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 the world we live in. 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 the mounting evidence to the contrary.
Shifting our ‘seeing’ involves intention, attention, practice and willingness to see beyond our current 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 be fed wet food
at 8am where she then exits the house by the kitchen door is then repeated in the late afternoon with dry food at 4pm and 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 excrutiating. We hunger for the cessation of againstness. We long for our inner sacred sanctuary of well being, where our heart is open, our 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 vs Divine Nature
Discovering the differences between my human and divine nature’s intention can be liberating.
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 to vent frustration at whomever.
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 is present or hurt? Anger can be a mask for both.
When I can shift out of the mind’s antics that weaves it’s web of illusion and put my attention on what will bring me happiness, I move into new territory. Seeing 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, plays 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’. I take life and myself 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.
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 to a phone call with irritability 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 to loving-kindness to comfort my upset and ask for truth.
When I practice liberating myself from the everyday stresses then the global concerns become opportunities for greater and greater mastery.
The following is a suggested list 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 pictures of the world leaders 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, 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, for a moment, from the headlines 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.