Do We Want Peace?

Watch me paint “Dove of Peace” in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

Surely most of the world’s people want peace. So why don’t we have it? Who is acting against our wishes? What is our response to these actions against our will?

These are big questions, and the answers appear to be unsolvable. They were unsolvable in ancient days, and unsolvable now. We may want world peace, but those in power do not listen. However, if we want spiritual peace, we as individuals will have it. No one can stop us from this choice.

Inner Peace

Inner peace is often described as being calm even if situations are stressful. Others describe inner peace as being strong in the face of chaos and crisis, rather than crumbling to stress and anxiety. I think of it as a combination of “calm” and “strong”. Spiritual peace is quiet strength.

Quiet strength can make the difference between surviving or not. It can make the difference between saving others or not. It can make the difference between a prosperous, happy life or not. The dangers of panic, anxiety, and fear are often greater than we realize. The absence of inner peace can make us sick, can cause us to make rash unfortunate decisions that harm ourselves or others, and can create favorable conditions for accidents. Whereas, the presence of inner peace protects us from these dangers.

Benefits of Spiritual Strength

The first three items on the list (rational thinking, steadiness, and calming to others) increase the likelihood that we and anyone near us will survive a crisis. Spiritual strength makes an impact on minor situations as well. When we handle problems with authority and grace, stress and anxiety don’t have time to take root. Therefore, we head off tension between people that could have lasting effects. We may even reverse the situation from something potentially damaging to an incident that people are proud to recall.

The second three items (confidence, physical health, and better relationships) are reasons for the final benefit on the list: greater prosperity or other rewards. For when we make good decisions, maintain good health, and make solid connections with the people in our lives, our opportunities for success expand exponentially. It all begins with a choice we can all make as individuals: peace.

People of faith find inner peace through spiritual redemption and confidence in a higher power. It may be difficult for a disillusioned person to find this type of calm, but there are still steps one can take that are general tips for healthy living. Even if not fully convinced of the importance of spirituality, putting a desire for peace into action will encourage a strong spirit.

Tips for Establishing Inner Peace

  1. Cut the cord. Shut off the TV. Turn off your phone. Yank the Internet. Do this for 30 minutes. Next time, try it for longer. Aim to cut back on some of these habits permanently. Cull your accounts, platforms and subscriptions. Carve out time in which you go completely unplugged. No screens. No phone. No earbuds. Just you.
  2. Learn how to tell time. The way we measure time is based on societal rules. Learn how to measure time differently, in a way that works for you. I will explain this further in a few minutes.
  3. Eat well, sleep well, play well, love well. Everything is connected. When one of these is off, our emotional self is effected.
  4. Limit the clutter in your physical spaces. Clean out your vehicle, home, outdoors areas, your closet, your desk, your kitchen cupboards. Everything in your path should be as free of distractions as possible. Make your space pleasant to be in.
  5. Work hard. In everything you do, from taking care of yourself to taking care of others, from vocational goals to hobbies… in every action of your day, expend passionate high energy as much as you can. When you are tired or need to pace yourself, slip into a calm state of deliberate action. Do not allow yourself to be “checked out”, but in all ways be mindful of what you are doing. Time and energy are an investment, a priceless treasure that is finite. Never let it slip away unaware.

When you remove something, you must replace it. For example, if you want to curb an Internet addiction, create a new activity that forces you to turn away from the screens. If you don’t fill the space, it will likely cause you to feel restless and antsy. Your commitment will waver.

The second tip on the list is about measuring time. We often allow outside factors to structure our days. Take control of your most precious resource, the one thing that can neither be added to you or subtracted from you- time. Try this little experiment:

 

  1. Time yourself doing routine things. How long are you really “checking your messages”? How long does it really take you to get ready to go somewhere? How long does it really take you to fix your lunch and eat it? How long does your bedtime routine take? Try not to hurry your natural routine. You want an accurate result.
  2. Time yourself again, based on the estimates you found in step one. Use a timer that makes noise when your time is up. The more obnoxious the sound, the better. If you have a timer that ticks down the final minutes, that’s even better.
  3. Next round, use a sand timer (a tea timer, often in an hour glass shape). If you don’t have one, set a timer that has a pleasant soft sound when it ends, perhaps music.
  4. Next, use no timer at all, but make note of how long it took you to do your routine tasks. Did you move faster or slower than you did before the experiment? Did you move at about the same pace? What difference did an awareness of time make?
  5. Finally, choose a day when you can let go of your schedule and hide all clocks from yourself for a two hour period. How does that feel? Are you anxious? If you are serious about learning how to measure time differently, make at least one hour a week without clocks a regular event.

