Pema Chodron, author of Practicing Peace in Times of War, asks the question,
“Why is it that we all want a peaceful existence, yet our actions or reactions produce just the opposite?”
She suggests that there is a ‘moment’ when we have a choice whether to react with anger or to respond with patience and compassion. She asked her teacher Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist Master, why this ‘moment’ is so uncomfortable if we choose not to give into anger. He referred to this moment as ‘the burn’ and that when holding this ‘moment’ we are ‘burning up seeds of aggressive behavior’ and that we are ‘burning the seeds of negative karma and planting the seeds of peacefulness’.
Most of us live in fear, afraid to let our guard down, to expose a vulnerable, soft and loving heart. To experience peace within ourselves and with each other we need to have the courage to let go of our attachment to being ‘right’ and instead allow our hearts to lead us whenever a challenging situation arises. Rumi, the great Sufi poet, spoke of ”The place beyond rightness and wrongness”. Buddhism offers a wonderful example from which we can learn how to respond instead of react.
At the core of Buddhist philosophy is the practice of right action, non-attachment, forgiveness and compassion. If we seek to embody the way of the Bodhisattva we will experience inner peace and joy. Peace is found in the gentle, open and undefended heart. An unconditional heart is the antidote to pain and sadness. Let us cultivate compassion and empathy toward Self and other. Let us express compassion and empathy to those who are caught in defended behavior.
When we are in that ‘moment’, let us practice allowing ourselves a moment to pause, to breathe and to be present to ourselves and other and empathize with the pain behind the words, and respond with compassion and empathy. Let us dare to remove the defenses from our own hearts and experience the peace that such an action can bring.
We are moving into a psychological and spiritual era of Self-mastery – it is down to each of us to now bring our attention inwards and become our own greatest teacher of peace and love. We no longer need to seek in others the answers, for we are ready to discover these for ourselves, if we would but dare to look inside our own hearts to see the truth of who we truly are. We are love. We were born as love. The time is upon us not to be lead, but to lead ourselves back to our true selves.
You can choose to make an agreement with yourself to cultivate a state of inner peace as a priority, one that you are not willing to compromise. Imagine how it would feel to live with a peaceful heart? Let us choose a different way to respond to our lives and the impact they have upon us. We can choose to prioritise inner peace. We can choose to walk in peace, to talk peace, to think, feel, and act in peace – to radiate peace – to be peace. Let inner-peace become your priority and one that you are not willing to compromise.