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Archive for the “Peace” Category

Peace: The Heart of our Being

People “seek” peace. People say it is elusive. Transitory. Lost in a distant, simpler past. An illusion of childhood. Hidden in the wilderness, on mountain peaks, on placid waters. Embedded in lovely music, in hushed houses of worship, in sublime poetry. It appears we think peace is a state we visit, a temporary shelter from the storm of life.

What a comfort to discover that the search for peace begins and ends within us! Peace is the natural state of being before the formation of thoughts about ourselves. Peace is the deepest wellspring of survival, the source from which we keep mercurial life in perspective.

What gives me the right to say such a thing? No one could ever have “told” me that, or “persuaded” me of that. But in the presence of people who had discovered it for themselves and were, therefore, at peace and untroubled by variable thoughts, I stopped thinking so hard and fast myself. I calmed down, and then I SAW it for myself. It came as an insight, a realization about myself, about life. It was an immediate certainty that I am the agent of my own experience. The external world lost its power over me. Just like that, my perception flipped from that of a person living at the mercy of all the things happening around me to a person living at the effect of my own thinking about everything.

I recognized that I cannot change what happens around me; yet I knew I have the power to shape my experience of it from the strength of my own originality. My mind fluttered to rest, and for the first time in a long time, I felt free and empowered. I was sitting with a group in a restaurant when this beautiful moment happened and I never even mentioned it. It was my experience. I figured that my lunch companions were relieved that I had stopped talking so fast and asking so many questions, and I just relaxed and had a good time.

The most significant insight imaginable is not a big deal. It’s not a big deal because the peace was there all along; it IS who we are. Just settling back to who we really are feels natural and easy. But once we see it, we can’t “unsee” it. Even at moments when our minds start racing again, we know what we’re doing. It’s not scary; it’s temporary. Knowing we’re making it all up anyway and knowing there are infinite possibilities of what else we might be making up, we don’t get trapped in our own worst ideas. Peace is a dynamic state, the state of knowing, no matter what, that we are meant to thrive, always close to an answer we’d never dreamed of before.

The outcome of this remarkable awakening to how our own minds work and to our own psychological strength is that we become better problem-solvers. People think we’re in denial, but we aren’t. We are in invention. Accepting what is and re-imagining what we can make of it and where to go from there. Creating fresh ideas, unafraid of the untested.

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The Principle of Thought

The Principle of Thought is the crucial power behind life as we know it. If we did not have the ability to transform the pure energy of Mind into ideas and images — forms of perception — we could not see life. Thought as a Principle is simply the power that provides the impetus for our minds to communicate through the brain and the senses.  The Principle of Thought empowers thinking to happen. We put the formless into  forms, and whatever we create appears to be our life. Since all of us are doing this on our own, no one truly knows another’s life; we live in our own separate thought-created realities, using our own free will to choose what we make of the time and circumstances into which we are born.

The ability to think our way through life is an extraordinary power — yet it is the essence of who we are, so we take it for granted. Most of the time, we don’t even recognize or appreciate that we are the thinkers, making up our lives moment-to-moment. Yet that power, once recognized, gives us the freedom to change, at will, in any given moment.

If someone is feeling victimized, it is not because they are truly a victim of their circumstances, no matter how difficult those circumstances may be. It is because they are creating victim-thoughts about those circumstances and feeling increasingly trapped and insecure. When they wake up to the power of thought, they can quiet that victim thinking, allow their heads to clear, and arrive at a whole new set of thoughts which might contain the answer to how to change their life. When I first heard that, I found it hard to believe. But in the 30 years I have done this work, I have seen it happen so many times, including to myself, that I know for sure it is true. As soon as our thinking changes, our whole experience of our reality changes.

In a way, of course that would have to be true. Like all living things, we are born equipped to survive for our natural lifetime on this earth. What greater survival mechanism could we have than a “psychological immune system,” the power to change our minds, see things more clearly, make new choices, look in a different direction, have fresh ideas.

So … here is a 2-1/2-minute basic explanation of the Principle of Thought, part of the series that will continue next with the Principle of Consciousness. You can find a general overview of the Three Principles here, and The Principle of Mind here. And here is Thought:

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War and Peace

It is ultimately a matter of war and peace whether people across the world come to understand the role of their own and others’ thinking and fluctuating states of mind.

