Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Benefits of Peace

“Eternal Inner Peace has to be cultivated daily.”

“There is a criterion by which you can judge whether the thoughts you are thinking and the things you are doing are right for you. The criterion is: Have they brought you inner peace?”
Peace Pilgrim

The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence. The chief struggle then in gaining mental peace is the effort of revamping your thinking to the relaxed attitude of acceptance of God’s gift of peace.

Norman Vincent Peale

I overslept, which in my case means until 5:30 a.m.  My natural inclination is to beat myself up, but the truth is that it was once almost miraculous that I was up before 7:00 a.m., and that was when I had to be at work by 8:00 a.m.  Those mornings were always so frantic and horrible and rushed.  Now I’m usually I’m up by 5:00 a.m. and I’m getting things done.  I’m stretch and smile and exercise and plan.  Then I start writing my blog.  Then I start my workday, usually peacefully, sometimes not. 
Peace is my choice, however.  Yes, there are times when it’s harder, for example, if I’m late or one of the kids can’t find something or they’re yelling, then peace is harder.  But that doesn’t keep me from practicing it every chance I get.  Yesterday I wasn’t as peaceful as I could have been and I paid for it.  Still, I was more peaceful than I have been in the past.  It’s all a learning process. 
Today I’m going to focus on being even more peaceful.  What that requires is constant presence in each moment.  I see it working in little ways.  I’m more careful with my children and to not allow my stress levels to rise in front of them.  My girls are quick to point out when I am less than peaceful.  I’m more careful about planning the different parts of my day so that I have direction, not only for the day, but also for the moments in the day.  I’m more careful about what I allow to enter my eyes and ears, which is why I try to avoid gossip, most news and most television.   Instead I listen to audio books, worship music or meditation music.  Generally these things make me feel peaceful.
There are benefits for being peaceful.  The first is obvious.  Being peaceful feels wonderful.  It feels like my natural state, which it is, despite how hard I have to work to get there.  When I’m peaceful then I’m, well, peaceful.  It is its own reward.  Everything looks different.  I not only feel calmer, I feel stronger, more in control and best of all, more loving and compassionate.
Being more loving is a second benefit of peace.  My actions and my attitudes are more focused on others.  I smile more.  I have less judgment about others.  In fact, when I’m peaceful, I often have no judgment at all.  I just love others.  I’m completely in the moment with them.  This is especially gratifying when I’m with my children, because I know they need a father who is peaceful. Peace is connected to love.

A third benefit of peace is that I am not only loving towards others, I am in love with life.  Everything looks, tastes, sounds and feels better.  I notice more things and it all looks wonderful and the things that don’t look wonderful, I either don’t see or I accept these things fully as they are.  Peace is connected with joy.
Here are some other benefits to peace that I have experienced:
·      I am grateful to God.
·      I pray more.
·      I am quicker to ask for forgiveness.
·      I am slower to judge others.
·      I am more grateful.
·      I am excited about life.
·      I am looking towards the future but I am still in the present.
·      My mind is clear.
·      I laugh more.
·      I put the needs of others before my own, but in a healthy way, not as a way to martyr or overwhelm myself.
·      I don’t need anything but what is present in that moment.
·      I notice things more, like flowers on the freeway the beauty of a baseball game.
·      People just look more attractive, physically and emotionally.
·      I know how to take care of myself.

Writing about peace makes me feel peaceful.  Although I started this blog at 6:00 a.m., I wasn’t able to finish it until after 10:00 p.m. due to my schedule.  Was today a peaceful day?  For the most part, yes.  The Enemy did a good job invading my thought life tonight and I got frustrated with my kids, but overall, it was a peaceful day.  I’m grateful.  I think all my days could be peaceful, but it depends on me, not on my circumstances or on other people.  It depends on me.  I need to Get Started and Keep Going…and choose peace.