ACTION PRINCIPLES TO FIND PEACE
“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.” ~Earl Nightingale
I experience peace in the depths of my own struggles. When my world financially and socially collapsed I discovered peace. We only look for peace when we are troubled; I was troubled. The housing market crisis of 2008 wiped away my financial stability. Hopes and dreams placed on a promising new long distance relationship were dashed against the rocks of despair. I would lie awake in bed for hours angrily waiting for sleep to provide an escape from the painful thoughts that continually intruded each moment. Eighteen months of mental hell. I am not special; most people can point to a period of time when they suffered. Yet the ashes of ruin also make fertile soil for new beginnings. In despair, I stumbled upon peace. Peace did not come from an ancient truth or simple philosophy but from purposeful study and quiet, nonjudgmental awareness of my feelings. Small moments of peace interrupted long periods of despair. Each brief moment of peace opened my mind and heart, distilling peace that provided hope for eventual relief from torments of a troubled past and troubling future. In the sacred moments of pain, I discovered peace.
Escape from a habitual emotional unrest is a challenge for the most courageous warriors. Simply desiring peace is not enough; there are many factors involved. Thoughts and feelings are a complex and intertwined network that is constantly in motion. Our mind is consistently processing the different thoughts and feeling to organize them into a coherent story. These constructed mental maps create the context for interpreting new experiences.
Mental maps are subject to error; our perception of experience is distorted. Significant distortions can disrupt our lives significantly. The further disconnected we are from reality the more dysfunctional are choices become. The distortions leave us spinning wheels in the sludge of thought and inappropriate action and gaining no significant ground in escaping the pain we despise. Our behaviors create the situations we are desperately trying to avoid.
How do we clearly see through the deceptive smoke screen that is leading us further from the life we desire to live?
Part of the answer falls with our behavior. If we continue to do the same things, we can expect the same results. We don’t need to hasten the pace; we need to change directions. Changing directions is difficult. It is an explicit acceptance that past methods were misguided. Changing directions requires taking responsibility for miseries instead of energetically blaming others. When we painful accept partial or full responsibility, we are empowered to make life changing choices.
The false self provides excuses—excuses not change. Each new effort is effectively matched with an excuse. Leaving us continuously stuck in the life we pretend to have a desire to change. The only satisfaction are dreams of a fanciful future that never really comes. Dreams are nice but obtainment of dreams is much better.
We can escape from this cycle of stagnation. We can reach beyond the accumulated deceptions. We can stand on solid ground. We can begin to live effectively now and enjoy peace. Long lasting peace does not come from a distant goal but from learning to enjoy life as it is.
A religious instructor once taught if all you can do is muster up enough desire to experiment upon his words, the words themselves would provide the proof of their worth by leading the observer to the desired condition.
Experiment with principles of action. Take discernable and proven actions. Over time they change the trajectory of your life. The new seeds of action sprout from the sorrows of the past and eventually grow into a tree that provides shelter from the new storms. We cannot mentally work our way through every obstacle before we take action; we need to take a few steps forward into uncertainty. Each step illuminates the path a little further. With patience and consistency ground is covered; we are no longer spinning our wheels. When we turn back, we will see the great distance traveled.
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