Security:InsecurityOne person at a time, when someone comes to understand how thought works and what is creating their experience of reality, they become increasingly secure. When a person feels secure, not living at the mercy of external factors, life does not look threatening. Secure people remain calm and exercise judgment, and look for insight and wisdom, rather than reacting or over-reacting without perspective. They recognize the power of beliefs within the context of knowing that each person becomes committed in their own way to their own beliefs, and nothing but their own insights will change their minds. They see with increasing clarity that people are all the same deep down: all people are constantly creating thoughts and then experiencing those thoughts as “reality”. Reality changes as our thoughts change. Knowing that, we lose our attachment to particular thoughts and gain awe for the very ability to keep thinking, to see beyond what we’ve thought so far. Respect for the shared human power to change keeps hope alive and allows us to see possibilities. It allows us peace within ourselves.

On the other hand, those who have no idea where thoughts come from and why reality looks different to different people are always prone to feel insecure, and cling to their thinking to ward off worsening insecurity. It is an either/or. Either we see the fluidity and creativity of thinking and understand that thoughts come and go and reality “shifts” as our thinking/feeling shifts — or we don’t see the fluidity of thinking and believe that thoughts have a life of their own and we have to hang onto our habitual thinking or fall prey to outside forces. Insecurity pushes people farther and farther away from tolerating differences and encourages the creation of elaborate systems of thought to make their own closely-held points of view feel/seem superior. It introduces the need to defend one’s position at all costs.

Two things are important to realize. Things that make absolute sense to us and seem quite obvious when we are insecure do not make any sense to us whatsoever when we are feeling secure. And the reverse is also true; things that seem quite appropriate and clear to us when we’re secure don’t make any sense at all when we are insecure. So as our states of mind change, the things we say, do and pursue are very different. A child who is angry and frustrated will stomp on and break a brand-new toy. In a quiet state, the child would pick up the toy and play with it.

What does this have to do with war and peace? War doesn’t come out  of the blue. War starts to make more and more sense to people who  are frightened and insecure and have no room in their thinking for “others”.  People who are calm and secure experience peace in their hearts and  minds, and thus seek and nurture peace.

Nations are assemblies of people who share a prevailing state of mind and perspective about the world. When people generally feel hopeful and optimistic, they make choices that reflect their level of security. They are inclusive and generous-spirited, and look for solutions that will do the least harm. When people start feeling frightened and pessimistic, they make choices that reflect their need to protect themselves and ward off enemies. They are exclusive and small-minded, and look for solutions that will keep them safe no matter if others experience harm. Out of a world dominated by leaders who live in fear and insecurity come many wars. The more brutal the fights, the more frightened people become, so they become trapped in a downward spiral of pain and despair. Nothing but war and more war makes sense to them — in that state of mind. In a moment of security, it would make no sense to them at all.

It is innocent because no one would choose killing and destruction if it appeared to them they actually had a choice. The key is understanding the illusion of that downward spiral, that insecurity breeds further insecurity until the moment we understand that all of it is built from our own thoughts. Stepping back, allowing the fear to pass and getting a fresh look can change everything.

Every human being on earth wants to have a happy life, but every human being on earth does not — yet — realize that that happiness is internally generated. No one has to suffer so that I will not suffer. When we realize that all people are creating their own thinking within the context of their own variable states of mind, we truly understand what creates human experience and behavior. We know not to pay attention to the thinking that comes to mind when we’re in an insecure, upset state of mind. And we know we can count on our thinking when our thoughts change and we feel calm and secure again. We navigate by the feeling of security. With the knowledge of how life is created from the inside out, we know that an instant of quiet into which one new thought comes can change everything. With that clarity about life, we know that peace is never more than a thought away, and we simply allow the thoughts that take us in the other direction to pass through our minds, just as we would watch a train cross the tracks, knowing that no matter how long it is, every train has a caboose!

“Thought, like the rudder of a ship, steers us to the safety of open waters or to the doom of rocky shores.”  Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p. 56.

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