violence to grab our attention. The upshot is that our thinking is done for us and often is sensationalised by a cynical media machine. Truthfully, there is a lot more good news happening in the World than bad but as this is less likely to keep us watching it goes unreported.
So switch it off. Don’t allow it to seep into your consciousness every waking minute of every day. Even if you can only manage to switch off for an hour, this will at least give you some respite from the constant barrage of doom and gloom. In any case, pushing against negative things, tends to draw more of them towards you so don’t be anti-war but do go on a peace rally instead. Don’t be against cancer but be pro health. When the World starts broadcasting good news, I will be the first to tune back in.
- Change from the Inside Out.
It really is true that changing yourself will be the biggest step you can take to change the World at large. Finding your own peace will give you an inner glow that others can only marvel at. They will wonder what your secret is and you can tell them that you have simply made the decision to see the perfection in everything; that you have found true contentment in life itself. There are some daily steps you can take to help this process along.
Random and anonymous acts of kindness. Try to carry out at least one good deed every day and wherever possible, do it anonymously so that the recipient does not realise that it was you. Believe it or not, such altruistic behaviour will give you such a warm, fuzzy feeling inside that you will be buzzing and longing to do it again.
Stop and rewind. Did you know you have two invisible buttons on the top of your head: stop and rewind? Whenever you catch yourself getting involved in negative thinking or actions. Stop what you are doing and imagine yourself pressing the stop button on your head. Rewind what has just been said or done and make a different choice. You can even say to the person you are talking to that this is what you are doing. If this is done with good humour it is likely to evoke a smile from the other person.
The Elastic band of shame. We find ourselves in situations every day where we feel the need to compare ourselves to others. Whilst this is perfectly natural, if it is done in a negative way through judgement, complaint or blame it diminishes the feeling of inner calm and tranquillity that we are capable of achieving. Although difficult, we should do our very best to stay out of other people’s business and keep our mind on our own. If we can do this for thirty days there will be stunning results. Find an elastic band that fits your wrist snugly without being too tight, and each time you find yourself complaining, blaming, or judging, ping the elastic band hard against your wrist. This sharp reminder will soon focus your mind just on the positive.
Thus on this remembrance day, don’t give up on the notion of world peace. Many have laid down their lives because of their deep seated belief in the possibility and we owe it to them to try. Start with your inner world and watch how the outer world in your immediate vicinity starts to transform.