Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day By Day, Peace Is The Way

In his book, Peace Is The Way, Deepak Chopra uses the second sentence of Mahatma Gandhi's well known quote, "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way" to emphasize to all that peace is from within.

One can take anything and externalize it, setting it apart from their being, however, it's when that emotion, desire or belief is accepted into their conscious thoughts that it becomes an involuntary part of them, much like breathing.

It is impressive and inspiring to read how, in a cycle of seven days, we can become peacemakers. I'd like to share with you these few pages from his book.

"Seven Practices For Peace"
How to become a peacemaker

The program for peace asks you to become a peacemaker by following a specific practice every day, each centered on the theme of making peace real, one step at a time, in your personal life.

Sunday: Being for Peace.
Monday: Thinking for Peace.
Tuesday: Feeling for Peace.
Wednesday: Speaking for Peace.
Thursday: Acting for Peace.
Friday: Creating for Peace.
Saturday: Sharing for Peace.

Each practice takes only a few minutes. You can be as private or outspoken as you wish. But those around you will know that you are for peace by the way you conduct your life on a daily basis.

Sunday: Being for Peace

Today, take five minutes to meditate for peace. Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Put your attention on your heart and inwardly repeat these four words: Peace, Harmony, Laughter, Love. Allow these words to radiate from your heart's stillness out into your body. As you end your meditation, say to yourself, Today I will relinquish all resentments and grievances. Bring into your mind a grievance against someone and let it go. Send that person your forgiveness.

Monday: Thinking for Peace

Thinking has power when it is backed by intention. Today, introduce the intention of peace in your thoughts. Take a few moments of silence, then repeat this ancient prayer:
Let me be love, let me be happy, let me be peaceful.
Let my friends be happy, loved, and peaceful.
Let my perceived enemies be happy, loved, and peaceful.
Let all beings be happy, loved, and peaceful.
Let the whole world experience these things.
If at any time during the day you are overshadowed by fear or anger, repeat these intentions. Use this prayer to get back to your center.

Tuesday: Feeling for Peace

This is the day to experience the emotions of peace. The emotions of peace are compassion, understanding, and love. Compassion is the feeling of shared suffering. When you feel someone else's suffering, understanding is born. Understanding is the knowledge that suffering is shared by everyone. When you understand that you aren't alone in your suffering, there is the birth of love. When there is love there is the opportunity for peace. As practice, observe a stranger some time during your day. Silently say to yourself, This person is just like me. Like me, this person has experienced joy and sorrow, despair and hope, fear and love. Like me, this person has people in his or her life who deeply care and love him or her. Like me, this person's life is important and will one day end. This person's peace is as important as my peace. I want peace, harmony, laughter, and love in his or her life and the life of all beings.

Wednesday: Speaking for Peace

Today, the purpose of speaking is to create happiness in the listener. Have this intention: Today every word I utter will be chosen consciously. I will refrain from complaints, condemnation, and criticism. Your practice is to do one of the following:
° Tell someone how much you appreciate him or her.
° Express genuine gratitude to those who have helped and loved you.
° Offer healing or nurturing words to someone who needs them.
° Show respect to someone whose respect you value.
If you find that you are reacting negatively to anyone, in a way that isn't peaceful, refrain from speaking and keep silent. Wait to speak until you feel centered and calm, and then speak with respect.

Thursday: Acting For Peace

Today is the day to help someone in need: a child, a sick person, an older or frail person. Help can take many forms. Tell yourself, Today I will bring a smile to a stranger's face. If someone acts in a hurtful way to me or someone else, I will respond with a gesture of loving kindness. I will send an anonymous gift to someone, however small. I will offer help without asking for gratitude or recognition.

Friday: Creating for Peace

Today, come up with at least one creative idea to resolve a conflict, either in your personal life or your family circle or among friends. If you can, try and create an idea that applies to your community, the nation, or the whole world. You may change an old habit that isn't working, look at someone a new way, offer words you never offered before, or think of an activity that brings people together in good feeling and laughter. Second, invite a family member or friend to come up with one creative idea of this kind on his or her own. Creativity feels best when you are the one thinking up the new idea or approach. Make it known that you accept and enjoy creativity. Be loose and easy. Let the ideas flow and try out anything that has appeal. The purpose here is to bond, because only when you bond with others can there be mutual trust. When you trust, there is no need for hidden hostility and suspicion - the two great enemies of peace.

Saturday: Sharing for Peace

Today, share your practice of peacemaking with two people. Give them this text and invite them to begin the daily practice. As more of us participate in this sharing, our practice will expand into a critical mass. Today, joyfully celebrate your own peace consciousness with at least one other peace-conscious person. Connect either through e-mail or by phone. Share your experience of growing peace. Share your gratitude that someone else is as serious about peace as you are. Share your ideas for helping the world move closer to critical mass. Do whatever you can, in small or large ways, to assist anyone who wants to become a peacemaker.

Today I am committing to sharing these ideals, as Deepak Chopra has requested in his book, Peace Is The Way. I am sharing with more than two, yet less than the smallest fraction of the world's population. It feels good. Right. Human nature will mandate that I continually reread these seven days of peacemaking to become a peace-monger. I'm hoping if I keep at it, just like learning the ABC's through daily recitation, I will finally get it right.

Wish me luck. And while you're at it, kindly wish me peace.