Self-improvement, health improvement, de-cluttering, and all of the other lifestyle tips do help. They help spiritually strong people as well as those who feel that they are standing on ground zero. But, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably guessed that I believe the biggest help is faith in God. When we believe in a higher power who loves us, we have less fear and anxiety. When we believe that when someone says, “God bless you”, we truly will be blessed, we have inner peace.

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Dark to Light

Watch me paint “The Moon and the Stars” in 2 minutes

(time lapse)

The phrase “dark to light” is heard a lot these days. Often, people refer to the disclosure of a horrible, grim truth that they perceive has been covered up by those who gain by secrecy and lose with transparency. Some of those issues are factually proven to be the case (powerful persons, entities and governments hiding unfavorable information to evade justice, accountability and/or damage to reputation and standing). Others are propaganda causes that the populace has become irrationally loyal to (causes promoted to manipulate the masses toward political change by skewing statistics and exploiting events, using advanced marketing and profiling strategies along with community organizing and other masking terms to package and disguise the abuse of the citizenry). 

When filtering information to determine if a “movement”, “science” or a call to “civic duty” is real or not, consider the following:

  1. Who is promoting, supporting, and possibly excusing accusations or even concrete proof of wrongdoing associated with their favored issue/agenda/call to action? Are they profiting or benefiting in any way from the popularity of the movement or the response to a call to action? Political gain, monetary gain, notoriety? Where there is motive to lie, there is likely bias, deception, or even outright fraud.
  2. Among those who seem to have no motive to lie, what might motivate them to believe what they do? Do they cite the media or other supporters? In other words, do they trust those in the first point above, those who have motive to lie? In this case, the source is the same, as they merely repeat the same things that untrustworthy, biased sources have said.
  3. If the information is coming only from those motivated to lie, and those who repeat the same things from those same untrustworthy powerful sources, then it’s prudent to research the events, issues, and people ourselves. A wealth of information is found in public sources, meaning that we can simply look statistics up for ourselves. We can compare and contrast the numbers for various issues and see what the true risks, fears, outrage, or hatred level should be. Better yet, since all statistics can be accidentally wrong or intentionally misleading or brazenly fraudulent, it’s good to listen to real people who have experienced things firsthand. In many cases, it is clear that the populace is being deliberately manipulated to respond emotionally and react irrationally to information that has been exploited, skewed, or even invented. This is never for the good of the people, but always for the benefit of those who profit from pushing people to do what they want. Often, SOME of the information is true, which makes forming an opinion difficult (by design… the best con artists use truthful foundations to “sell” a lie that is added to that layer, so when people see the part that is true, they will likely believe that the lies must also be true).
  4. Is this call to action moving at a fast, manic pace, with coordinated messaging meant to push people to respond emotionally? Are the messages hostile, shaming, or fear inducing? Consider that people who genuinely, authentically care about others seldom use an abusive approach to coerce people to act. When truth and pure intention is on our side, we need only honest communication, delivered with respect.

But, the oppressive actions of others (governments, entities, or other organized agents of darkness) are not the kind of “Dark to Light” that I’m talking about. What I’m reflecting upon today is what we can control, which is our own thoughts, beliefs, responses, and actions. Even when it seems that we are powerless, we are not.

There are few instances in life when we are ever in complete and utter darkness. We are more aware of this during a power outage after our eyes adjust to being suddenly without a source of artificial light. Even without a flashlight, candle, or other illuminating tool, we quickly adapt.

