Have you ever been in the midst of that peace called, “sitting in front of the TV with a nice pizza”? You know what happens next! The phone rings or a neighbor drops by and . . . Boom! One’s slice of heaven is replaced with simmering resentment toward the person or event seen as disturbing it. Or how about that sense of peace found in a new romance? That is, until we realize that rather than our heart being rescued by our newest lover, he or she now holds it for ransom by always threatening to walk out on us! And don’t we all know that sense of feeling peacefully complete just after we buy that special something we’ve always wanted? Too bad that the bill still has to come!
It isn’t that there is anything inherently wrong with such contentment; the point here is as simple as it should be clear: the moments made up of this kind of personal peace never last. In fact, the more we try to shape our individualized heaven, and contrive to protect those things we think bring us peace, the more we are punished by the increasing realization that such a personal peace can never last.
Take any daily disturbance that courses through us and has its way with us. We resist these little shocks with our whole being. Yet each and every one of them brings a needed life lesson to us. The problem is that we usually don’t “hear” these silent teachings of peace because the noise of our own answers drowns out her voice. With a touch of hindsight we see that all of these lessons boil down to one instruction: “Stop! What you are doing does not work. Wake up! You’re looking in the wrong place. This kind of pain does no one any good!”
If we look at ourselves closely, the following will become self-evident: There is something at work within us that is stealing our peace; there is a thief of peace among us. Our glad task is to unmask its cunning nature. The next time something dark or disturbing tries to steal into you to wreck your contentment, do not consent to be drawn into its seemingly important considerations. Instead of sinking into this yawning abyss, rather than running after something to resolve that rift, better to remember this truth: the peace you long for also longs for you. Then, whatever you must do, find your way to it! Use casual observations of yourself and others around you to be a spiritual detective.
One of the first thieves of our peace is spending time thinking about what others are thinking about us. Can we see that the only reason we are concerned with what others may be thinking about us is due to an imagined fear that they may have some power to take away what we are clinging to for our equally imagined peace? Let go! No one has the power to take peace away from you. It isn’t theirs to give!
Another thief of peace is building a “case” against anyone for any reason. No one can steal our peace, so finding fault with another for how we feel is like falling asleep under the sun and then blaming it for the burn we get! The only way we lose our peace is when we mistakenly identify with some painful thought that would draw us into its petty life. Let go of being little. Drop whatever you have been tricked into resenting and watch peace return to take its place.
Excerpted from Let Go and Live in the Now published by Red Wheel/Weiser, 2004)
Guy Finley is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization on self-realization, showing men and women everywhere how to find a life of freedom, enduring fulfillment, and true purpose. Guy is the founder and director of the non-profit Life of Learning Foundation in Southern Oregon. For more information on Guy Finley visit www.guyfinley.org.
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