by David Ward
This month I have decided to first go back to the previous month to add a detail that somehow went astray when I spoke about forgiveness. Indeed, without it would mean I wouldn’t be able to bring in this month’s topic i.e. Peace, at least with a light heart. So, what did I forget? Well in the concept of forgiveness I didn’t explicitly mention anything about freedom, meaning that by forgiving you actually free yourself. It was implicitly said but not clear or strong enough: here I will put things right and then tackle the topic of peace.
I think I can fairly say that if you forgive and you feel freedom and through this you will most likely experience a whole series of pleasures, from reaping the benefits of forgiveness to lapping up a complete feeling of peace. So freedom both frees you and also calms you down. It allows you to see things in a calmer way and above all, it takes away all those burdens you have been carrying. Sometimes those burdens are carried for years. However, I can assure you that there is simply no need.
In fact, just like forgiveness, with peace you can ‘download’ and ‘upload’ it whenever you want and above all, when you need it!
If you are a Christian you will probably know off by heart the part in the Lord’s prayer concerning forgiveness and remember it is bidirectional, meaning to get forgiven you need to forgive others. Peace follows the same track!
Peace is a sort of state of mind where even in times of turmoil and strive you somehow feel at peace with yourself, with the people around you and incredibly, the circumstances too.
So what exactly is peace and why does it often elude us (or we elude peace)?
Well our Wikipedia friends sum it up as ‘a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups’. But in my experience it is also a question of finding moments of the day when you set aside all your worries, activities, tasks and to do’s, to simply focus. What I have found is that there are two extremes to this ‘end state’, you either empty your mind completely or you fill it with things that make you feel happy and trigger peace. I certainly prefer the second. So whether you are a fan of ‘emptiness’ or ‘fullness’ the goal is to feel at peace with yourself, the people around you and of course the circumstances. It is these three things that I would like briefly draw your attention to.
Being at peace with yourself means finding space for your personal needs and these could be anything from physical to meta-physical. I recommend that you first endeavour to hug and treasure your soul and transcend from the physical by placing it where and when it is needed. For example, athletes know that if they are not mentally up to exercise they suffer and consequently they need first to be mentally ready before taking on board the training.
There are many people though that need to physically ‘burn themselves out’ before they can focus on the soul side, that is the physical is part of their detox.
Whatever suits you, just remember that it is the goal of peace we should be aiming for and how we get there depends on us, just as much as others.
We all know that the people in our lives condition what we do, how we do it and often when. These three aspects will likely move the balance from enjoying to destroying. Indeed, it is when these circumstances are naturally wrong for us that it shifts to destroying and peace withers away.
So how do we make sure that we are locked in the ‘enjoyment mode’? One suggestion is to realise that we are not here for the benefit of ourselves but for the benefit of others. Here we are not advocating self-inflicting altruism that transforms us into being the ‘carpet for others to wipe their feet on’ rather we are preparing the foundations on which we nurture our peace and those around us. We are here to develop and exploit our talents for the benefit of others first and foremost. Through this mechanism we will also enrich ourselves and find peace. People around you will recognise this and ensure that you will not be hampered, after all it is for their benefit as well as yours!! I will tackle talent in an upcoming piece but I will say two things for the time being. The first is that you have an incredible amount of talent and opportunities to exploit it. Experts speak of 400 to 600 talents in each one of us!! I have often asked people to give me their list of talents and then work together to unfold and discover the ones they really possess. It is incredible when I witness the people that start off by saying they only have 2 or 3 talents to discover that they have 20+ within 5 minutes of our conversation.
But let’s suppose that circumstances are difficult, if not impossible, and finding peace seems completely illusionary. Well the good news is that these circumstances are the very things that helps us grow and go towards peace. Indeed, we are forced to learn things new, different and exploit our talents to tackle the circumstances. Some people see the circumstances as challenges, others simply bad luck or with apparently no conceivable control.
This is why we need to take on board the fact that there is always a reason behind these circumstances and we have ride the storm knowing that there is a rainbow at the end. It this destination we should seek and remember that ‘calm seas never forge able sailors’.
So in closure, the happiness calendar for the month of November (see Action for happiness) is about being New Ways and as usual every calendar provides daily actions to help you focus on what really matters. Take a look at November 2nd, and as we have autumn in full swing, see how mother nature prepares and takes on the challenge of the upcoming winter.
Lastly, ‘peace be with you’.