CHOOSING PEACE:
ONE SHIFT AT A TIME

By Rebecca Skeele
 
 
 
 

It doesn’t matter what magazine or newspaper you pick up these days, there it is—the evidence of violence: the killing of innocent people, the terror of aggression and destruction. How do we, as caring, compassionate, conscious people maintain our inner peace in the face of war? Is it responsible to turn from the glaring headlines, close our eyes, go within to connect with that place of inner peace?

What if those headlines have stirred up our visceral fear reactions and we are disturbed and angry? When outer circumstances create worry, helplessness and judgment, how do we shift our inner attention so that we send peaceful thoughts, rather than more anger and hatred?

The Nature of Shifting

Have you ever seen a Magic Eye picture? If so, you know what it’s like to stare at a page of little dots, blinking and wondering, “When am I ever going to see the hidden picture?” Frustrated, you take a deep breath and draw the page closer, then farther away, but still all you see is dots. Only upon softening your gaze and letting your vision become fuzzy do you catch a glimpse of the picture.

Seeing the hidden picture demonstrates the potential we have for glimpsing beyond any issue, belief, feeling or situation about ourselves and our world. Accustomed to believing the worldview we see around us, we fail to realize that another might exist. Or we may know there’s another worldview but struggle to create, maintain and live it in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

Shifting our ‘seeing’ involves intention, attention, practice and willingness to look beyond our current point of view (POV). Like the hidden picture that comes into view, we may glimpse another way of responding, but we must also choose that alternative to begin showing up in our world differently.

The first step is a willingness to shift.

My cat, Emma, does not shift easily. Trained, by her, to feed her wet food at 8 a.m., whereupon she exits the house by the kitchen door, is an act repeated by me in the late afternoon with dry food at 4 p.m., when Emma is let out the front door. Everything goes as scheduled when I am home. But what about when I travel and someone else is taking care of Emma?

Her routine is completely disrupted. She goes hungry if she does not ‘shift’ into a new routine. In other words, the pain becomes greater than the position.

Is your experience similar when you are holding a negative position?

The pain of maintaining anger, fear, hatred, self-righteousness or judgment becomes excruciating. We hunger for the cessation of againstness. We long for our inner sacred sanctuary of well-being, where the heart is open, the life force is flowing and we sleep at night. When the sweet nectar of acceptance and compassion reminds us that peace is possible, even in the midst of disruption, then the willingness to shift creates the ability to shift.

Intention: Human Nature versus Divine Nature

Discovering the difference between the intentions of my human and divine nature can be liberating. I’ll explain.

I’m driving along on a busy thoroughfare, courteously minding my own business, when a large SUV cuts me off. I spend the next half hour ranting and raving about ill-mannered drivers. Then I pull into a grocery store parking lot, innocently thinking about food for dinner, and another driver steals the space I’m cruising into. At this point I declare war on the next person I see, which turns out to be young man happily stacking apples in the produce section. I am not a pretty sight.

In this example, my human nature’s intention is my personal agenda. It also feels right about the appropriate driving etiquette, wants everyone else to follow the same set of rules, is quick to react when things are unfair, and feels justified in venting frustration upon whoever’s there.

My divine nature’s intention is growth, expansion and revelation. For example, my divine nature asks me to focus on how quickly I reacted with negativity and look deeper to see if there’s something bigger going on. I might ask myself if fear or hurt is present. Anger can be a mask for both.

When I can shift out of the mind’s antic of weaving its web of illusion and put my attention on what will bring me happiness, I move into new territory. Looking beyond the surface upset, I see with new eyes and give up my “right” position. My growth is my willingness to shift, my expansion becomes seeing beyond the dots on the page, and my revelation shows where my true peace and happiness reside.

Our hearts, the energetic center of compassion and loving kindness, play a pivotal role in our ability to shift and find peace. Staying impersonal, open and impeccable with our energy and loving all at the same time is self-mastery.

Peace is present in every moment if we know where to look.

Human nature’s intention is concerned with ‘me.’ Divine nature’s intention focuses on ‘we,’ so that I take myself and my life less personally and focus on the greater good. Holding my greater intention is an act of loving. This level of loving comes from beyond us but resides in us. It is the essence of our divine nature. Small miracles open the heart everyday. Larger miracles—the kind that change lives—happen with expanded vision.

Carrying Peace

Because I choose to be a carrier of peace I practice the presence of peace daily. My inner toolbox includes self-acceptance, observation, compassion, self- forgiveness and loving kindness. If I am quick to respond irritably to a phone call, I take a deep breath, step back and observe my reaction. Then I might accept that a part of me is in disturbance. Reminding myself that everything outside is really taking place inside, I begin my investigation with compassion for myself. If my disturbance is a judgment I forgive myself for that judgment knowing that self-forgiveness opens up my heart to see with new eyes. If fear has crept into the background of my day, I choose loving-kindness to comfort my upset and ask for truth.

When I practice liberating myself from everyday stresses, global concerns become opportunities for greater and greater mastery.

The following list is suggested for your consideration:

1. When you read the morning paper, read with the eyes of your soul. Send light, compassion, loving-kindness or a “God bless you, Peace be still” instead of upset, worry or negativity.

2. Place the world leaders that you have an issue with on your altar. During your daily meditation, prayers and spiritual exercises send your light/love/compassion/good thoughts to them. Begin to look for a growth opportunity to accept a disagreement rather than judging it.

3. Visualize places of terror, war, destruction and killing filled with light. Send light frequently when listening to the radio or watching the evening news. Practice seeing through the eyes of the inner Master – with great compassion and loving for all.

4. Closer to home, take inventory of your own place of inner war, devastation or terror. Make a commitment to weed out those limiting fears and beliefs that create destruction in your everyday relationships and career. If you choose to carry peace then use the daily practice to liberate and strengthen your mastery of your SELF…even waiting in the grocery store checkout line.

Peace-sharing, no matter how it unfolds, reveals what we have been searching for all along: our magnificence and the ability to improve our life, our neighbors and help build a peaceful world. Turning away from the headlines for a moment to reestablish our intention and calm, becomes a sacred responsibility.

As the French novelist Marcel Proust so wisely observed, “The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.” These are eyes that see beyond illusions forged by a limited understanding of who we are—eyes that see beyond the dots, eyes that see as God sees.


   
Rebecca Skeele, a minister, life coach and professional speaker, is the author of You Can Make It Heaven: How to Enrich Your Life with Abundance and Loving. For more articles by Rebecca and to sign up for her free online ezine, “Make It Heaven,” visit www.makeitheaven.com. She can also be reached by e-mail: rebeccaskeele@makeitheaven.com.