By Deb Avery
It seems that everywhere we look today there is conflict.
The world seems to be in a constant state of anger, worry and anxiety. Everywhere we look there is sadness, pain and mistrust. But is this really new?
Looking back into history we find that this has always been the norm. Civilizations rise and fall. Anger and rebellion has always led the way to change. Lives have been lost on both sides of history. However, history has always been written by the winner of these conflicts.
How different would the world be if the sides of conflicts and war were written with complete honesty and no bias? We will never know for sure, but I think we would be safe in thinking it would be much less one sided as we learned in school.
People and countries have been in flux since the beginning of time. Such is the way of life, the world—the entire universe.
The birth of a star is a violent, chaotic thing. The birth of any species contains pain and some violence. There has always been the dark, the painful and violence in our world. But, even in the midst of all these, there has always been a brightness, an awakening and yes, peace. If we awaken to the world and ourselves as were are, no bias, no labels, no us vs them, then good things begin to happen. But we must understand a basic rule about being awakened.
Being awakened does not mean that we will not encounter darkness, violence and pain. It simply means that we take a step back, inward and outward, and search within ourselves and all beings, even the rocks upon which we walk. For within all these we will find the light, the hope, the strength and the beauty that is always present in ourselves and the world.
Daily the sun and the moon teach us the simplicity of this. Every day the sun rises to dispel the darkness, and every night the moon rises to shine brightly, even a sliver, in the darkness of the night. The storms come and bring much needed rains to the lands, yet the next day the sun once again shines. And we pick up the pieces and begin again.
Each time we feel overwhelmed, if we only step back away from the noise, the distractions and society’s input, we can find our center—our peaceful place within. And from there, not only can we bear the chaos, we can learn to thrive in the midst of it. Is it easy? No, nothing this amazing is ever easy. Is it attainable? Absolutely. Whether through elaborate ritual, prayer, meditation, or simply through silence and conscious breathing, we can reach this awakened state.
We can find the peace within the chaos.
The world/society will continue to flux from one extreme to the other. But we will have found a safe harbor within. And the best thing is—it’s portable. It can be taken anywhere we go because it is always there, inside of us ready to offer shelter from life’s storms.
Find a practice that works for you. It can be as simple as just sitting quietly. Next, we learn through practice, to let go of our emotional reactions to people, places and events. Simply let them come, naming them silently to ourselves, and then gently let them go like clouds passing in the sky.
It is through practice such as this that we learn to not merely react to all that happens in life. Most people live a reactive life. When something happens they automatically react from an emotional state.
This can bring about an escalation of events that can spiral out of control. But when we step back, take a deep breath and not give power to the emotion, it will soon pass. Then we can either choose to act on the event, or not.
Many times we will find that the best course is to simply let it pass.
Of course there will be times when this isn’t possible. There will be times when we must react to prevent harm to ourselves or others. There will be times when we must step up in support of others. But even then it it always beneficial to be aware of our emotions and react in the best possible way for ourselves and others. And it all begins by not simply reacting in our usual ways.
Practice in whatever way that you find most helpful. Just practice. It will soon become second nature and life will seem a lot easier, more joyful and a whole lot brighter.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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