Our eyes decipher light when we are in darkness. We see it in the moon and the stars, as it filters through nature and into houses. We see it in reflections bouncing off mirrors, glass, and glossy objects. We see it perhaps on our own bodies or clothing.

The darkness is not purely black, but also purple and blue, and splintered with yellows and whites. We are not in a colorless vacuum, even when it seems we are. This is a metaphor for life. No matter how dark it seems, there is always light if we train our eyes to see it.

Seek good people.

Do things that give you joy.

Work passionately.

Love fiercely.

Play hard.

The darkness of lies, deception, manipulation, greed, and evil cannot destroy us without our consent. We give consent spiritually when we comply with the call to live in fear, anger, and malice. We refuse to comply when we choose the opposite- when every call to live in darkness is countered by living in Light. 

When the world says “FEAR”,

we must say hope.

 

When the world demands “ANGER”,

we must choose self-control.

 

When the world screeches as demons, commanding we live in “MALICE”,

we must choose love.

 

Hate destroys, love creates.

 

When enough love is created, it outshines the hate. When the global focus is on destroying everything “bad”, destruction overtakes creation, leaving the world in darkness.

 

When the world is saying, “hurry, hurry, act NOW”, when the world is shaming those who do not respond, and when the world leverages others to do what they demand, this is an abusive relationship. A healthy relationship allows space for people to reflect and make careful decisions before acting. A healthy relationship doesn’t play around with emotions- using gimmicks and flattery, and manipulative language to entice people to act together as a group to feel as if we belong… and then if this fails, snapping and turning on reluctant citizens in psychotic anger. A healthy relationship is one that cares about the truth so deeply that the source matters. Anyone with profit motive, associations with those who have a profit motive, or who are merely quoting those who do, are not valid sources. This matters when one cares about the truth more than an agenda.

We must reject dysfunctional relationships, whether they come from people in our inner circle, our workplace, our communities, our governments, or our global society. We must be empowered to counter unreasonable or cruel demands with demands of our own. Demand these things:

  • Time: we must be granted the freedom to slow down, think, and filter information at our own pace.
  • Calm: we must be protected from shaming campaigns, hostility, and punishments. As they have all of the information and have the advantage, we must have calm as we process what is demanded of us.
  • Power: we must have the power to say no. We must have recourse if we choose not to believe in the positions that force change, in the science that forces change, in the doomsday scenarios proposed, etc. It is not our responsibility to prove our right to freedom. It is THEIR responsibility to prove us guilty of citizen crimes. It is THEIR responsibility to prove their claims and their supposed reasons for why the world must comply with their demands. It is THEIR responsibility to prove that we must change our thoughts, words, associations, and actions to comply with their agendas.

If, after thoughtful consideration of the data, facts, information, and personal experiences of all parties, we decide that we agree with the claims used to argue for change, then it becomes our choice to comply. We deserve that choice. This applies to any situation, as there is no such thing as a social crisis, health or climate emergency, or impending disaster great enough that there is no time or space for individual human freedoms. Anyone who claims otherwise is using panic, fear, and bullying techniques to push people to make impulsive illogical decisions that always land in favor of those in power who benefit.

Analyze if dysfunctional relationship traits are clearly visible in the darkness. If you see unhealthy coercion, it doesn’t matter how many people are doing it or how widely coordinated it is, it is wrong. There is always a better way. There is no such thing as hate for one’s own good. Goodness and kindness give time, space, and calm to people. We do not abuse each other in the name of progress.

Today, if you feel pressured and pulled, imagine yourself as that little figure I painted in the video at the top of this post. There you are, standing in a peaceful space, in which you see that the darkness has beautiful colors. You are not without light, as you have the sky to guide you. No one can keep you from this spiritual place, where you can choose calm and hope over mania and fear. You can look up at the divine order instead of down at the manufactured chaos.

Choose to be loved as you deserve to be loved.

If you make this commitment, pay attention to what you see.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you see something beautiful… a butterfly that flies directly in your path as if to communicate with you, an unexpected visit by a wild animal, a flower growing in an odd place where you never planted it, or something else. Just wait and see.

When we choose to see Light, we do.

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