"When you make peace with yourself,you make peace with the world." - Maha Ghosananda
Last week, I delivered a sermon for a local Unity Church about creating global peace. My intention was to talk about where peace originates and what each one of us can do to create more of it on earth. I began the sermon by asking the audience to close their eyes and listen as I read the following. Please be sure to read all the way through before making any assumptions.
Here's how I began...
I'm so fat.
I hate how I look.
I just don't have any discipline.
And I'm lazy.
I procrastinate about everything.
I'm too old - no one will want me.
I never do anything right.
My kids can't stand me. I'm a horrible mom.
My boss is ungrateful. All he wants is more, more, more.
My husband is clueless. He never listens to me.
That school board member is a jerk.
My son's teacher is just too full of herself.
I can't possibly vote for a black man for president.
How dare miss conservative parade her pregnant daughter on stage.
John McCain is old and out of touch.
Barak Obama is just a community organizer.
Joe Biden has no experience in the real world.
Sarah Palin is a pit bull.
The whole world is going to hell.
I waited several seconds when I finished reading this list before asking: Sound familiar?
How about you? Go back and review the list. How often have you heard yourself uttering similar words? Think about it. How much of your precious energy is wasted on beating yourself up? And, how often does this inner negativity radiate outward to your family, friends, or the greater community? I don't know about you, but I've even caught myself having arguments in my head with people I don't even know!
World peace begins with inner peace. When our thoughts reflect self-hatred (and many of them do), we can't help but bring this pain to others. After all, our thoughts become feelings, our feelings fuel our actions, and our actions either hurt or they heal.
This week, I invite you to do three things to create more peace in your heart and mind, and in the world:
1. Download the following song from itunes:
"Gentle with Myself" by Karen Drucker. Listen to this song several times and, as you do, imagine installing it into your brain like a software upgrade -- one that will dramatically improve the quality of your thoughts and the functioning of your mind.
2. Find something wonderful in at least one person a day and tell him or her about it. Remind a friend how creative she is. Let a co-worker know he's a good dad. Surprise your son or daughter with a positive acknowledgment of some kind.
3. Refuse to participate in the negativity surrounding the presidential election. There is no greater time to see the dramatic outward evidence of our inner war than during a critical election. And this one is. Sarcasm, debate as sport, and mean-spirited commentaries, are all examples of a "communication war" that deflects us from the real and deeply important issues. Exercise your privilege to vote, be well informed by using websites like http://factcheck.org/, and be respectful of those who share a different point of view. Remember: You can't have a war when one side doesn't show up. Take the high road and don't get pulled into the craziness.
Finally, if you want to create peace in the world, start by creating peace in your own heart. When you do, you'll automatically begin to create peace in your relationships, in your home, in your community, in your state, in your country, and ultimately in the world.
Take Action Challenge
Okay, if you're busy and you feel like you can't do all three steps above, start with #1 this week (downloading the song). By remembering to be gentle with yourself, you're sure to pass on that gentleness to everyone you meet!