A Note for the New Year 2016

Peace

Peace has been on my mind and on the minds of so many lately. I think we often mistake the state of peace as merely a place of passive serenity. A suspended state of calm inaction, a lull in the spaces between activity. But the peace I'm referencing is not the same as rest, although rest is certainly peaceful, calm states are peaceful, inactivity can be peaceful. These are all things that peace encompasses as a quality. 

But to move humanity towards peace means actively engaging ourselves to individually make conscious choices and follow thru with actions that find alternative methods of addressing conflict in our lives. Alternatives to violence, to retaliation, to lashing out blindly when we feel threatened, believing falsely that equal responses to aggression can forcibly will peace into being.

Peace, lasting peace, arises when we meet conflict, aggression, and opposition with other responses. When we decide to recognize that meanness of spirit arises from pain, neglect, and absence of love. 

Creating peace means first opening ourselves to, then integrating, challenge, discomfort, and opposition into our experience as the teachers they are. It's the conscious transmutation of these energies, to redirect them. For they are reflections of the ways we are internally conflicted. These are our greatest opportunities to grow. They are gifts in difficult packaging. The only way to true sustainable growth is overriding our ego's need to always be "right" and allowing ourselves to open to a greater possibility. In this way we may not "feel" at peace at first, but seldom do important, life altering lessons feel good and come to us pleasantly and with ease. Change comes from surrendering the need to control and bend opposition to our will- to our ego's desires. 

We must also dispel the notion that peace= happiness. It can and often does, but more important to recognize is that peace can be found in the most tumultuous times in our lives. When we don't try to suppress or deny sorrow, regret, or pain then we begin to own them as our birthright and an essential and integral part of the human experience and our development. We must fully own that which is uncomfortable and unpleasant, because the only way to dispel darkness is to shine our light on it and embrace that which we fear. 

Peaceful people allow for contrary positions to exist without the need to try and manipulate them to make themselves more at ease. They can cohabitate with opposition because they accept it as opportunity for self-growth and reflection. This opens the door to greater understanding, forgiveness, and unconditional love. When there is love, there is always peace. They are two sides of the same coin.

To be peaceful is not to be passive, but rather to actively work towards integration of opposition as teacher, not threat. When we try to understand opposition we are opening our hearts to find resonance with one another. And this opening is compassion. It is our thru line that connects all sentient beings. Our universal connection is that we all want to love and be loved for who we are. We all want to find some measure of joy. We all want to feel validated. Whether we change opposing opinions or they change us, to engage ourselves on the mission of empathy is an act of conscious compassion. And to allow for differences and disagreements is to move bravely towards tolerance and true lasting peace. 

In this New Year I wish us all a journey that invites the active application of more empathy, more compassion, and more love into our lives in order for us to grow peace individually. This is how we will grow more peace onto our beautiful planet in this complex and chaotic time of great transition. 

Grow the Light. 

With love,
Anne